Research and Innovation

Researchers in the School of Chemical Engineering perform field-defining research that is regarded worldwide for its impact and quality. We pursue breakthrough research that extends the boundaries of chemical engineering into areas that promote sustainability and have the greatest positive impact on our global society.

 

Packing Peanuts with Purpose

Researchers in Associate Professor Vilas Pol's laboratory have shown how to convert waste packing peanuts into high-performance carbon electrodes for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that outperform conventional graphite electrodes, representing an environmentally friendly approach to reuse the waste.

Batteries have two electrodes, called an anode and a cathode. The anodes in most of today's lithium-ion batteries are made of graphite. Lithium ions are contained in a liquid called an "electrolyte," and these ions are stored in the anode during recharging. Now, researchers in the School of Chemical Engineering have shown how to manufacture carbon-nanoparticle and microsheet anodes from polystyrene and starch-based packing peanuts, respectively.

Read more about Dr. Pol's research