Professor Gilchrist's research and scholarly activities are designed to impact both science and engineering through fundamental studies of particulate systems. From an engineering viewpoint, particle technology is ubiquitous, including pharmaceutical, chemical, agricultural, food, cosmetic, ceramic, electronic, and mining processes and in an uncountable number of natural processes including sediment transport in rivers, dune formation, and blood flow. An overarching objective of Gilchrist's research is to develop a better understanding of these far-from-equilibrium particulate processes exhibiting complexity and self-organization.

Gilchrist manages the Laboratory for Particle Mixing and Self-Organization, where he and his team investigate phenomena ranging from the nano- to macro- scales, typically divided into colloidal and granular systems. Researchers in the lab identify prototypical complex systems for study and develop new experimental, computational, and analytical methods of investigation and analysis. Projects include suspension transport in chaotic flows, suspension rheology and microstructure, convective deposition, suspension dielectrophoresis, and granular dynamics in vibrated systems. Paired with this fundamental research is collaborative development of applications involving novel processes, materials, and devices such as microfluidic- and industrial-scale mixing and separation, light emitting diode and dye sensitized solar cell coating and internal structure fabrication, fabrication of BioMEMS sensor platforms, and dynamic powder density measurement for online process analysis. Much work has been performed in particle-laden coatings.  The long term goal of this work is to further fundamental understanding of suspensions and granular processes and to devise novel ways of controlling these systems.

Professor Gilchrist received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Prior to joining the faculty of Lehigh University in 2004, he was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at University of Illinois working with Professor Jennifer A. Lewis (currently at Harvard University). He held Lehigh’s P.C. Rossin Assistant Professorship from 2007-2010 and the Class of 1961 Associate Professorship from 2013-2015, received the North American Mixing Forum Young Faculty Award in 2007.  Gilchrist was a visiting professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology for the 2011-2012 academic year, and a Visiting Professorial Fellow at University of New South Wales in 2016.  Gilchrist is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Polymer Science and Engineering Affiliated Faculty
James Gilchrist, Lehigh University
James F. Gilchrist
Ruth H. and Sam Madrid Professor
(610) 758-4781
Lehigh University
Packer Campus
HST Building, 273
124 E. Morton Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015


Ph.D., Northwestern University
B.S., Washington University

Areas of Research

Fluid Mechanics, Suspensions, Complex Fluids, Particle Technology, Rheology, Granular Media, Coatings, Mixing, Convective Deposition