Prof Cara Schwarz

Professor | Thermodynamics & separations at high & low pressures

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 2018 she holds the position of full professor. Additionally, Prof. Schwarz is a registered professional engineer and holds a C1 NRF rating. Prof Schwarz has also recently (2018) been included in the Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data’s top 25 “Emerging Investigators” in chemical thermodynamics.

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

  • C1 NRF rating, 2016
  • 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 62 publications in international peer-reviewed journals, an h-index of 14, according to Scopus, and her publications have been cited over 500 times. She has attended 24 national and international conferences where she has contributed to 100 publications, 5 of which were keynote or invited lectures.

Prof. Schwarz has successfully supervised/co-supervised 4 PhD and 11 Masters students and is currently supervising/co-supervising 6 PhD and 6 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

A list of her published works can be found on her Google Scholar profile.


Chemical Engineering 317 (Chemical Thermodynamics)