Understanding and manipulating molecular behaviour is at the heart of manufacturing processes, from the production of chemicals to polymers and high-performance materials. Chemistry provides the understanding of the production process at the micro- (molecules, reactivity), meso- (larger particles, multiphase reactions, reactors), and macro- (integrated processes) levels.

The Manufacturing Futures Lab provides a collaborative and supportive research environment, with both strong internal and external links, and fosters a strong and robust culture of interdisciplinary collaboration. The underpinning chemistry theme involves a diverse range of researchers from across the Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials, Physics, and Biological Sciences.

Collaborative research centres:

The Centre of Plastics Electronics
Collaborative venture between Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials and Physics with Queen Mary College London.

Institute of Chemical Biology
Collaborative venture between Imperial College London, the Institute for Cancer Research and the London Research Institute of Cancer Research UK.

The Pharmacat Consortium
Collaborative venture between Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Fine Chemicals and Pharmaceutical Companies.

Collaborative venture between Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Imperial College and University College London, on the development of catalytic reactions and processes.

Imperial College London is home to five Nobel laureates in Chemistry: Sir Walter Haworth (1937), Sir Cyril Hinshelwood (1956), Lord George Porter (1967), Sir Derek Barton (1969) and Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson (1973). The latter is best known for the development of a rhodium catalyst widely used today in hydrogenation reactions, which still bears his name (‘Wilkinson’s catalyst’). As part of this legacy, research in catalysis is one of Imperial College’s key strengths. Catalysis is a strategic research area for manufacturing, fuelled by the need by the Chemical Industry for processes that produce less waste, are more selective and use less energy.

At the heart of catalyst research is the study of fundamental processes that govern interactions between molecular entities that leads to catalyst activation and deactivation. In this regard, The Pharmacat Consortium and LondonCat are are two centres associated specifically in the area of catalysis, addressing the fundamental science and their applications in the fine chemicals and pharmcetical industries.