Suresh Bhatia received a B.Tech. degree in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and Master’s as well as PhD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He worked for a few years in industry in the USA, and for two years at the University of Florida, before joining the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, in 1984, and subsequently The University of Queensland in 1996. His main research interests are in adsorption and transport in nanoporous materials and in heterogeneous reaction engineering, where he has authored about two hundred scientific papers in leading international journals. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Engineering Sciences from the Government of India, and the ExxonMobil Award for excellence from the Institution of Chemical Engineers. Since January 2010 he holds an Australian Professorial Fellowship from the Australian Research Council. He is a Fellow of two major academies – Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and the Indian Academy of Sciences ‑ and of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. He is the Regional Editor of the international journal Molecular Simulation. He has held visiting positions at leading universities, and between 2007 and 2009 he was the Head of the Division of Chemical Engineering at UQ.
Bhatia’s current research centres around two principal themes. One of these is on transport in nanopores and nanoporous materials, where he is developing practical models of transport in nanoporous materials in conjunction with simulation and experiment. Among the recent achievements is a new theory of diffusion in nanoscale pores, which supersedes the century long Knudsen model, and which has been extended to disordered materials. In this area he is also developing new understanding of the adsorption and transport of water in disordered carbons and carbon nanotubes, through experiment and molecular dynamics simulation. In a second area he is developing carbide-derived carbon based adsorbents for carbon dioxide capture from moist gases and CH4/CO2 separations. The co-adsorption of water has a critical influence in these applications, and strategies for mitigating this influence are being experimentally investigated, supported by the above molecular dynamics simulations.
Bhatia has teaching interests in chemical reaction engineering, and applied mathematics, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
- Dynamics of mixture adsorption in nanoporous materials. This project focuses on understanding the diffusion of gases in nanoporous materials, which is challenging both from a fundamental and applications viewpoint. In this connection we have already performed molecular dynamics studies with single component systems, and developed a novel new theory of diffusion and transport of adsorbates in such materials. The new studies now proposed focus on binary systems, and the new theory developed will be extended to multicomponent systems in conjunction with molecular dynamics simulation and experiments.
- Synthesis and modelling of mixed matrix membranes. Mixed matrix membranes comprising a zeolite or other suitable adsorbent dispersed within and polymer matrix are attracting considerable attention because they combine the good mechanical properties of the polymer matrix with separation properties of the adsorbent. Here, we will synthesis suitable mixed matrix membranes for CO2/CH4 separation, and investigate their transport properties in this application. Mathematical model of the diffusion through the membrane will be developed and validated against experimental data.
- Modelling of electrochemical supercapacitors. Nanoporous carbons have important uses in electrolytic supercapacitors; however the understanding of their behaviour in this application is still not well developed and process models are very primitive. This project will investigate electrolyte behaviour in disordered carbons using molecular simulations as well as experiments, and develop strategies for optimising supercapacitor behaviour.
- Tailoring or carbide derived carbons for CO2 capture. Carbide derived carbons are a novel class of nanoporous carbons, synthesised by chlorination of a metal carbide, and are considered useful in gas storage and separation. Here we will explore novel strategies for tailoring their structure for CO2 capture from flue gas. The project will combine experiments and modelling of the adsorption.
- Separation of light isotopes using quantum molecular sieving. We have demonstrated both theoretically and experimentally, that at low temperatures heavier isotopes can diffuse faster than lighter ones in nanoporous materials due to quantum effects. This suggests the possibility of molecular sieving of isotopes at low temperature. Here we shall investigate this novel behaviour theoretically for He3/He4 separation using nanoporous graphene membranes. The project will utilise Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations in investigating the adsorption and transport of these isotopes and their mixtures.
- Gao, X., M.R. Bonilla, J.C. Diniz da Costa and S.K. Bhatia, “The Transport of Gases in a Mesoporous γ-Alumina Supported Membrane”, J. Memb. Sci., 428, 357-370 (2013).
- Bhatia, S.K. and T.X. Nguyen, “Potential of Silicon Carbide Derived Carbon for Carbon Capture”, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 50, 10380-10383 (2011).
- Nguyen T.X. and S.K. Bhatia, “How Water Adsorbs in Hydrophobic Nanospaces”, J. Phys. Chem., 115, 16606-16612 (2011).
- Nguyen, T.X., H. Jobic and S.K. Bhatia, “Microscopic Observation of Kinetic Molecular Sieving of Hydrogen Isotopes in a Nanoporous Material”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 085901 (2010).
- Bonilla, M.R., T.X. Nguyen, J.-S. Bae and S.K. Bhatia, “Heat Treatment-Induced Structural Changes in SiC-Derived Carbons and their Impact on Gas Storage Potential”, J. Phys. Chem C 114, 16562-16575 (2010).
- Anil Kumar, A.V. and S.K. Bhatia, “Is Kinetic Molecular Sieving of Hydrogen Isotopes Feasible?”, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 112, 11421-11426 (2008).