Chemical Engineer and
◙ American Institute of
states that chemical engineers are responsible for the production of microchips
to potato chips. Chemical engineers are concerned with transforming raw
materials into valuable products by chemical, biochemical or physical processes.
These engineers work in industries like traditional chemical manufacturing, oil
and fuel, aerospace, environmental, food, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, design
and construction, energy industries, biotechnology, pulp and paper,
petrochemicals, food processing, specialty chemicals, microelectronics(chips),
electronic and advanced materials, biotechnology, plastic, rubber and coating,
environmental health(prevention and cleanup of pollution, water purification,
waste management) and safety industries. Other area of work are research,
teaching, sales, marketing and engineering management.
Chemical engineers are the
people who design, build and operate the processes that produce the materials of
modern society. As with all engineers we do this by using the tools of
engineering analysis to design processes even though there are limits to our
understanding of possibly key issues, while providing a solution that
meets the required constraints. Its incorporation of chemistry, and for may
people biology, gives chemical engineering the broadest academic base of all
fields of engineering and allows for contributions in many different fields.
Chemical engineer take
chemistry out of the lab and into the world Chemical engineers apply the
principles of chemistry, math, and physics to the design and operation of
large-scale chemical manufacturing processes. They translate processes developed
in the lab into practical applications for the production of products such as
plastics, medicines, detergents, and fuels; design plants to maximize
productivity and minimize costs; and evaluate plant operations for performance
and product quality.
◙ Chemical Engineering
the need to transform raw materials into useful products through chemical
reactions. The reactions where discovered by chemists starting in the
but by the end of the 1800’s,
there was a need to produce large quantities of an ever increasing number of
materials. The “scale-up” of a laboratory reaction (few grams) to a profitable
commercial process (106 grams) is usually not a matter of just making
bigger laboratory equipments (flasks, beaker and Bunsen burners). Chemical
engineers use the principles of engineering analysis and knowledge of
chemistry to design, build and operate processes that provide society with items
such as: petroleum products, fuels, toothpaste, low fat chips, paint, plastic
for athletic shoes or carpeting, insecticides, pharmaceuticals, computer chips,
The special role of
chemical engineers is their ability to analyze, design and operate processes
• Chemical (i.e.
• Physical (phase
(reactions inside cells) transformations of matter occur.
Chemical engineers must be
able to deal with matter from atomic up to process scales. This requires a
strong understanding of chemistry and the ability to apply physical laws over
very broad range of length scales.
Responsibilities range from research and design to development of
process-products, production, technical, sales, management, environmental
studies. Chemical engineers are employed by almost all companies in the chemical
process industry. Their work also extends to processes in nuclear energy,
material science, food production, the development of new sources of energy, and
even medicine. Chemical engineers work in a variety of settings, such as
research, design, process control, sales, economic analysis, and management.
Petroleum refineries and the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and service
industries also employ them.
Chemical engineering is a
problem-solving profession and expected to answer the question “how” more than
any other. Chemical engineers translate the discoveries chemists make into
real-world products. If a chemist invents a better fertilizer, for example, a
chemical engineer might design the method to make mass production of that
fertilizer possible. Chemical engineers work with chemists to create efficient,
safe and cost-effective methods of reproducing valuable items. Good chemical
engineers are always trying to refine their process and product, improve them,
and make them safer and more efficient.
The most difficult thing
about becoming a chemical engineer is adapting theoretical knowledge to a
practical discipline. Many engineers find it helpful to attend professional
seminars and subscribe to publications. Others enjoy the support of professional
organizations. Employers view chemical engineering as a practical discipline and
look for experience in production, manufacturing, or management.
Of the Big four
engineering fields, chemical engineers compose the smallest group Chemical
engineers have played integral parts in producing the atom bomb, inventing
plastic and creating artificial organs. They spend much of their time
identifying substances' chemical and physical properties, researching new
products and ensuring equipment operates correctly. Chemical engineers must have
a thorough understanding of chemistry, including chemistry techniques, chemical
synthesis and laboratory testing.
Chemical engineering is
broader in scope than the other branches of engineering because it draws on the
three main engineering foundations: math, physics, and chemistry-whereas the
other branches are based on only the first two. Chemist synthesize a small
amount of a material-and chemical scale it up to making several hundred tons per
day. This process includes determining how to separate the desired product from
its impurities. Chemical engineer focus on kinetics more, and is concerned with
things such as fluid flow and heat transfer on a large scale-things that you
don’t necessarily have to worry about with smaller reactions in beakers.
Chemical engineer design equipments that will accommodate these concerns.
Once processes and
equipment are designed, chemical engineers remain on hand at a production
facility to solve problems that occur as the processes continue. When changes
occur that upset a running system, chemical engineers analyze samples from the
system, looking at parameters such as temperatures, pressures, and flow rates to
determine where the problem exists. They also work on expanding projects,
evaluating new equipment, and improving existing equipment and processes.
Meeting safety, health, and environmental regulations is also a large part of a
chemical engineers work life.
typically work in manufacturing plants, research laboratories, or pilot plant
facilities. They work around large-scale production equipment that is housed
both indoors and outdoors. Often they are required to wear safety protective
equipment, such as hard hats, goggles, and steel-toe shoes. Workdays may involve
of moving from place to place within a facility.
A strong interest in
chemistry, math, and physics is vital to success in this field because chemical
engineering draws on all three disciplines. Chemical engineers are trained to
apply lab processes to large-scale production, monitor processes, and understand
highly technical material. As a result, thinking analytically, solving problems,
and being creative are essential. Because projects often involve complex
processes and problems that require teamwork and the preparation of reports,
good interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills are highly desirable.
Chemical engineers say that although they learn a lot of theory in the
classroom, most of their knowledge of real-world applications is derived from
The work of a chemical
engineer is typically on a much larger scale than that of a chemist. For
instance, chemical engineers tend to deal with problems in huge facilities such
as industrial plants, while chemists tend to work at the bench or laboratory
scale. Chemical engineers are involved at all stages of manufacturing from the
design and construction of processes and equipment to the daily production of
products, the maintenance of facilities, research on new products and perfecting
or enhancement of processes.
The first one and half
year of four-year program are dedicated to building a strong foundation in
chemistry, physics and mathematics. Also the courses in chemical processes as
well as computer programming, economics and production management are offered.
In final two and half years mainly chemical engineering courses like fluid flow,
heat transfer, mass transfer, chemical engineering thermodynamics, chemical
reaction engineering, process control, transport phenomena and computer-aided
design and optimization are covered. Students can choose a number of elective
courses in advanced specialty topics. For Examples: (1) Environmental
Engineering Option: Specializing in environmental engineering through structured
optional courses helps not only design better pollution reduction facilities,
but also create chemical processes that have less impact on the environment. New
environmental friendly industrial processes are the way of the future and
students become well prepared to face the challenges. (2)
Combined Chemical Engineering/Biochemistry program in Biotechnology :
Biotechnology includes the industrial application of genetic engineering; the
production of industrially or medically valuable substances by cell culture or
microbial fermentation, and food processing by biochemical techniques. Other
options include polymer and petrochemical processing.
The demand for chemical
engineers tends to be quite stable. Given the key role chemical engineers play
in the energy industry, the food industry and in environmental fields, for
instance, they can expect the need for their expertise to continue for many
years to come.
Institute of Chemical Engineers(AIChE) has identified the ten most outstanding
achievements of chemical engineering as being:
1. Production of fissionable
2. Production of synthetic
3. Production of
4. Production of chemical
production of antibiotics,
6. Establishment of the
7. Establishment of the
synthetic fibers industry
8. Establishment of the
synthetic rubber industry,
9. Development of high-octane
10. Electrolytic production of
Summary : Chemical
engineers are the people who design, build and operate the processes that
produce the materials of modern society. As with all engineers we do this by
using the tools of engineering analysis to design processes even though there
are limits to our understanding of possibly key issues, while providing a
solution that meets the required constraints. Incorporation of chemistry,
and for may people biology, gives chemical engineering the broadest academic
base of all fields of engineering and allows for contributions in many different
fields. Chemical engineers typically are people who have a strong interest and
ability in chemistry and mathematics and curiosity into the chemical workings of
" To define it
rudely but not inappropriately, engineering is the art of doing that well with
one dollar which any bungler can do with two dollars."
Arthur M. Wellington
complex technology is indistinguishable from magic
Shell Development Co.)