Obituary: Palghat Ramachandran, professor of engineering, 75

Palghat (P.A.) Ramachandran, professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, died in his sleep Thursday, March 18, 2021, of natural causes. He was 75.

Ramachandran joined the faculty at Washington University in 1982 as an associate professor. He taught many graduate courses in transport phenomena, reaction engineering, multiphase reactor analysis, computational engineering, engineering mathematics, environmental reaction engineering, semiconductor material processing analysis, and pollution prevention in chemical processes.


Ramachandran’s research interests were in chemical reaction engineering, three-phase catalytic reactors, mathematical modeling, semiconductor material processing, boundary element and integral equations, and reactor design for pollution prevention. He worked extensively on modeling and analysis of multiphase reactors as applied to chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Over the course of his career, he published more than 200 papers in refereed journals, as well as four books and several monographs.

Vijay Ramani, the Roma B. & Raymond H. Wittcoff Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering, first found Ramachandran’s work as an undergraduate student while studying heterogeneous reactors.

“I was thrilled to be his colleague in the department these past five years, during which time I have learned a lot from him,” Ramani said. “He was a wonderful teacher, mentor and friend, who could speak with authority on a diversity of topics. He was an outstanding chemical engineer who melded mastery of core fundamentals with rigorous applied mathematical methods to solve truly challenging and emergent problems at the interface of reaction engineering and transport phenomena.”

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Read the full obituary on the engineering website.

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