Prof. Dr. Andrzej Burghardt, Dr.h.c.

Director of the Institute from 1970 – 2003

aburghardtProfessor Andrzej Burghardt was born on 9th December, 1928 in Warsaw in an educated family. After completing general secondary school he took up studies at the Chemical Department of the Silesian University of Technology and received in 1954 his M.Sc. degree in chemistry specializing in chemical engineering.

Then he started working at the Design Office of Coke Chemical Industry „Koksoprojekt” in Zabrze where he was employed till 1964 as a senior designer and then a technical advisor. He worked out a number of projects referring to chemical coal processing most of which were realized in the plants of the coke chemical industry. In 1955 he began academic and didactic work as an assistant at the Chair of Engineering and Chemical Equipment Construction of the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice. Employed at the University till 1964 he took over subsequent positions as an assistant, senior assistant and after the defence of his PhD thesis as a reader. In 1963 he left for a scientific scholarship at Imperial College of Science and Technology in London where under the supervision of Prof. K.G. Denbigh he was studying mathematical modelling of longitudinal dispersion phenomena in chemical reactors. This study became the subject of his postdoctoral thesis which was presented to the Chemical Department Council of the University in 1964. In 1966 Prof. A. Burghardt moved to the Research Centre of Chemical Engineering and Apparatus Construction of Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) managed by Prof. T. Hobler. He was engaged there as an assistant-professor and deputy head of the Centre for scientific matters. Nevertheless, he didn’t lose contact with the Silesian University of Technology. From 1966 to 1980 he was lecturing fundamentals of chemical reactor engineering for the students specializing in chemical engineering as well as on doctoral and postgraduate studies.

His contemporary scientific authority was already proved by the fact, that he was charged in 1970 with the management of the Research Centre of Chemical Engineering and Apparatus Construction of the PAS after the retirement of Prof. T. Hobler.

He was the head of the Research Centre till 1984, when the Centre was transformed into the Institute of Chemical Engineering of PAS, having been granted the right of conducting PhD theses. Prof. A. Burghardt was appointed to the position of the head of the Institute. He was the head continuously till 2003.

In 1971 Prof. A. Burghardt received the degree of associate professor and eight years later in 1979 – the degree of a full professor in technical sciences.

Burghardt-HCIn the eighties and the nineties Prof. A. Burghardt was invited several times by European and American universities to conduct lectures. The following universities can be enlisted here: the University of California (1978), English universities such as Cambridge (1976, 1984), London (1977), Birmingham (1984), Italian Universities in Padua (1971), Genoa and Milan (1976), universities in Yokohama and Tokyo in Japan (1986).

He established closest cooperation with the universities in the Federal Republic of Germany, such as the University of Munich (1982), Stuttgart (1988) and Karlsruhe (1979, 1982, 1988, and 1991). The proposal he received from the chief editor of the VDI-Wärmeatlas was an example of recognition of his high professional qualifications. He was asked to prepare a special section to this periodical referring to the methodology of designing multicomponent condensation processes.

In 1983 Prof. A. Burghardt was elected a corresponding member of PAS and in 1991 - a full member.

Prof. A. Burghardt is the chairman of the Editorial Board of the PAS quarterly „ Chemical and Process Engineering”, for many years he was one of editors of „Chemical Engineering and Processing” and a permanent reviewer of „Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, Research” issued by American Chemical Society and since 2005 – he is also a member of the editorial board of the „Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering”.

His outstanding scientific position was the cause of his election as a chairman of the Committee of Chemical and Process Engineering of PAS in four subsequent terms of office. He was also elected a member of the Central Qualifying Commission for Scientific Personnel (1976-1990) and a member of the National Awards’ Commission (1986-1990). From 1989 -1991 he was participating in the work of the Committee of Science and Technology and for 3 subsequent terms of office, i.e. from 1994-2002 he was a member of the Central Commission for Academic Titles and Degrees.

His scientific achievements cover 11 monographs (including one issued four times in German and one English translation) and 170 publications the majority of which were published in prestigious journals such as Chemical Engineering Science, Chemical Engineering and Processing and others. His publications were cited in worldwide known journals many times and his methodology of optimization of chemical reactors’ was presented in monographs.

His scientific interests focus mainly on the theory of chemical reactors. It can be undoubtedly stated that he is a creator of the Polish school of chemical reactors’ engineering and his monograph called “The fundamentals of chemical reactors’ engineering” was for many years a fundamental handbook for a number of generations of students of the Silesian University of Technology.

In the beginning of his academic career, after his return from the scholarship at Imperial College of Science and Technology in London, his works concerned the explanation of the influence of mixing effects on the productivity of reactors, determining parametric sensitivity of reactors for complex chemical systems and finally the problems connected with optimization of chemical reactors. In the next years his scientific interest concerned the problems of mass transfer in multicomponent and multi-phase systems.

Visiting in 1979 the „Institut tür Thermische Verfahrenstechnik” of the University of Karlsruhe he presented his own general method of designing of the equipment for mass transfer for multicomponent systems. Then Prof. Schlünder, the head of the institute and at the same time the editor in chief of the monograph VDI Wärmeatlas, recognizing the originality of the method, made a proposal to him to prepare a chapter „Filmkondensation von Mehrstoffgemischen” in this book referring to the methodology of calculation of multicomponent condensation.

This chapter, including also a number of examples, was issued in three subsequent editions of the VDI - and Springer-Verlag in German and as an English translation entitled „Heat Atlas”.

In recent years the notions connected with dynamics of processes occurring in chemical reactors have begun to be more and more significant in Prof. A. Burghardt’s studies. First and foremost, he is interested in dynamics of processes occurring in porous bodies.

He developed a method of analysis of the structures of steady-states occurring in these systems determining simultaneously the region of parameters in which the occurrence of multiple steady-states can take palce. The issues strictly connected with the research of the multiple steady-states consist in determination of their stability. In his further works Prof. A. Burghardt developed the methodology of examination of stability of steady-states of reaction systems based on a linear system dynamics. This methodology referred in this part mainly to the so-called static bifurcation illustrated the change of the steady-states of chemical reactors as a result of external perturbation of the process.

PB-HCA very significant problem was to determine the conditions of generation of self-inducing oscillations appearing in reaction systems, the so called bifurcation to oscillatory solutions. Prof. A. Burghardt devoted much research to these problems. The effect of his work was a general theory of generation of oscillatory solutions in a porous catalyst pellet, where mass and energy transfer takes place. These works were presented in several publications in Chemical Engineering Science and were then frequently mentioned in a lively correspondence with the author. They were also collected in a separate monograph entitled „Dynamics of processes in a porous catalyst pellet”. A lot of Professor Burghardt’s attention was devoted to the promotion of young scientific staff. He promoted 8 doctors, two of them were granted a post-doctoral degree and three of them received a professor degree.

He also did not lose contact with students, conducting from 1993 to 1997 lectures and classes in chemical reactors’ engineering at the Institute of Chemical Engineering and Heat Transfer Equipment of the Technical University of Wrocław.

He is a scientist who has gained recognition in Polish and foreign scientific communities of Chemical Engineering. Taking into account his outstanding and internationally recognized achievements, indisputable standing and ethical values, the Senate of the Silesian University of Technology awarded him in March 2000 a Doctor Honoris Causa title of the Silesian University of Technology. Prof. A. Burghardt was also honoured in November 2002 with a title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the Technical University of Wrocław. In 2003 he was elected a representative of the discipline of Chemical Engineering in Poland in the Committee of Scientific Research. After the reorganization of this Committee he became a member of the Council of Science at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, where he is currently representing our discipline. Prof. A. Burghardt is a person who created a school connected with the theory of chemical reactors and in the memory of his students he will remain as a person who was and still is eager to help to solve difficult scientific problems sharing his profound knowledge and experience.

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