What Is Chemical Engineering?

Chemical engineering examines methods to develop, manufacture, and utilize chemical and biochemical products. Chemical engineers research chemical combinations with the goal of finding new uses and products for chemical raw materials. Almost every manufacturing industry employs chemical engineers. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Overview

Chemical engineering begins with understanding of the basic processes involved in chemical and biological transformations. Such processes are involved in the manufacturing of chemicals, electronics, food processing, pharmaceuticals, biotechnologies, and other industries. Chemical engineering requires an understanding of chemical reaction mechanisms and the laws and principles of thermodynamics, including the thermodynamic properties of mixtures and phase changes. The field requires analysis and the ability to perform chemical extraction, stripping, distillation, and absorption.

Kinetic and Mechanical Processes

Chemical engineering also requires knowledge of chemical reaction kinetics, including the properties and mechanisms of catalysts and fluid dynamics. The study of fluid mechanics covers macroscopic mass, momentum, and energy balances, along with the dimensional analysis of friction and drag coefficients. Chemical engineers also study polymerization mechanisms, the polymerization process, and the mechanical properties and flow behavior of polymers.

Technology and Use

Chemical engineering can be applied to many different areas of sciences, including sustainability and sustainable development, natural resources and their utilization, industrial ecology, global warming, eco-efficiency, and risk assessment. It can also be applied to transport phenomena in living systems, including the lung, microcirculation, the cornea, and blood.

Biochemical Engineering

Within chemical engineering, biochemical engineering is also used to understand the behavior and properties of pharmaceuticals, drug delivery systems, and other biotechnology products, such as advanced sutures or blood replacement products. The discipline covers the life sciences, microbiology, modern genetics, metabolic stoichiometry, energetics, bioreactors, product recovery, and growth kinetics.

Industries and Applications

Chemical engineers can work in a variety of different areas, including producing chemicals, manufacturing chemical-based products, dealing with by-products, and supervising production. They may work in industries manufacturing chemical products, such as petrochemicals, agrochemicals, ceramics, fuels, plastics, glass, ink sealants, adhesives, paints, detergents, explosives, oleochemicals, wood processing, and environmental technology. They may also work in industries, such as clothing, electronics, food, energy, and paper, which utilize suitable chemicals.

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