Michael Doherty

mfd [at] engineering [dot] ucsb [dot] edu
(805) 893-5309
Department of Chemical Engineering
Engineering II, Office 3323
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5080


Professor Doherty's current research interests include: combining reactions and separations, crystallization of organic materials, and systems with complex chemistries. The approach links the underlying physical and organic chemistry to the structure of the process flowsheet, and involves theoretical, experimental and computational methods. Applications are focused on specialty chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Separation with Chemical Reaction: Combining separation with chemical reaction has the potential to create quantum improvements in process technology through the enhancement of reactions by separation (e.g., overcoming reaction equilibrium limitations, selectivity improvement), and by the improvement of separation by reaction (e.g., eliminating azeotropes, reacting away trace components, etc.) Our research is focused on developing new feasibility methods using geometric techniques such as residue curve maps, bifurcation analysis, and attainable regions. This information is used to identify process alternatives, which are ranked by economic performance measures once equipment sizes have been estimated.

Crystallization of Organic Materials: The main focus of this research is to study the effect of process design and operation on crystal quality for organic-solids processes. The key measures of quality that we are interested in are, enantiomorph (for chiral mixtures), polymorph, and crystal shape. Crystal shape can have a major impact on processing as well as product quality. We are developing new methods to account for solution effects, with the ultimate goal of using these new methods to account for crystal shape, as well as enantiomorph and polymorph selection in the conceptual design of solids processes.