Picture of Dr. James Sheehan

Assistant Professor

Chemical and Biological Engineering

3010 North Engineering Research Center
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  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, 2014
  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, 2019


Supercritical fluids (SCFs) are compressible fluids consisting of chemical species under temperatures and pressures exceeding their critical point. The properties of SCFs (e.g., density, viscosity, diffusivity, etc.) are intermediate of those of gases and liquids, and their compressibility facilitates “tuning” of their properties by adjusting temperature and/or pressure. As such, the tunable properties of SCFs allows for enhanced control over phase behavior and solubility of chemical species in SCFs, which in turn, has implications for designing reaction and separation processes.

The Sheehan group investigates the phase behavior and solubility of chemical species in SCFs and evaluates the chemical kinetics of associated reactions of interest. They evaluate SCF systems via in situ spectroscopic and ex situ analytical methods and leverage computational modeling tools for quantifying chemical kinetics and optimizing process conditions. The overarching research objective of the Sheehan group is to develop novel and sustainable chemical processes that mitigate the use of toxic chemicals and promote process intensification by integrating reaction and separation unit operations.

Areas of Research

Latest Publications

  • Kots, P.A.; Liu, S.; Vance, B.C.; Wang, C.; Sheehan, J.D.; Vlachos, D.G. “Propylene Plastic Waste Conversion to Lubricants over Ru/TiO2 Catalysts”. ACS Catalysis 11 8104-8115 (2021).
  • Ebikade O.E.; Samulewicz, N.; Xuan S., Sheehan, J.D.; Wu, C.; Vlachos, D.G. “Reductive catalytic fractionation of agricultural residue and energy crop lignin and application of lignin oil in antimicrobials”. Green Chem. 22, 7435-7747 (2020).
  • Sheehan, J.D.; Savage P.E. “Reaction pathways and kinetics of tryptophan in hot, compressed water”. Chem. Eng. J. 390, 124600 (2020).
  • Sheehan, J.D.; Abraham, A.; Savage P.E. “Reaction pathways and kinetics of tetra-alanine in hot, compressed liquid water” React. Chem. Eng. 4, 1237-1252 (2019).
  • Hickman, D. A.; Ignatowich, M. J.; Caracotsios, M.; Sheehan, J. D.; Ottaviano, F. D. “Nonlinear mixed-effects models for kinetic parameter estimation with batch reactor data”. Chem. Eng. J. 377, 119817 (2019).