News & Events
Nature-Inspired Chemical Engineering - A Systematic Methodology for Innovation in Materials and Manufacturing
Release time:May 28, 2018

Topic:Nature-Inspired Chemical Engineering - A Systematic Methodology for Innovation in Materials and Manufacturing

Speaker:Marc-Olivier COPPENS, Ramsay Memorial Chair and Head of Department of Chemical Engineering at University College London

Date: May 30, at 2:30 PM

Venue:Lecture Hall, Ruxin Building

Brief Intro of the Lecture:

The UCL Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering applies fundamental mechanisms underpinning desirable properties in natural systems to address engineering challenges, while appreciating different contexts in nature and technology. Properties include scalability, efficiency, robustness and adaptability. The motivation behind our work is double: (1) Our challenges related to energy, environment, water, healthcare and sustainable manufacturing are enormous, thus require truly transformative solutions; (2) Nature offers examples of exceptional performance, exceeding similar technological processes, by applying different mechanisms. There is a huge gap to bridge, but discovering nature’s “secrets” is a way to achieve a more sustainable world.

Our nature-inspired chemical engineering (NICE) approach provides a systematic methodology for innovation. We focus on the following themes, based on mechanisms leading to exceptional performance in nature: (1) hierarchical transport networks (lungs, trees), (2) force-balancing (macroscopic and nanoscale, as in aquaporins or chaperones), and (3) dynamic self-organization (regular patterns on sand dunes, self-organization of bacteria). Nature maintains functionality over a wide range of scales, applying nano-confinement to achieve higher performance in, e.g., separation and catalytic processes, and using dynamics as organizing principle for adaptability and healing. We will illustrate the NICE approach in catalysis and separations, fuel cells, and various novel multi-functional materials.


School of Materials Science and Engineering