Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Covestro Distinguished Lecture Series

The Covestro Distinguished Lectureship (a continuation of the Bayer Distinguished Lectureship) is presented annually by the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and recognizes excellence in chemical education, outreach and research. The lecture is sponsored by Covestro LLC, a world-leading supplier of high-tech polymer materials.

2020 Covestro Distinguished Lecturer

Jennifer Sinclair Curtis, Dean of the College of Engineering, Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering

University of California, Davis

Thursday, April 30, 2020

5:00pm Benedum 102

Sowing the Seeds of Diversity in Engineering

The lack of women and underrepresented minorities (URM) in engineering is a problem that no single solution can address. Not only are there the pipeline issues, but the challenges these groups face in navigating their careers need to be addressed. This presentation will share some of the activities/practices that have been adopted at the University of California, Davis to sow the seeds of diversity.  The engineering college has launched Avenue-E, a community college transfer program designed to eliminate barriers that hold back women and underrepresented minorities in engineering and computer science. Another core component of changing the landscape is ensuring that women and URM in engineering see other women and URM at all levels. In 2012, UC Davis received a NSF-ADVANCE grant which aimed to increase the participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers. Among many projects, more than 1,000 faculty members have been trained about best practices for faculty recruitment and implicit bias. Central oversight of faculty hiring to ensure diversity and inclusivity has been established, and expected contributions to diversity from all applicants for faculty positions. Contributions to diversity are expected in all merit and promotion review actions, and superior contributions to diversity are recognized and rewarded in review actions. Eight years later, UC Davis has shown dramatic changes at all levels. Forbes named UC Davis the Best College for women in STEM fields, based on a metric that includes persistence to graduation and the value of education received.

Friday, May 1, 2020

9:30am Benedum 102

Flow Behavior of Cohesive and Aspherical Particles in Hoppers and Shear Cells

The discrete element method (DEM) is a powerful simulation tool which provides the details of the flow of individual particles and facilitates quick parametric studies, eliminating the need for expensive experimental testing. This presentation will outline advances in DEM to simulate the motion of cohesive and/or aspherical particles.  Aspherical grains are described either as perfect cylinders or disks of varying aspect ratio or described using a linked and overlapping sphere approach.  Using this linked approach, the flow of flexible aspherical particles can also be treated via a bonded particle model which incorporates normal and shear forces as well as bending and torsional moments.  The bonded particle model also allows for breakage of aspherical particles during impact.  Cohesion between particles is described as originating either from surface moisture, described by a liquid bridge force model in the case of pendular liquid bridges, or from van der Waals interactions, described by the adhesive JKR model.  DEM simulations are validated via experiments of hopper flow/discharge and measurements of particle-phase stress in a ring shear cell.

Jennifer Sinclair Curtis is Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Dean of Engineering at University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on the development and validation of particle flow models which have been extensively adopted by both commercial and open source CFD software packages. She was the first to partner with ANSYS Fluent to greatly expand the multi-phase simulation capability of the code which is used by 96 of the 100 biggest industrial companies in the world and over 40,000 customers. Her particulate flow models are also included in the CFD Research Corporation software package and the open-source CFD codes OpenFOAM and MFIX. She is a Fellow of AAAS, ASEE and AIChE. She is recipient of AIChE’s Particle Technology Forum’s Lifetime Achievement Award, a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar Award, AIChE's Thomas-Baron Award in Fluid-Particle Systems, ASEE’s Chemical Engineering Lectureship Award, ASEE’s CACHE Award for Excellence in Computing in Chemical Engineering Education, ASEE's Sharon Keillor Award for Women in Engineering, and the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award. She also received the Van Antwerpen Award – the highest award for service to the Institute by the AIChE Board of Directors. She received her PhD in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and her BS in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University which recently recognized her as a distinguished engineering alumna. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the National Academies’ Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology. 


Dr. Julio M. Ottino
Distinguished R.R. McCormick Institute Professor, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Dean, Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
Northwestern University


Dr. George Whitesides
Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Harvard University


Dr. Matthew Tirrell
Dean and Founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering
University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory


Dr. Gábor A. Somorjai
Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
Faculty Senior Scientist
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


Dr. Kristi S. Anseth
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
University of Colorado-Boulder


Dr. Jens K. Norskov
Leland T. Edwards Professor of Chemical Engineering
Stanford University


Dr. Jay D. Keasling
Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
University of California-Berkeley


Dr. Arup Chakraborty
Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Dr. James A. Dumesic
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
University of Wisconsin – Madison


Dr. Jacob Israelachvili
Professor of Chemical Engineering
University of California, Santa Barbara


Dr. Robert E. Cohen
St. Laurent Professor of Chemical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Dr. Douglas C. Cameron
Chief Scientific Officer, Khosla Ventures
Menlo Park, California


Dr. Paul T. Anastas
Professor in the Practice of Green Chemistry, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Yale University


Ms. Linda J. Fisher
Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer


Dr. Buddy D. Ratner
Washington Research Foundation Endowed Professor of Bioengineering and Professor of Chemical Engineering

University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials (UWEB)


Dr. David A. Weitz
Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics
Harvard University


Dr. Mildred S. Dresselhaus
Institute Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Dr. Nicholas Peppas
Showalter Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Purdue University


Dr. John Deutch
Institute Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Dr. Mary L. Good
Managing Member
Venture Capital Investors, LLC


Dr. L. E. Scriven
Regents' Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science
University of Minnesota


Dr. David Tirrell
Professor of Polymer Science and Engineering
University of Massachusetts


Dr. Keith E. Gubbins
Professor of Chemical Engineering
Cornell University


Dr. John H. Seinfeld
Louis E. Nohl Professor
California Institute of Technology


Dr. Mark E. Davis
Professor of Chemical Engineering
California Institute of Technology


Dr. Robert S. Langer
Kenneth J. Germeshausen Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology