Separations: A Short History and a Cloudy Crystal Ball


  • Phil Wankat Purdue University


Separations have played a major role in the history of chemical engineering and will continue to be important. Since separations have always been a major cost item in the process industries, they have always been a critical key to successful commercialization. First, while reviewing the history of separation processes we will observe that many separation processes such as distillation, adsorption, chromatography and filtration were used long before they were understood. Next, we will discuss the current teaching of separation processes where the goal is to get students to understand. The final part will explore predictions for the future of applications, teaching and research funding in separation processes.

Author Biography

Phil Wankat, Purdue University

Phil Wankat has a joint appointment in Chemical Engineering and in Engineering Education at Purdue University. He has a B.S. ChE from Purdue, a Ph.D. from Princeton, and an M.S. Ed from Purdue. He is the associate editor of GEE.