Ronald J. Willey

Professor & Associate Chair,  Chemical Engineering


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  • 201C Cullinane
  • 617.373.3962

Research Focus

Process safety and catalysis (industrial)


Joined the Chemical Engineering Department in Fall 1983.

Prof. Willey interests centers on process safety and the integration of it into the education of chemical engineers. He is a contributor to the SACHE (Safety and Chemical Engineering Education) committee having provided over 10 teaching modules and case histories including the accident in Bhopal. He serves on a number of national committees including NFPA 45, Commonwealth Board of Registration of Engineers and Land Surveyors, and the NCEES fundamentals examination committee.


  • B.S. (Chemical Engineering) University of New Hampshire, 1974
  • Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering) University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1984

Professional Affiliations

  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Fellow

Research Overview

Process safety and catalysis (industrial)

Department Research Areas

Selected Publications

  • R.J. Willey, P.E., History Repeats Itself, Process Safety Progress, 39(1), 2020, e12138
  • R.J. Willey, P.E., T. Carter, J. Price, B. Zhang, Instruction of Hazard Analysis of Methods for Chemical Process Safety at the University Level, Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 63, 2020, 103961
  • R.J. Willey, P.E., Process Safety and a Virus, Process Safety Progress, 39(2), 2020, e12156
  • R.J. Willy, P.E., We Must Not be Complacent, Process Safety Progress, 38(2), 2020, e12056


Nov 02, 2020

Willey published in Processed Safety Progress

ChE Professor Ronald Willey published “The Nature of Ammonium Nitrate Decomposition and Explosions” in Process Safety Progress which focuses on a thermodynamic understanding of why ammonium nitrate is considered nonhazardous by some groups, and extremely hazardous by other groups.


Sep 10, 2020

Faculty and Staff Awards 2020

Congratulations to all the winners of the faculty and staff awards, and to everyone for their hard work and dedication during the 2019-2020 academic school year.

Student Groups

Nov 15, 2019

AIChE Members Attend National Conference and Place 14th in Chem-E-Car Competition

Twenty-one chemical engineering students attended the AIChE National Conference in Orlando, Florida, along with a number of their professors.

student group in spain at chemical plant


Aug 23, 2019

Dialogue of Civilizations: Process Safety Abroad in Spain

Twenty-one second-year chemical engineering students joined Professor Ronald J. Willey and Program Assistant Alexis Dubs (ChE’20) for a five-week study abroad experience in July and August 2019.  The dialog featured process safety as practiced abroad that included visits to Dow Chemical, BASF, and Clariant, chemical facilities located near Tarragona Spain.   The students also completed a […]


Aug 27, 2018

Willey Delivers Keynote Address at the 11th International Symposium on Safety Science and Technology

Ron Willey, Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, delivered the lead keynote presentation at the 11th International Symposium on Safety Science and Technology in Shanghai, China. Professor Willey presented results in paper entitled “Instruction of Hazard Analysis Methods for Chemical Process Safety at the University Level”.  Co-authors of this paper included […]


Oct 30, 2017

Willey Delivers Keynote Presentation at C-RISE3

Chemical Engineering Professor Ron Willey delivered a keynote presentation for the Third Workshop and Symposium on Safety and Integrity Management of Operations in Harsh Environments hosted by the Centre for Risk, Integrity and Safety Engineering (C-RISE) in St. John's, Newfoundland on October 18th. Willey's presentation for C-Rise3 is entitled, "Layers of Protection Analysis Combined with BowTie Analysis: […]


Apr 24, 2017

Research from ChemE Undergraduate Deb Pano Featured on the Cover of Process Safety Progress

Deb Pano is a 4th year Chemical Engineering student pursuing her BS and MS degrees concurrently. She first became interested in process safety after traveling on Professor Ron Willey’s Dialogue of Civilizations in Tarragona, Spain during the summer of 2015. During this trip, Professor Willey taught a course on process safety which included visits to […]


May 09, 2016

Chemical Engineering Announces Process Safety Graduate Certificate at Global Congress of Process Safety

The Department of Chemical Engineering announced their new graduate certificate in process safety engineering at this year’s Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS), which was held in Houston, TX.

Jul 29, 2014

Preparing Titania Nanotubes

ChE Professor Ron Willey was awarded a patent for his method of creating “Titania nanotubes prepared by anodization in chloride-containing electrolytes”.

Jan 25, 2013

Awarded for Health & Safety

Chemical Engineering Professor Ron Willey is the recipient of the Norton H. Walton/ Russell L. Miller Award in Safety/Loss Prevention which is the highest honor from the Safety and Health Division of AIChE. AIChE is the world's leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with over 45,000 members from over 100 countries. AIChE has the breadth […]

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