Faculty Directory

Contact Information

Goddard Hall, 119
Phone: +1-508-831-5525
Fax: +1-508-831-5853

Robert W. Thompson

The university is a "community of scholars," involving people at all levels, from entering freshmen to full professors, deans, and individuals at all stages in between. WPI's project-based curriculum, with Interactive Qualifying Projects (IQPs) and Major Qualifying Projects (MQPs), provides vehicles for engaging in scholarly activities. These often involve interactions with graduate students doing research in related areas. Participating in open-ended projects at various levels has been among the most stimulating and mind-broadening activities in my 35 years at WPI. While I have been engaged in zeolite crystallization research for over 30 years, I also have been active in studying the use of zeolites for organics remediation of water. Both at the MQP level and at the graduate student research level, we have made several fascinating discoveries using both experimental observations and computational chemistry techniques. Over the last nine years, I have advised IQP topics involving numerous aspects of alternative energy technologies. In that realm, we have identified snake-oil salesmen and technologies that come with false claims, as well as biofuels that may be of significant value in developing countries, like Haiti. Some of our work on alternative energy technologies has been published in the journals Energy Policy and Bioresource Technology.

Research Interests

  • Zeolite Crystallization
  • Organics Removal from Water
  • Alternative Energy Technologies



  • BS, Clarkson, 1971
  • MS, Clarkson, 1972
  • PhD, Iowa State, 1975


Featured Publications

  • Shu, G., Liu, J., Chiang, A. S. T., Thompson, R. W. “Transparent Zeolite Film with Regular Surface Patterns,” Advanced Materials (2006) 18, 185-189.
  • Akinci, B., Kassebaum, P. G., Fitch, J. V., Thompson, R. W. “The Role of Bio-Fuels in Satisfying U.S. Transportation Fuel Demands,” Energy Policy (2008) 36, 3485-3491.
  • Kotdawala, R. R., Kazantzis, N., Thompson, R. W. “Molecular Simulation Studies of Adsorption of Hazardous Molecules: The Hydrogen Cyanide and Methyl Ethyl Ketone Cases,” J. Hazardous Materials (2008) 159, 169-176.
  • Wen, H., Bergendahl, J. A., Thompson, R. W. “Removal of Estrone from Water with Adsorption on Zeolites Followed by UV Photolysis,” Env. Eng. Sci. (2009) 26, 319-326.
  • Abu-Lail, L., Bergendahl, J. A., Thompson, R. W. “Adsorption of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether on Granular Zeolites: Batch and Column Studies,” J. Hazardous Mater. (2010) 178, 363-369.


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