A member of the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University since 1992, Robert Tilton is Chevron Professor of Chemical Engineering. He earned a B.Ch.E. from the University of Delaware in 1986, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University in 1987 and 1991, respectively. His Ph.D. research was supervised by Alice Gast and Channing Robertson and was recognized by the 1993 Victor K. LaMer Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Colloid and Surface Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. Following his Ph.D. he conducted postdoctoral research in the Department of Physical Chemistry at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. He is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Tilton has served as a regular member of the NIH Nanotechnology Study Section and as Scientific Council to CODIRECT, the Institute Excellence Centre for Controlled Release and Delivery at the Institute for Surface Chemistry in Stockholm. He has held several leadership positions in the American Chemical Society Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry, including Victor K. LaMer Award Committee Chair, symposium committee chair, and division vice-chair, chair-elect and chair. He now serves as councilor. In 2001 and 2015 he co-chaired the ACS Colloid and Surface Science Symposium at Carnegie Mellon University.

Research in Tilton’s group addresses problems in complex fluid interfacial phenomena. This entails fundamental investigations of the structure and dynamics of macromolecules, surfactants and composite nanoparticles in suspension or adsorbed at solid or fluid interfaces supports application-driven research in environmental nanotechnology, aerosolized carriers for pulmonary drug delivery, and high efficiency emulsifiers.

A207C Doherty Hall
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Robert Tilton
Tilton Group Website

Engineering More Efficient Emulsifiers

Creating New Technology Using Complex Fluids


1991 Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Stanford University

1987 MS, Chemical Engineering, Stanford University

1986 Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with Distinction, Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware

Media mentions

Liu honored at AIChE undergraduate research poster competition

At the 2023 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Annual Student Conference, ChemE student Linda Liu earned 2nd place honors in the materials engineering and science category of the undergraduate research poster competition.

Chemical Engineering

Tilton to receive American Chemical Society Award

ACS recognizes Bob Tilton for outstanding scientific contributions to colloid chemistry.

Chemical Engineering

Alum spotlight: Haichao Wu

Haichao Wu (‘15) received the 2023 Victor K. LaMer Award for Graduate Research in Colloid and Surface Chemistry. His career path was inspired by his advisors and research experience in the MS program.

Chemical Engineering

Better transport on the way to more sustainable product formulations

Researchers show that polymer/surfactant complexes significantly enhance diffusiophoretic transport of colloids. The findings advance the understanding of how ingredients interact.

CMU Engineering

Kinetic research propels career paths

Malaika Alphons’ Summer Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship (SURA) could serve her as a chemical or biomedical researcher.

Chemical Engineering

Undergraduates earn research experience through ChemE’s ChESS Program

Carnegie Mellon’s Chemical Engineering Summer Scholars Program (ChESS) provides rising juniors and seniors an opportunity to gain hands-on research experience.

Chemical Engineering

Berg Scholars, Chen and Pavlat will present posters at AIChE Conference

ChemE’s 6th Annual John Berg Undergraduate Research Symposium Poster Session winners, Ketong Chen and Benjamin Pavlat, earned the designation of Berg Scholars. They will travel on an all-expenses-paid trip to Boston for the AIChE Annual Student Conference and participate in its Undergraduate Student Poster Competition.

CMU Engineering

Nanoparticles to immunize plants against heat stress

Greg Lowry and Bob Tilton have created a new type of nanoparticle that may be able to immunize plants against harsh environmental conditions and pathogens.

CMU Engineering

Safety top of mind for Baranowski

As an integral member of the “Rethink the Rink” team, Joanna Baranowski is working to make hockey safer.

Chemical Engineering

Alum creates endowed fund to support complex fluids research

Chemical engineering alumnus Prasad Setty (E ‘1994) and his wife Shoma recently made a $100,000 gift to the Department of Chemical Engineering to create an endowed fund in support of research in complex fluid interfacial phenomena.

Business Insider India

Tilton and Przybycien refine water filtration process that uses sand and plant materials

BME/ChemE’s Bob Tilton and Todd Przybycien's work on the process that converts sand and plant materials into a cheap and effective water filtration tool, called “f-sand,” was discussed in Business Insider India.

CMU Engineering

The seed that could bring clean water to millions

Bob Tilton and Todd Przybycien have refined the requirements of a process that turns easily accessible sand and plant materials into a cheap and effective water filtration tool.