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About Us

The focus of the Industrial and Environmental Process Technology (IEPT) group is the application of fundamental principles of Physics and Chemistry to improve the economic and environmental effectiveness of processes of industrial interest. Our activities incorporate both strategic basic research aimed at elucidating mechanisms of importance in these processes and applied research directed towards specific process optimisation.

Staff Researchers

  • Prof David Lamb
  • A/Prof Trevor Brown
  • Dr Peter Lye
  • Dr Chris Fellows
  • Dr Erica Smith


Current projects in which group members are researching, collaborating with other bodies nationally and internationally, and publishing in high quality journals include:

Optical Fibre Probes for in situ Process Monitoring.
Passing light through an optical fibre traversing a process vessel can give valuable information about the progress of the process, through interaction of light with chemical species in the vessel through the evanescent field and through the deposition of materials on the surface altering the relative refractive indices of the fibre core and cladding. We have developed novel methods using such probes to monitor scale deposition and wine quality, among others.
Catalytic Decomposition of Lignocellulosic Matter for Biofuels.
Second generation biofuels do not compete for feedstocks with human or animal food, but rely on waste products or plants that can grown on land unsuitable for other forms of agriculture. In order to maximise the efficiency of this process, we are developing new processes for degrading lignin and cellulose using ionic liquids as solvent.
Application of Polyelectrolytes to Scale Control.
Charged polymers are used in low ppm quantities to control the deposition of inorganic scale in many industries where aqueous solutions are concentrated. We are working on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of action of these polymers in processes of interest to the desalination and sugar milling industries, in particular, understanding the factors that control the effectiveness of their use, and developing improved scale control formulations.
Optimisation of Heterogeneous Catalysis.
Improved catalysis of organic reactions can reduce the energy inputs required and minimise the use of volatile organic solvents, with significant environmental and economic benefits. We are investigating novel methods for the catalytic synthesis of significant commodity polymers that, in addition to the benefits above, will avoid the toxic intermediates used in current synthesis.
Antimony Electrowinning.
The use of antimony in flame retardants means that this element has a large and growing international market, and its production in the New England region is beginning on a commercial scale. The electrochemistry of antimony is complex and the optimisation of electrowinning processes is urgently required for commercial reasons as well as involving much fundamental and exciting science.
Other projects
Other projects in which the group are involved include the monitoring of evaporation from water storages, development of pervaporation membranes for liquid/liquid separation, and the development of macrocyclic sensors

While not all group members are involved in all projects, most are collaborative projects between two or more group members, forming a complex catalytic net of projects. We welcome potential postgraduate students interested in any of these projects, or work in related areas.

Current postgraduate students and recent graduates

  • Dr Martijn Boerkamp (2009)
  • Dr Shane Kendall (2009)
  • Mr Paul Coop
  • Ms Amy-Sue Alston
  • Mr Nicholas Ballam
  • Mr Wayne Dillon
  • Mr Alex Simpson
  • Mr Ali Al-Hamzah
  • Mr Rowan Prangley

Publications 2007-2010

  • N. H. Nguyen, S. Kendell, C. Le Minh, Cam and T. Brown
    "Mechanistic Investigation into the Rearrangement of Lactone into Methacrylic Acid over Phosphomolybdic Acid Catalyst"
    Catalysis Letters, in press
  • M. Boerkamp, D. W. Lamb, P. G. Lye, C. M. Fellows, A. Al-Hamzah, and A. D. Wallace (2010)
    "Detecting and monitoring industrial scale formation using an intrinsic exposed core optical fibre sensor"
    Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 49(10), 4682-4686
  • C. P. East, W.O.S. Doherty, C. M. Fellows and H. Yu, (2010)
    "Deposition of hydroxyapatite and calcium oxalate dihydrate on a heat exchanger tube"
    Asia-Pacific Journal of Chemical Engineering, in press
  • S. Kendell and T. Brown (2010)
    "Detailed product and kinetic analysis for the low-pressure selective oxidation of isobutane over phosphomolybdic acid"
    Reaction Kinetics, Mechanisms and Catalysis, 99(2), 251-268
  • A. D. Wallace, A. Al-Hamzah, C. P. East, W. O. S. Doherty and C. M. Fellows (2010)
    "Effect of Poly(acrylic acid) End-group Functionality on Inhibition of Calcium Oxalate Crystal Growth"
    J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 116(2), 1165-1171
  • C. P. East, A. D. Wallace, A. Al-Hamzah, W. O. S. Doherty and C. M. Fellows (2010)
    "Effect of Poly(acrylic acid) Molecular Mass and End-group Functionality on Calcium Oxalate Crystal Morphology and Growth"
    J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 115(4), 2127-2135
  • C. M. Fellows and G. A. Thomas (2009)
    "Determination of bound and unbound water in dental alginate irreversible hydrocolloid by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy"
    Dental Materials, 25, 486-493
  • S. M. Kendell, T. C. Brown, et al. (2008) "Accurate low-pressure kinetics for isobutane oxidation over phosphomolybdic acid and copper(II) phosphomolybdates."
    Catal. Today 131(1-4): 526-532.
  • D. F. Sangster, J. Feldthusen, J. Strauch and C. M. Fellows (2008)
    "Measurement of Transfer Coefficients to Monomer for n-Butyl Methacrylate by Molecular Weight Distributions from Emulsion Polymerization"
    Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics, 209 (15) , 1523-1537.
  • M. Boerkamp, D. W. Lamb & P. G. Lye (2008)
    "Progress in the application of exposed core, optical fibre sensors for detecting and monitoring surface crystallization processes"
    in Optical Design and Engineering III, Laurent Mazuray, Rolf Wartmann, Andrew Wood, Jean-Luc Tissot, Jeffery M. Raynor (Eds), Proc. SPIE 7110, 71002G-1, 0277-786X/08/$18 doi: 10.1117/12.797583.
  • D. W. Lamb, M. Boerkamp & P. G. Lye, (2008)
    "Monitoring surface crystal growth using an intrinsic exposed-core optical fiber sensor (IECOFS)"
    in Proc 19th International Conference on Optical Fibre Sensors, David Sampson, Stephen Collins, Kyunghwan Oh, Ryozo Yamauchi (Eds), Proc. SPIE 7004, 700440, 0277-786X/08/$18 doi: 10.1117/12.785932.
  • M. Boerkamp, D. W. Lamb & P. G. Lye (2008)
    "PMMA optical fibers as intrinsic sensors of surface crystal growth"
    in Proc. 19th International Conference on Optical Fibre Sensors, David Sampson, Stephen Collins, Kyunghwan Oh, Ryozo Yamauchi (Eds), Proc. SPIE 7004, 700440, 0277-786X/08/$18 doi: 10.1117/12.786072.
  • A. D. Wallace, M. Boerkamp, P. G. Lye, D. W. Lamb, W. O. S. Doherty & C. M. Fellows (2008)
    "Assessment of an intrinsic optical fiber sensor for in situ observation of scale-forming salts"
    Industrial and Engineering Chemical Research. 47: 1066-1070.
  • M. Boerkamp, D. W. Lamb & P. G. Lye (2007)
    "Using an intrinsic, exposed core, optical fibre sensor to quantify chemical scale formation"
    Journal of Physics: Conference Series. 76 (doi:10.1088/1742-6596/76/1/012016).
  • I. Craig, V. Aravinthan, C. Baillie, A. Beswick, G. Barnes, R. Bradbury, L. Connell, P. Coop, C. Fellows, L. Fitzmaurice, J. Foley, N. Hancock, D. Lamb, P. Morrison, R. Misra, R. Mossad, P. Pittaway, E. Prime, S. Rees, E. Schmidt, D. Solomon, T. Symes and D. Turnbull (2007)
    "Evaporation, seepage and water quality management in storage dams: a review of research methods"
    Environmental Health, 7:3 84-97.
  • D. J. Tucker, D. W. Lamb, K. S. Powell, A. L. Blanchfield, & I. M. Brereton, I.M. (2007)
    "Detection of Phylloxera Infestation in Grapevines by NMR Methods"
    Acta Horticulturae 733. 173-182.
  • L. Daqiq, C. M. Fellows, F. Bekes and E. Lees, (2007)
    "Methodologies for Symmetrical-Flow Field-Flow Fractionation Analysis of Polymeric Glutenin"
    Journal of Texture Studies, 38(2), 273-296 (2007).

Current Grants

  • 2007-10 Developing a Sensor for Monolayers on Water Storages CRC-Irrigation Futures/CRC Cotton Catchment Communities $97,500
  • 2006-10 Storage dam evaporation mitigation CRC-Irrigation Futures $65,000
  • 2008-2010 ARC Linkage, Effect of cane sugar juice composition on scaling rate and scale composition in sugar mills (with Dr William Doherty, QUT, Dr Hong Yu, IP Australia, and Mr Glenn Pope,Mulgrave Central Co. Ltd.) $93,000

Contact Us

For more information about the IEPT group, contact Dr Chris Fellows:, +61 2 6773 2470.

For more information about the School of Science and Technology, visit:

For more information about UNE, visit UNE's home page.