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Chemical engineering

Chemical engineering

Branch of science that applies physical sciences and life sciences together with applied mathematics and economics to produce, transform, transport, and properly use chemicals, materials and energy

What is chemical engineering?

Chemical engineering involves the production and manufacturing of products through chemical processes. This includes designing equipment, systems, and processes for refining raw materials and for mixing, compounding, and processing chemicals.

Chemical engineers translate processes developed in the lab into practical applications for the commercial production of products, and then work to maintain and improve those processes. They rely on the main foundations of engineering: math, physics, and chemistry. Biology also plays an increasingly important role.

What do chemical engineers do?

Broadly, chemical engineers conceive and design processes involved in chemical manufacturing. The main role of chemical engineers is to design and troubleshoot processes for the production of chemicals, fuels, foods, pharmaceuticals, and biologicals, to name just a few. They are most often employed by large-scale manufacturing plants to maximize productivity and product quality while minimizing costs.

Chemical engineers affect the production of almost every article manufactured on an industrial scale. Some typical tasks include:

  • Ensuring compliance with health, safety, and environmental regulations
  • Conducting research into improved manufacturing processes
  • Designing and planning equipment layout
  • Incorporating safety procedures for working with dangerous chemicals
  • Monitoring and optimizing the performance of production processes
  • Estimating production costs
  • Chemical engineers who work in business and management offices often visit research and production facilities. Interaction with other people and team collaboration are critical to the success of projects involving chemical engineering.

Chemical engineers 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. Accordingly, they are often required to wear personal protective equipment (e.g., hard hats, goggles, and steel-toe shoes).

Where is chemical engineering used?

Chemical engineering is most often found in large-scale manufacturing plants, where the goal is to maximize productivity and product quality while minimizing costs. The aerospace, automotive, biomedical, electronic, environmental, medical, and military industries use chemical engineering to develop and improve their technical products, such as:

  • Ultrastrong fibers, fabrics, and adhesives for vehicles
  • Biocompatible materials for implants and prosthetics
  • Films for optoelectronic devices

Timeline

Further Resources

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News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Science X staff
August 30, 2021
phys.org
Would you wear clothing made of muscle fibers? Use them to tie your shoes or even wear them as a belt? It may sound a bit odd, but if those fibers could endure more energy before breaking than cotton, silk, nylon, or even Kevlar, then why not?
Science X staff
August 23, 2021
phys.org
In a finding that could help pave the way toward cleaner fuels and a more sustainable chemical industry, researchers at the University of Michigan have used machine learning to predict how the compositions of metal alloys and metal oxides affect their electronic structures.
Lsu College Of Engineering
August 19, 2021
phys.org
The LSU Cain Department of Chemical Engineering recently completed a journey of several years with the installation of its new distillation columns. The towering structure consumes two floors of Patrick F. Taylor Hall and offers students the opportunity to work on a true commercial analog of the same equipment they will be expected to operate when they enter the workforce as chemical engineers.
Brandie Jefferson
July 21, 2021
phys.org
Spider silk is said to be one of the strongest, toughest materials on the Earth. Now engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have designed amyloid silk hybrid proteins and produced them in engineered bacteria. The resulting fibers are stronger and tougher than some natural spider silks.
July 8, 2021
BioSpace
PlateletBio Names Derek Adams, Ph.D., as Chief Operating Officer - read this article along with other careers information, tips and advice on BioSpace
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References

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