Shubham Agrawal

Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering
Degree pursuing: PhD in energy, environmental & chemical engineering

Where did you complete your undergraduate degree?
Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India

Please provide your lab and description of research.
I am a final-year PhD student from The BAI Lab. In broad sense, I am investigating the fundamental mechanism of charge and discharge of the lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). The electrodes used in LIBs are porous and made up of billions of particles.

We expect all the particles to react simultaneously, but in reality, there is a high non-uniform distribution of charge within these particles. There is only a limited area "active" at any instant in the entire electrode. We can actually see the color changes in graphite electrodes to understand this non-uniformity. My research focuses on building simple setups to view the real-time charge distribution of charge within LIB electrodes and develop mathematical models to understand the governing fundamental mechanisms.

What played into your decision to get a graduate engineering degree?
I was always curious about the field of advanced energy storage technologies. I wanted to learn and contribute to this field. A graduate degree enables me to achieve my passion toward this field.

Why did you pick WashU?
The Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering at WashU is world-renowned, with the latest research in the hottest topics. The advanced instruments available at WashU increased my interest. WashU also has a great infrastructure and facilities, which made my decision of coming here, easier.

What was your favorite course and why?
My favorite course was EECE 574: Electrochemical Engineering. The most interesting part about the course for me was that it focused on the basics of electrochemistry and its application to practical systems.

Who is your favorite instructor and why?
My favorite instructor is Dr. Jay Ponder from the Department of Chemistry. His ability to explain complicated stuff in simple terms surprises me the most. He has vast knowledge ranging from the history of his field to the current research. He is easily approachable and is very flexible with his students.

What advice would you give to a new student?
A graduate degree is a journey. If you develop a mindset to learn new things every day, you will enjoy the journey and have great achievements in life.

What is your favorite thing about St. Louis?
St. Louis is a city with a variety. We can experience a lively environment as well as quiet, peaceful getaways very easily.

What campus activities or groups would you recommend to a new student?
Definitely avail the WashU rec center, which has the latest equipment and a heated swimming pool.

What are your plans for the future?
I would like to do industrial research working on the latest aspects of rechargeable batteries. In the long term, I would like to have my own start-up in the batteries field.