First Petro Tel Distinguished Lecture


Professor M. M. Sharma, FRS (UICT, Mumbai)


Emerging Scenarios of Chemical Engineering.


Saturday, 07 February 2004


L-15, Lecture Hall Complex


3.00 to 4.00 p.m.



Chemical engineers are versatile since they are tuned to micro- or molecular-levels, as well as meso- or equipment-scales, and finally, with macro-scale integrated plants. Chemical engineering has a tradition and culture of being an 'evolving discipline'.

Chiral engineering will become crucial and will offer challenges for asymmetric synthesis and clever separations. Crystal engineering will demand attention. Nanotechnology will come centre-stage. Bio-transformations will become increasingly important and the engineering of such reactions will demand attention with downstream processing needing greater attention. Direct conversion of monomers to polymeric products, including fibers, looks promising. Cleaner and greener is smarter, and demands on intrinsically safe processes and plants will become common. A cluster of emerging technologies is at the interface of chemistry and materials science, specially as applied to electronics. It will become necessary to push known polymers to higher levels of performance.

Process intensification will require newer methodologies. Product engineering will become very important and combo systems (e.g., reactor-separator) will be deployed. Membranes and adsorption-based separations will play a much larger role. Micro reaction engineering will become important for the manufacture of fine chemicals involving hazardous conditions and will also be important for fuel cells. Astute scale-up of chemical plants, involving techniques such as CFD, will become necessary. Water conservation and recycle will be crucial.

The coming age of chemical engineering will be rewarding, exciting, edifying and boundless.

About the Distinguished Speaker

Professor M. M. Sharma is a doyen of Chemical Engineering, and it is only in the fitness of things that he be the inaugural speaker of this distinguished lecture series.

Professor Sharma did his BE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Bombay (1958), and his PhD from the University of Cambridge (1964). He was Professor of Chemical Engineering at UDCT (University of Bombay, Department of Chemical Technology, Mumbai) and retired as the Director of UDCT.

Professor Sharma has countless awards to his credit, and we mention only a few: the S. S. Bhatnagar Prize (1973), Herdillia award of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers (1979), the ICMA award (1990), the Vishwakarma medal (1985), O. P. Bhasin award (1985), G. M. Modi award (1991), Meghnad Saha medal (1994), Moulton medal of the IChemE, UK (1971, 77), P. C. Ray memorial award of the Indian Science Congress Association, etc. He has been honored by the Padma Vibhushan (2001) and Padma Bhushan (1987). He is a Fellow of several national and international academies, including the Royal Society (UK, 1990), the Royal Society of Chemists, London, Third World Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy (INSA; of which he has been the president), Indian Academy of Sciences, etc. He has been the Shreve Distinguished Professor at Purdue University, USA, (1989), as well as Visiting Professor at several other universities all over the world.

About the Donor

The Petro Tel Distinguished Lecture series in Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT Kanpur, has been endowed by a generous grant from Dr. Anil K. Chopra (B. Tech./ChE/IITK/1976; Ph. D., University of Houston, USA, 1982), President, CEO and Chairman of Petro Tel Inc., 5240 Tennyson Parkway, Suite 207, Plano, TX, USA.