Vibha Kalra

Vibha Kalra

Fred H. Rhodes Professor of Chemical Engineering
Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
256 Olin Hall


Dr. Vibha Kalra is Fred H. Rhodes Professor in the Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell University. She also serves as an editor of Chemical Engineering Science journal, since 2013. Prior to joining Cornell University in January 2024, Kalra was George B. Francis Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Drexel University, where she started as an assistant professor in 2010. Kalra received her BS from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, India in 2004 and PhD from Cornell University in 2009, both in Chemical Engineering. Her research group combines material assembly & characterization, study of fundamental electrochemical behavior, in-situ spectro-electrochemistry, and device assembly and testing to develop energy storage devices, including next-generation batteries and supercapacitors. She has published over 65 peer-reviewed journal articles and has 13 pending/issued patents in the field of energy storage. Kalra is a recipient of several awards including the NSF CAREER award (2012), ONR summer faculty fellowship award (2013), AIChE DVS Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award (2015), CBE Outstanding Service Award (2018), College of Engineering Outstanding Research Award, both at assistant professor level (2015) and at mid-career level (2020)), Provost Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Research Achievement (2020), and the COE Outstanding Innovation Award (2021). Kalra was also selected as a fellow of the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering and Science (ELATES) program in 2022-23.

Research Interests

In our group, we combine fundamental discoveries in material assembly, morphology and chemistry with electrochemistry and in-operando spectroscopy to develop efficient energy storage devices, particularly next generation batteries such as Li/Na/K-S, solid-state batteries, and anode-less battery designs. Our specific areas of interest include:

- Design of novel electrode materials and electrolyte additives to enhance the physical and chemical phenomena relevant for batteries. 

- Advanced manufacturing (3D nano-printing). 

- In-operando and postmortem spectroscopy integrated with electrochemistry for deeper understanding of underlying mechanisms. 

- Full device testing and analysis at both coin cell (1 cm2) and pouch cell (25 cm2) level.  

Research Group Members

Teaching Interests

Vibha Kalra has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in transport phenomena (heat, mass, fluids), kinetics, and material and energy balances.

Selected Publications

Pereira, R., Sarode, K.K., Rafie, A., Fafarman, A., and Kalra, V. In-operando FTIR Study on the Redox Behavior of Sulfurized Polyacrylonitrile as Cathode Material for Li-S Batteries, 2023, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 127, 19356.

Rafie. A., Kalra, V. In-operando FTIR Study on the Effect of Sulfur Chain Length in Sulfur Copolymer-based Li-S Batteries, 2022, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 126, 30, 12327.

Rafie, A., Kim, J., and Kalra, V., A Review on the Use of Carbonate-based Electrolytes in Li-S Batteries: A Comprehensive Approach Enabling Solid-solid Direct Conversion Reaction, 2022, Energy Storage Materials, 50, 197, Invited Review Article.

Badr, H., El-Melegy, T., Carey, M. Natu, V., Kalra, V., Hu, Y-J., and Barsoum, M.W. Bottom-up, scalable synthesis of anatase nanofilament-based two-dimensional titanium carbo-oxide flakes, 2022, Materials Today, 54, 8.

Pai, R., Singh, A. and Kalra, V. Stabilization of Gamma Sulfur at Room Temperature to Enable the Use of Carbonate Electrolyte in Li-S batteries, 2022, Communications Chemistry, 5, 17. Selected for journal homepage and 5-year anniversary collection.

Pai,, R., Natu,V., Sokol, M., Carey, M., Barsoum, M.W., and Kalra, V. Tuning Functional 2D MXene Nanosheets to Enable Efficient Sulfur Utilization in High Loading Lithium-Sulfur Batteries, 2021, Cell Reports and Physical Sciences, 7, 100480.

Rafie, A.; Pai, R. and Kalra, V. Dual-Role Electrolyte Additive for Simultaneous Polysulfide Shuttle Inhibition And Redox Mediation In Sulfur Batteries, 2021, Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 9, 26976.

Natu, V., Pai, R., Sokol, M., Carey, M., Kalra, V., and Barsoum, M.W. 2D Ti3C2Tz MXene Synthesized by Water Free Etching of Ti3AlC2 in Polar Organic Solvents, Chem, 2020, 6, 616.

Singh, A., Rafie, A. and Kalra, V. Revisiting the Use of Electrolyte Additives in Li-S Batteries: Role of Porosity of Sulfur Host Materials, Sustainable Energy and Fuels, 2019, 3, 2788.

Dillard, C., Singh, A. and Kalra, V., Polysulfide Speciation and Electrolyte Interactions in Lithium-sulfur Batteries with In-situ Infrared Spectroelectrochemistry. Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2018, 122, 18195.

Chung, S-H., Singhal, R., Kalra, V. and Manthiram, A. Electrochemically Stable Rechargeable Lithium–Sulfur Batteries with a Microporous Carbon Nanofiber Filter for Polysulfide, Advanced Energy Materials 2015, 5, 1500738. Selected for Inside Cover.

Singhal, R., Chung, S-H., Manthiram, A. and Kalra, V. Free-standing Carbon Nanofiber Interlayer for High Performance Lithium-Sulfur Batteries. Journal of Materials Chemistry A 2015, 3, 4530.

Selected Awards and Honors

College of Engineering Outstanding Innovation Award, 2021

Provost Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Research Achievement, Drexel University, 2020

Outstanding Mid-Career Research Achievement Award, COE, Drexel University, 2020

Outstanding Service Award, CBE, Drexel University, 2018

AICHE DVS Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award, 2015

Outstanding Research Award for Assistant Professor, COE, Drexel University, 2015

Outstanding Research Award, CBE, Drexel University, 2014

Early Career Travel Grant, The Electrochemical Society, 2014

ONR Summer Faculty Fellowship Award, 2013

National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2012

Faculty Career Development Award, Drexel University, 2011

Austin Hooey Research Excellence Award, Cornell University, 2009


PhD, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell University, 2009

BS, Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, India, 2004

Research Group Members

Graduate Students

  • Subhadra Jamkar
    Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Jantakan Nedsaengtip
    Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering