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2021 saw the first REF submission that the University of Chester has made under Chemistry.  This is therefore one of the youngest Units in the UK to become research active in this area. The Chemistry Unit of Assessment is cross-departmental, with a focus from Mathematical & Physical Sciences and Chemical Engineering, and with some contribution from other departments of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Chester.

The Unit is structured around three principal themes: 

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Energy and Environmental Chemistry
  • Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

Materials Chemistry represents the largest grouping and has overlap with both of the other two themes through synthesis and characterisation.

The University’s targeted research funding has been bolstered by external funders including: The Royal Society of Chemistry, Innovate UK, BBSRC and industry.

12 staff were identified as having significant responsibility for research in REF2021, leading to a requirement for 30 outputs to be submitted.

Research outputs submitted to REF2021 are included in the Chemical Engineering Collection. the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Collection and the Mechanical Engineering Collection of ChesterRep, the University of Chester’s online research repository.

The impact of research in this unit was exemplified through the following case studies:

Graphene Nanoflake Manufacture and Commercialisation by Ultrasonic Cavitation: This research has led to the identification of ultrasonic cavitation as a practical means of production of graphene nanoflakes.  Acoustic cavitation offers the potential of an alternative to the usual top-down (e.g. exfoliation) or bottom-up (e.g. CVD) approaches that is conceptually simple, and scalable.  The method will help in bringing the benefits of graphene technology to market in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. 

Development of a novel hydrogen fuel cell with associated water treatment spin-off technologies: Ongoing research concerns the development of a novel Redox Regenerative Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cell. Fuel cell intellectual property arising from the process need to efficiently generate, react and coalesce microbubbles has led to the investigation and application of spin-off water treatment technologies. Research in this area has resulted in the development of key knowhow that has enabled the investigation and advancement of other commercial water treatment products with potential financial and environmental impacts beyond fuel cells and generation of carbon-free energy. The principal beneficiaries of these spin-off technologies are expected to be the water treatment and process industries and through them, wider society.

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