Professor Nidal Hilal

Professor Nidal Hilal

Professor Emeritus (Engineering), Science and Engineering

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DSc Eng, PhD, MSc, BEng, Euro Ing, CEng, FIChemE, FLSW

Research interests lie broadly in the identification of innovative and cost-effective solutions to real world process engineering problems within the fields of water treatment, membrane technology and the engineering applications of atomic force microscopy.

Developed a highly successful research portfolio pursuing high quality curiosity-driven and strategically significant research. Established a very wide range of international research collaborations.

Internationally recognised as a world-leader in developing and applying the force measurement capability of AFM to the study of membrane surfaces.

Research has produced several breakthrough innovations, including:

  • Development of novel membranes
  • Smallest AFM colloid probe reported in the literature
  • First AFM coated colloid probe technique
  • First AFM cell probe technique
  • First direct measurements of the interaction of single live cells with surfaces
  • First use of the atomic force microscope in meso-scale cavitation studies

All these techniques/technologies have widespread applications in process optimisation and the development of novel processes.

Highly active in finding multidisciplinary, collaborative applications of atomic force microscopy and process engineering. For example, current projects range from rheology of colloidal suspensions and superspreading with nano-scale interactions to fabrication of re-usable materials based on mineral particulates. This approach has been highly successful in attracting both significant funding from EPSRC and industrial interest.

Areas Of Expertise

  • Water treatment
  • Desalination
  • Novel membrane separation processes
  • Membrane nanotechnology
  • Application of atomic force microscopy (AFM) to chemical and process engineering

Career Highlights



Pressure is increasing on our limited water resources. With more people requiring clean water, effective solutions need to come from reusing water in the most efficient way.

The Centre for Water Advanced Technologies and Environmental Research (CWATER) is an internationally leading centre of excellence for the development of advanced technologies in water treatment.

The Centre benefits from world-leading expertise in the areas of desalination and membrane technologies for water treatment.

Read more about it here

Award Highlights