Dr. Bongani Yalala: Chairperson
The Department of Applied Chemistry is one of the pioneer departments of the National University of Science and Technology. It opened its doors to some of the university’s first students in 1991, with an intake of 21 students. At its inception the department was located at the Bulawayo Polytechnic and moved to its home, the Chemistry Building at the main campus in 2002.
Currently the department has a staff complement of 9 lecturers, of which 5 are PhD holders, 1 staff development fellow, 2 teaching assistants, and 7 technical support staff and 1 secretary. The Department prepares students for the Bachelor of Applied Sciences Honours degree through a four year program, in which the third year is designated as an industrial attachment year.
We also offer research-based Mphil/PhD Programs. The Applied Chemistry program was designed to produce quality graduates with the ability to use their knowledge to the practical solutions of real problems and to contribute to the further development in the field of Applied Chemistry.
The Department undertakes research to support Zimbabwean manufacturing industry, with the aim of developing new products, improving production processes and product quality, to enhance their competitiveness. At the same time research is focused on monitoring and reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing processes, conserving Zimbabwean natural resources and developing potential new products based on those resources.
We also offer consultancy services and Analytical services mainly in Water and Soil analysis to individuals and companies. However, the Department also looks to the future of chemistry in Zimbabwe, seeking to build research capacity in such fast developing areas such as materials chemistry, nanotechnology and computational chemistry.We continue being open to partnerships and interdisciplinary research opportunities for the mutual benefit of our department and organizations interested in working with us.
The Department of Applied Chemistry offers one of the most highly rated chemistry programs in the country. Our emphasis is the application of chemistry to real life challenges for sustainable development.
Chemistry is considered a ‘‘central science’’ as it interconnects various fields of science, touching our every day lives, from the soap we bath with in the morning, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the medicine we take, to everything in the car you drive to work.
Thus studying chemistry opens numerous carrier prospects in different fields of chemistry and related industries. Our graduates have served in different capacities as Process, Quality Assurance, Laboratory, Sales, Research and Development personnel, amongst others. Over the years they have made valuable contributions to some the following industries in Zimbabwe:
* Minerals Processing
* Food and Drink
* Energy, Oil and Gas
* Plastics and Polymers
* Glass and Ceramics
* Paper and Printing
* Textiles and Dyes
* Soaps and Detergents
* Water and Wastewater Treatment
* Process Contracting
* Environmental Protection
* Recycling and Reclamation
* Public Institutions
Apart from the local industries our graduates are dotted right around the world where they have served with distinction, as attested on our students’ testimonials page.Because we equip our students with various skills in our programs, from data handling, computing to problem solving, you need not to restrict yourself to chemistry after graduation, it can be a stepping stone to many other opportunities, e.g managerial and administrative work.
The department of Applied Chemistry is always open to collaborative interdisciplinary research opportunities that advance science and technology.
The department has a diverse range of research areas spread amongst the members of the department. Some of the research covers the following fields of studies:
- Physical Science
Fundamentals of Intercalation Chemistry and applications in environmental remediation.
Optimization of clays for applications in flame retardation
- Analytical Chemistry
Electrochemistry with emphasis on electrode modification and electrocatalysis
Environmental monitoring, industrial quality control and biomedical analysis using electroanalytical techniques or just analytical techniques
- Environmental chemistry
Speciation of inorganic and organic pollutants, their transportation, mobility and fate, biogeochemical cycles of heavy metals, determination of bioavailability and bioaccessibility of heavy metals, health and environmental risk assessment studies due to exposure to pollutants, and application of new materials (adsorbents) for pollutant extraction of remediation studies.
Applications of nanotechnology in water purification systems.
- Organic Chemistry
Phytochemistry and structure elucidation of secondary metabolites from plants with bio-activity
- Polymer Science
Synthesis and characterization of novel ethylene and higher 1-olefin copolymers and terpolymers.
Development of new characterisation techniques for existing polyolefins.