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 over two hundred and ten 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 – the 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 centers around three 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. A current focus of the research is the description of fluid-solid friction and of fluid phase shear stress at the nanoscale, for which existing theories based on bulk phase behavior are inadequate. The results will have importance for the modelling of transport in nanomaterials and membrane-based separations.
In another stream of activity he is developing atomistic models of disordered carbons using hybrid reverse Monte Carlo simulation methods, in conjunction with neutron scattering experiments. These atomistic models are then used to investigate the adsorption and transport of adsorbed fluids in the carbon nanostructure for a variety of applications. Among the carbons being examined are carbide-derived carbon based adsorbents for carbon dioxide capture from moist gases and CH4/CO2 separations. The co-adsorption of water has critical influence in these applications, and strategies for mitigating this influence are being experimentally investigated. This is supported by molecular dynamics simulations which are being used to achieve new understanding of the adsorption and transport of water in disordered carbons and carbon nanotubes.
A third area of recent activity is the study of carbon supercapacitors, where he is developing advanced simulation-based models for the equilibrium and flow of ions in porous carbon electrodes. These models will enable the optimisation of carbon structure for maximising capacitance, and enhancing charging/discharging rates.
Bhatia has teaching interests in chemical reaction engineering, and applied mathematics, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.