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Prof Cara Schwarz
Associate Professor

Short Bio

Prof. Schwarz is an associate professor of Chemical Engineering with a focus on thermodynamics and separation processes.

She holds a BEng (Chemical Engineering) (1999), an MScEng (Chemical Engineering) (2001) and a PhD (Chemical Engineering) (2005), all from Stellenbosch University. Following the completion of her studies, Prof. Schwarz furthered her research career at Stellenbosch University as a post-doctoral fellow (2006 to 2010) and later as a Senior Researcher (2011 to 2015). As of January 2016 she holds the position of associate professor. Additionally, Prof. Schwarz is a registered professional engineer and holds a Y1 NRF rating.

Through her career Prof. Schwarz has received numerous awards including:

  • Dean’s Medal for upcoming researcher of the year in Faculty of Engineer, 2011
  • Y1 National Research Foundation Rating in 2010.
  • 2006 L'Oreal Fellowship for Women in Science – Material Sciences Award. National award for best doctoral research in the area of material science for graduates in 2005/2006.
  • Best Ph.D in Department of Process Engineering, 2005
  • Best Masters Thesis in Department of Chemical Engineering (presently known as Department of Process Engineering) in 2001
  • Best final year student for Bachelor of Engineering, Chemical Engineering in 1999

Currently Prof. Schwarz has a total of 48 publications in international peer-reviewed journals, an h-index of 11, according to Scopus, and her publications have been cited over 300 times. She has attended 24 national and international conferences where she has contributed to 82 publications, 4 of which were keynote or invited lectures.

Prof. Schwarz has successfully supervised/co-supervised 2 PhD and 5 Masters students and is currently supervising/co-supervising 5 PhD and 9 Masters students.

Research Interests

Prof. Schwarz is a specialist on thermal separations technology and the associated underlying chemical thermodynamics. Her research foci are understanding phase equilibria and other fundamental properties with the aim of improving the understanding of how these properties influence separation processes such as distillation and extraction. In particular, she has a keen in high pressure phase equilibria and supercritical fluid extraction and fractionation, and how to understand and predict these systems.

Currently Prof. Schwarz’s main research foci are:

  • High pressure phase equilibria measurement and thermodynamic modelling of asymmetric systems
  • Supercritical fluid extraction/fractionation of high molecular mass hydrocarbons
  • Low pressure phase equilibria measurement and thermodynamic modelling of complex organic systems
  • Heterogeneous azeotropic distillation for application in dehydration of alcohols
  • Adsorption for product purification of hydrocarbons and waste stream clean-up

Selected Publications

T.F.N. Mazimbamuto, C.E. Schwarz, J.H. Knoetze, Supercritical Fractionation of Agathosma (Buchu) Essential Oil. Part 1: Measurement of Binary Phase Equilibria, J. Supercrit. Fluids. 107 (2016) 612-623. DOI: 10.1016/j.supflu.2015.07.023.

S.A.M. Smith, C.E. Schwarz, High pressure phase behaviour of the CO2 + 1-decanol + n-dodecane system, Fluid Phase Equilib. 406 (2015) 1-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.fluid.2015.07.020

F.C.v.N. Fourie, C.E. Schwarz, J.H. Knoetze, Analytic setup for multi-component high-pressure phase equilibria via dual online gas chromatography, Chem. Eng. Tech. 38 (2015) 1165-1172. DOI: 10.1002/ceat.201400643

    Zamudio, C.E. Schwarz, J.H. Knoetze, Methodology for process modelling of supercritical fluid fractionation processes illustrated for the separation of alkane/alcohol isomer mixtures using CO2, J. Supercrit. Fluids 104 (2015) 272-280. DOI: 10.1016/j.supflu.2015.07.004

    Zamudio, C.E. Schwarz, J.H. Knoetze, Experimental Measurement and Modeling with Aspen Plus® of the Phase Behaviour of Supercritical CO2 + (n dodecane + 1 decanol + 3,7 dimethyl 1 octanol), J. Supercrit. Fluids 84 (2013) 132-145. DOI: 10.1016/j.supflu.2013.09.015

    Pienaar, C.E. Schwarz, A.J. Burger, J.H. Knoetze, Vapor-Liquid-Liquid Equilibria Measurements for the Dehydration of Ethanol, Isopropanol and n-Propanol via Azeotropic Distillation, J. Chem. Eng. Data 58 (2013) 537-550. DOI: 10.1021/je300847v

    A.J. de Villiers, C.E. Schwarz, A.J. Burger, Improving vapour-liquid-equilibria predictions for mixtures with non-associating polar components using sPC-SAFT extended with two dipolar terms, Fluid Phase Equilibr. 305 (2011) 174-184. DOI:10.1016/j.fluid.2011.03.025

    C.E. Schwarz, G.J.K. Bonthuys, R.F. van Schalkwyk, D.L. Laubscher, A.J. Burger, J.H. Knoetze, Separation of alkanes and alcohols with supercritical fluids. Part II. Influence of process parameters and size of operating range, J. Supercrit. Fluids 58 (2011) 352-359. DOI:10.1016/j.supflu.2011.07.005

    C.E. Schwarz, M. Zamudio, J.H. Knoetze, Phase Equilibria of Long-Chain Carboxylic Acids in Supercritical Propane, J. Chem. Eng. Data, 56 (2011) 1116-1124. DOI:10.1021/je101077v

    C.E. Schwarz, F.C.v.N. Fourie, J.H. Knoetze, Phase equilibria of alcohols in supercritical fluids Part II. The effect of side branching on C8 alcohols in supercritical carbon dioxide, J. Supercrit. Fluids 51 (2009) 128-135. DOI:10.1016/j.supflu.2009.08.009

    F.C.v.N. Fourie, C.E. Schwarz, J.H. Knoetze, Phase equilibria of alcohols in supercritical fluids Part I. The effect of the position of the hydroxyl group for linear C8 alcohols in supercritical carbon dioxide, J. Supercrit. Fluids 47 (2008) 161-167. DOI:10.1016/j.supflu.2008.07.001

    C.E. Schwarz, G.J.K. Bonthuys, J.H. Knoetze, A.J. Burger, The influence of functional end groups on the high-pressure phase equilibria of long chain molecules in supercritical propane, J. Supercrit. Fluids 46 (2008) 233 237. DOI:10.1016/j.supflu.2008.03.008


    Chemical Engineering 317 (Chemical Thermodynamics)