The Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT Kanpur is ranked among the nation's top schools in Chemical Engineering, and is endowed with a vibrant graduate program, a distinguished faculty that has earned national and international honors, and a well-regarded undergraduate program. Aside from excellence in fundamental research, the department has made significant contributions to the chemical industry through its expertise in chemical process engineering, simulation, optimization and control, polymers, interfacial phenomena and separations, including membrane separations. There has been a long tradition in the department to write quality text-books and research monographs, and over 32 books have been published by both Indian and International publishers. Our alumni, many of who have gone on to be the CEOs, business leaders, department chairs and distinguished scientists (even social workers and artists!), both in India and abroad, are a very visible lot and continue to inspire the new generation of students here. The department has been continually adapting and responding to the rapidly changing economic, social and technological scenarios at the national and international levels in the last several years.
There are currently nineteen faculty members who excel in diverse facets of cutting-edge chemical engineering research, both in traditional areas such as transport phenomena, kinetics-catalysis, membrane separations and polymers, as well as in emerging areas such as advanced materials, nanotechnology, bio-informatics, etc. There are currently 220 undergraduate students in our department studying for the B. Tech. degree, and 40 dual degree (B. Tech. plus M. Tech.) students, about 60 M. Tech. students and over 40 research scholars working towards their Ph. D. Further, there are eighteen highly trained and motivated technical support-staff members who provide assistance in the development, maintenance and in the smooth functioning of the research and teaching laboratories.
Experimental research in the department is supported by state-of-the-art facilities which include scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopes, ellipsometer, contact angle goniometer, Langmuir-Blodgett deposition, atomic absorption spectrophotometer, FTIR, GPC, rheometers, HPLC, several membrane cells, high performance computing clusters with chemical process simulation software such as ASPEN and HI-SYS. State of art computational research facilities are also available for gene expression profiling/gene network analysis, and for molecular simulations, etc. The department hosts a nano-technology center. A new facility for the measurement of NO x concentrations in air over a range of 10 – 10,000 ppm by a dedicated chemi-luminescence analyzer has been created. Several projects funded by industry and spanning a wide spectrum of areas are currently underway. These include those from Unilever India, Bangalore, Chevron-Texaco Inc, USA , and Gas Authority of India (GAIL) and quite a few medium-sized private industries, etc.
Our faculty publishes extensively in high-impact international journals. Over a 10-year period (1993-2002), the total number of research papers was 285, much higher than the numbers for the other top schools of chemical engineering in India . Likewise, the total number of citations was 1555; almost double that for the next best among chemical engineering schools in India . These numbers are already showing an upswing, reflecting the effect of younger faculty. This augurs a bright future for the department. A glimpse of the research activities of our faculty can be had from our website http://www.iitk.ac.in/che/.
Several of our faculty members are Fellows of the Indian National Science Academy , the Indian Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Indian National Academy of Engineering. Many serve on the editorial boards of national and international journals. Many prestigious awards including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize, J. C. Bose Fellowship, INSA Young Scientist Medal, Herdillia award of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers for excellence in basic research in Chemical Engineering, Amar Dye Chem young engineer award of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers, Career awards of the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) , BRNS Young Scientist award by the Department of Atomic Energy, etc., have been received by our faculty. In addition, our faculty members have been invited to deliver several distinguished lectures throughout the country as well as abroad. An Indian patent (# 189310) has recently been obtained: “Process for the Recovery of Inorganic Chemicals from Kraft Black Liquor”.
A new faculty is given a generous initiation grant for starting his experimental activity, and opportunities for external research funding are limited only by one's needs. One thing that strikes many of our visitors is a very visible lack of academic hierarchy and bureaucracy; the twin advantages especially important for a new faculty. Sabbatical leave with full pay in six years helps one stay current, or just complete that special book one always wanted to write. To assist in the research and teaching activities, our department offers some of the best graduate students in the country to support and collaborate with our research activities. All our graduate students are supported by Institute assistantships.
IIT-Kanpur is a park-like residential campus offering on-campus accommodation to the faculty. The campus has all the amenities for developing the personal, social and academic skills of the community. New faculties who join at the Assistant Professor level typically get a spacious two-bedroom house, progressing to huge four bedroom houses as the needs of the family multiply! The residences have high-speed cable connections with Internet and cable TV. Since we all live on-campus, people who share many of our interests and backgrounds arrange social get-togethers. Children, too, grow up with many friends and the bonds that develop during childhood often persist for long periods, and over long distances. The departments are located at a comfortable walking/biking distance from the residential area, which is especially attractive for people who want to be in touch with their students after office hours! The campus has a Kendriya Vidyalaya, a campus school and a Nursery/Kindergarten for the education of children, banks, a post-office, a shopping complex, an Olympic-size swimming pool, several sports and recreational facilities, and a faculty club open to faculty. A well-equipped Health Center (a mini hospital with both in-patient and out-patient facilities) takes care of much of the health-care needs of the residents.