Imperial College London

Dr Chris Tighe

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Chemical Engineering

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 7432c.tighe CV




Mrs Sarah Payne +44 (0)20 7594 5567




417ACE ExtensionSouth Kensington Campus




High Pressure Industrial Systems

The High Pressure Industrial Systems research group addresses challenges related to chemistry, scale-up and engineering materials in industrial processes at high pressure (typically up to 2000 atmospheres and usually at elevated temperature) by conducting detailed fundamental experiments and employing computational methods where appropriate to yield deeper insights.

The core research themes of the group are as follows:

Supercritical Fluids

show research

Focus is currently on the study of environments containing supercritical water (PC = 221 bar, TC = 374A?C) or carbon dioxide (PC = 74 bar, TC = 31A?C):

- Supercritical CO2 found in oil and gas wells and in transport and subsequent sequestration of CO2 deep underground, often together with toxic and/or corrosive contaminants e.g. hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and H2O.

- Supercritical H2O used as a working fluid in the power generation industry: nuclear and super- or ultra-critical power stations burning hydrocarbon-based fuels.

- Supercritical H2O as a reaction medium for oxidation, hydrolysis and/or dehydration e.g. the formation of the oxides and hydroxides of metals from their water-soluble salts.

Reaction Engineering & Catalysis

show research

- Development of a patented confined jet, supercritical water reactor (with Darr group, Dept. Chemistry, UCL) for the continuous manufacture of inorganic nanoparticles.

- Chemical synthesis in high pressure environments.

- Fundamental mechanistic studies of catalytic processes.

Design and Scale-Up Methodologies

show research

- Measurement of transport phenomena in high pressure reacting environments.

- Development of pilot plant and scale-up of confined jet reactor for the continuous production of inorganic nanoparticles (with Darr group, Dept. of Chemistry, UCL).

- Pressure equipment design and fabrication.

Materials Performance

show research

In-situ characterisation of engineering materials in high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) environments, approached from the fundamental perspective of materials science:

- Polymers & composites: thermoplastics, elastomers, thermosets.

- Ceramics, refractories and cements.

- Swelling and plasticisation, viscoelastic properties of polymers.

- Fluid sealing in HPHT environments.

- Chemical reaction and degradation.

- In-situ Raman and FTIR studies.

Guest Lectures

Sorption and Concentration-Dependent Diffusivity of High-Pressure CO2 in Engineering Polymers, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg, 2022

Scaling-Up a Continuous Supercritical Hydrothermal Process for the Manufacture of Inorganic Nanoparticles, Imperial College London, Dept. of Chemistry, 2018

Formation of Nanoparticles in a Turbulent Hydrothermal Jet, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA, 2017

Kinetics, Changes in Particle Size and Internal Structure of Two Diesel Soots and a Carbon Black During Oxidation in Oxygen or Nitrogen Dioxide, Cambridge Particle Meeting, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, 2016

High Pressure High Value, ChemEngDayUK, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, 2015

Research Student Supervision

Allcock,N, PhD - Mechanisms & Kinetics of Frustrated Lewis Pair Catalysed Hydrogenations

Almeida Calado,M, PhD - Hydrothermal Upgrading of Lignocellulosic Biomass

Faure,A, UG - Experimental Investigation of Pore Growth in Carbonaceous Nanoparticles During Low Temperature Combustion in Oxygen

Hu,T, MSc - Pore Growth in Carbonaceous Nanoparticles During Low Temperature Combustion

Lee,WH, MSc - Gas-Liquid Mass Transfer in Frustrated Lewis Pair Catalysed Hydrogenations

Mughal,M, MSc - Towards an Accurate Physico-Chemical Model of Precipitation in Near-Critical and Supercritical Water

O'Farrell,R, UG - Development of a Computational Model for Metal Oxide Nanoparticle Formation in Supercritical Continuous Flow Hydrothermal Reactors

Shah,P, PhD - Simultaneous Liquid-Ion-Nanoparticle Generation & Separation

Simons,M, UG - Wrong Way Behaviour of Packed Bed Reactors

Skitt,J, PhD - Biomass Derived Transport Fuels via Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis

Wibrew,R, PhD - Phase Equilibria of Carbon Dioxide & Crude Oil