Phillip Wankat

Clifton L. Lovell Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering
Director of Undergraduate Degree Programs, School of Engineering Education

FRNY 2037C
Purdue University
School of Chemical Engineering
Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering
480 Stadium Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2100
(765) 494-0814 (office)
(765) 494-0805 (fax)
Joined Purdue in 1970
B.S. Purdue University, 1966
Ph.D Princeton University, 1970
M.S.Ed Purdue University, 1982

Research Interests

Professor Wankat is interested in separation processes and in improving engineering education. His current research in separation processes focuses on adsorption, large-scale chromatography and simulated moving bed systems and distillation.

Adsorption research has focused on improving processing with pressure swing adsorption (PSA). We are looking at new PSA processing techniques to develop more productive processes, reduce energy use, and better purify the most strongly adsorbed species. Methods to couple thermal regeneration with PSA are being developed.

Large-scale chromatography, particularly simulated moving bed (SMB) systems, are rapidly becoming standard separation systems. Although the SMB is an efficient chromatographic process it can suffer from low productivity and high solvent use. In addition, most applications have been for binary separations. We are using a commercial simulator to develop new binary SMB configurations to increase productivity and reduce solvent use, and new SMB configurations for various multicomponent separation problems. In addition, new chromatographic processes are being developed that in some multicomponent applications appear to be better than SMB cascades.

Distillation is considered to be a mature separation technique. However, because of the huge scale of distillation operations, even modest improvements can have a major impact. We have been exploring methods to reduce the diameter of distillation columns when the calculated diameters vary significantly. Capital cost reductions up to 50 % are predicted.

For a variety of reasons the engineering education system in the United States is currently in a state of flux. Because of this, there is an opportunity to improve the system. Professor Wankat is one of the national leaders in developing methods to teach graduate students and new professors how-to-teach and in developing methods to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of faculty.

Research Group

Graduate Students

  • Nicholas Soepriatna

Awards and Honors

CHEMPOR 11th International Chemical and Biological Engineering Conference Long-Term Achievement Award, September 5, 2011. (CHEMPOR is held every 3 years and is sponsored by the Ordem dos Engenheiros, Portugal.)
2010 Chemical Engineering Division, ASEE, Martin Award for best paper at ChED sessions at 2009 Annual Meeting of ASEE.
2007 Distinguished Education Alumni Award of Distinction, College of Education, Purdue University
2004 Walter L. Robb Engineering Education Senior Fellow, National Academy of Engineering
Lifetime Achievement in Chemical Engineering Pedagogical Scholarship Award, Chemical Engineering Division, ASEE, 2004.

Selected Publications

“Taking a Snapshot: Four Bibliometric indicators to Track Engineering Education Research Evolution,” Williams, B., P. Neto and P. C. Wankat, Intl. J. Engr. Pedagogy (iJEP), 4 (4), 16-22 ( 2014)

“Desalination of the Colorado River Water: A Hybrid Approach,” Venkatesan, A., P. C. Wankat, Desalination, 286, 176-186 (2012)

“Distillation-Adsorption Hybrid Processes to Separate Binary Liquid Mixtures with Homogeneous Azeotrope,” Sharma, P. K., P. C. Wankat, Separ. Sci. Technol, 48(1), 1-14 (2012)

“Tips for Busy New Professors,” Wankat, P. C., Chem. Engr. Educ., 46 (2), 73-79 (2012)

“Five Major Shifts in 100 Years of Engineering Education,” Froyd, J. E., P. C. Wankat, K. A. Smith, IEEE Proceedings, 100, 1344-1360 (2012) invited paper

Separation Process Engineering. Includes Mass Transfer Analysis, 3rd edition, Wankat, P. C., Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ (2012)

A Pictorial History of the School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University, 1911-2011, Wankat, P. C., Farmus, C.F., Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (2011)

Book Chapters:

Wankat, P.C. and K. S. Knaebel, "Mass Transfer," Section 5B, in Perry's Handbook of Chemical Engineering, 8th ed., Green, D. (Ed.), McGraw-Hill, New York, p. 5-1, 5-2, 5-43 to 5-83 (2008).

Kostroski, K. and P. C. Wankat, “Potential Hybrid Methods for Oxygen Production,” in C. E. Baukal, Jr. (Ed.), Oxygen-Enhanced Combustion, 2nd edition, Taylor & Francis (2013).


Teaching Engineering is available for free here.