Picture of Dr. Stephen Ritchie

Departmental Undergraduate Program Director, Associate Professor

Chemical and Biological Engineering

3476 SEC
 (205) 348-2712
 (205) 348-7558
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  • Ph.D., Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Kentucky, 2001
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Toledo, 1995


Dr. Stephen Ritchie’s laboratory focuses on the addition of active properties to passive materials. This work has resulted in adsorptive membranes for antibody purification, highly charged membranes for protein separation and concentration, and membrane catalysts. Commercial production of functionalized membranes and scale‐up are also of interest.

The group’s interest in adsorptive membranes has been focused on antibody purification. The work is continuing and evolving to include other biomolecules and more complex adsorption sites. Adsorptive membranes are fully synthetic and high capacity, and are capable of achieving similar selectivity to affinity resins.

We also have a strong interest in commercial production techniques and applications for functionalized membranes. Currently, work is focused on high volume systems containing proteins and other biomolecules. The goal is to concentrate proteins similar to conventional microfiltration and ultrafiltration processes, but at much higher flux through a combination of separation mechanisms beyond size exclusion.

The group’s interest in acid catalysis has been on low temperature reactions where the competing solid‐phase catalyst is strong acid ion exchange resin. Our current interest is adapting membranes for long-term operation in industrial systems. We are targeting applications with reactive distillation is currently employed.

Honors and Awards

  • AIChE Outstanding Faculty Award (2008, 2009, 2016-2018)
  • Leon Y. Sadler III Outstanding Faculty Award, The University of Alabama, 2004

Areas of Research

Latest Publications

  • “Pollutant Emissions and Environmental Assessment of Ethyl 3-Ethoxybutyrate, a Potential Renewable Fuel,” Storey, J.M.E., Bunce, M.P., Clarke, E.M., Edmonds, J.W., Findlay, R.H., Ritchie, S.M.C., Eyers, L., McMurry, Z.A., and Smoot, J.C., Environmental Science & Pollution Research, (2016), DOI: 10.1007/s11356-016-7052-z.
  • “Microfiltration membranes functionalized with multiple styrenic homopolymer and block copolymer grafts,” Shethji, J. and Ritchie, S.M.C., Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Vol. 132, no. 36 (2015) 42501.
  • “Mathematical modeling, verification and optimization for catalytic membrane esterification micro-reactor,” El-Zanati, E., Ritchie, S.M.C., Abdalla, H., Elnashaie, S., International Journal of Chemical Reaction Engineering, Vol. 13, No. 1 (2015) 71-82.