An Introduction to Drug Delivery for Chemical Engineers


  • Stephanie Farrell Rowan University
  • Robert P Hesketh Rowan University


Drug delivery is an exciting multidisciplinary field in which chemical engineers play an important role. They apply their knowledge of fundamental chemical engineering subjects such as chemical reactions, chemical kinetics, mass transfer, and polymer materials to the design of drug-delivery systems. This paper describes a simple experiment that exposes students to basic principles of drug delivery and chemical engineering.

To begin this module, students are introduced to several dosage formulations using examples of over-the-counter medications that are already familiar to the students.  The mechanism in which the drug is released is different for each type of formulation, and students learn how each different dosage form works.  The students then perform an experiment that involves the release of a drug from a lozenge formulation, which is an example of a matrix-type drug delivery system.  This experiment was used in a freshman engineering course to introduce concepts of concentration measurement, calibrations, graphical data representation, and data analysis.  The experiment was also used in a senior level elective course, where the emphasis was on mass transfer and model development.

Author Biographies

Stephanie Farrell, Rowan University

Stephanie Farrell is Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University. She received her BS in 1986 from the University of Pennsylvania, her MS in 1992 from Stevens Institute of Technology, and her PhD in 1996 from New Jersey Institute of Technology. Her teaching and research interests are in controlled drug delivery and biomedical engineering.

Robert P Hesketh, Rowan University

Robert Hesketh is Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University. He received his BS in 1982 from the University of Illinois and his PhD from the University of Delaware in 1987. His research is in the areas of reaction engineering, novel separations, and green engineering.