Robert M. Scates

Principal Consultant / Ph.D. / Houston


Dr. Scates is a graduate of the University of Houston, with a doctorate in Chemical Engineering. He has over 20 years experience in industrial and consulting assignments in the chemical, petrochemical, refining and nuclear industries. His background includes plant engineering and design, economics, construction, and operations, accident analysis and prevention, research and development, environmental evaluations, and environmental and industrial safety regulations.

Dr. Scates' areas of expertise include reaction engineering, particularly in catalyzed systems; reactor, distillation column, heat transfer, and separations equipment design; process technology assessment and selection; process economic analysis and equipment costing; project scheduling, construction, and start-up; process operations support including equipment assessment and improvement and debottlenecking, and process safety assessments for new and existing facilities including audits and accident root cause analysis. His experience includes research and process/product development in laboratory, pilot plant, and industrial-scale operations.

Dr. Scates has performed research, modeled, and reported on the fate-and-transport of chemicals in the environment including measuring and estimating emissions from chemical plants, predicting their fate-and-transport in the environment via air, surface water and groundwater pathways, and estimating their impacts on the surrounding community.

Representative Engagements

  • Litigation support
    • Designated expert for fate and transport of chemicals in the environment including workplace exposure and off-site impact determinations, using, among other tools, air dispersion modeling for incidents of accidental releases and fires
    • Designated expert for product liability involving product chemical composition
    • Designated expert for chemical process standard of care
  • Property assessments
    • Sampling of interior and exterior air, soil, water, and household dust for chemical content
  • Chemical process analysis
    • Reactor operation and safety assessment
    • Monomer storage safety assessment
    • Heat exchanger failure analysis
    • Post-accident equipment assessment


  • B.S., Chemical Engineering - Texas A&M University
  • Ph.D. Chemical Engineering - University of Houston