Chemical engineering is a branch of engineering that uses principles of chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, and economics to efficiently use, produce, design, transport and transform energy and materials. The work of chemical engineers can range from the utilisation of nano-technology and nano-materials in the laboratory to large-scale industrial processes that convert chemicals, raw materials, living cells, microorganisms, and energy into useful forms and products.
Chemical engineers are involved in many aspects of plant design and operation, including safety and hazard assessments, process design and analysis, modelling, control engineering, chemical reaction engineering, nuclear engineering, biological engineering, construction specification, and operating instructions. Practising engineers may have professional certification and be accredited members of a professional body. Such bodies include the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) or the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). A degree in chemical engineering is directly linked with all of the other engineering disciplines, to various extents.
Can there be a study that explains all that happen around us? If you are looking for an answer to this question, then this where you would find one. Chemical Engineering is the branch of engineering that uses the principles of physics, chemistry, mathematics and economy to enhance the efficiency of industrial production, transportation, performance chemicals which play an integral role in consumer industries. Thus by the definition, it is made clear that this branch of engineering is a blend of various sciences and concepts. Most people associate chemical engineering with chemistry and equations, however it is not restricted to purely chemistry. It is a way by which chemistry makes our lives more liveable.
So what do Chemical engineers do? Down the lane, imagine yourself as a chemical engineer working in an EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) and the firm is on the process of setting up a new plant. The initial work begins based on the laboratory results and kinetic studies. The next scene is occupied by chemical engineers who perform a Business Opportunity Plan which is an economic analysis on the project, which determines the fruitfulness of the efforts. Later they play the role of performing mass and energy balance calculations, scaling up the results of lab scale production to an industrial scale etc. Following these they also perform design calculations for each and every equipment, columns and vessels that are to be used in the process. Shortly speaking, a Chemical Engineer lays the foundation for any process plant. So what happens after a plant gets started? The role of a chemical engineer does not end with start-up of a plant alone. The chemical engineers also play a major In-field role as Process control Engineers, up in the Control room, where they monitor critical process parameters with the knowledge of Process Control and Dynamics. So Chemical Engineering is one course wherein you get experienced in fields of Mechanical, Electrical, Instrumentation and much more.
For those who prefer to continue up the ladder on academics, an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineer opens up an avenue of opportunities in higher studies too! You can pursue Masters in Petroleum field, the highest paying industry on which world depends for majority energy needs. You can pursue Masters in Safety Engineering, which is of high value when it comes to inspection of factories and production plants. As this is an era where every production firms are giving increased importance towards safety, a safety engineer would not be a bad choice for them to hire. Or you can do Masters in Environmental Engineering. Thinking it’s off the main stream? No, having a UG degree in Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Environmental Engineering, is much appreciated when you aim for a role in environmental regulation and enforcement. You can always do Masters in Chemical Engineering and get more of technical expertise. The path forward would be getting a high ranked job profile in any of a chemical industry or doing a doctorate in your field of interest. How many plan to go for Business schools? Having a Chemical Engineering Degree and an MBA can get you into administrative areas of an industry where in you can grow up as an administrator or a People leader. You can always go further forward to pursue Ph.D and become researchers in the field of chemical engineering.
Some of the areas where chemical engineering students can do their specialization in their master’s and doctorate includes chemical engineering, Pharmaceuticals, Petroleum, Biomedical, Food, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Textiles, Environment, Business, Safety, Energy, Petrochemical & Polymers, Semiconductors, Designing, Catalysis, product design, Bioenergy, Optical Fibers.
Being one of the four core traditional branches of engineering along with civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, chemical engineering is considered to be an evergreen stream. The opportunities are endless for a chemical engineer and our graduates have taken diverse career paths.
Traditionally chemical engineers have been going to work in oil and gas, basic or specialty chemicals, pharmaceutical industries and FMCG production companies. They may start as process development, or production engineers, and later progress and even rise to occupy key positions such as project heads and HODs in prestigious institutions.
So, in brief what are the reasons to study chemical engineering?
- Pathway Team,
Department of Chemical Engineering.