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2012 Annual Meeting; President’s Corner; Divisions and Forums Present Honors; Election Results; Member News; Calendar
Cynthia F. Mascone
On the first day of our visit to Walt Disney World, my then-seven-year-old son got lost in the Magic Kingdom. Luckily, he was somewhere on Tom Sawyer Island, so our search area was limited. On the second day, he wandered off in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids attraction (also an enclosed space, thankfully). Those experiences gave me an idea for what I called Kid LoJack — a biocompatible microchip that parents could inject under a baby’s skin, and later activate to locate the child if he or she got lost or kidnapped (or stayed out past curfew). I’ve often wondered — civil liberties issues aside — whether I could have patented such a device.
This year’s Pharmaceutical Process Analysis Roundtable (PPAR) met in late September at the Lilly Technology Center in Indianapolis, IN — marking the event’s return to its roots. The first PPAR gathering, held there in the fall of 2000, was a spin-...
Shien-Chang Chen, Yu-Chen Hu
Since World War II, Taiwan’s chemical industry and economy have escalated dramatically. Self-sufficient in many areas, today Taiwan still faces the challenges imposed by government technical initiatives, international trade policies and regulations...
Magic Act: Electronics Disappear into their Surroundings; New Material Boasts World-Record Efficiency; Brain Cancer Studies Point to a Bio-Based Route to Nylon; Nickel Misbehaves in Li-ion Batteries, Solar Energy Gets Mixed Up
Martha Gilchrist Moore
The terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, changed the world and forever altered the way American chemistry conducts business. While improving facility security is not a new endeavor for chemical companies, the industry has increased...
Richard P. Palluzi, P.E.
Heat tracing a pilot plant is a difficult task, but with proper design and careful installation, the tracing system can operate safely and effectively.
Organic solar cells offer several advantages over their inorganic cousins. They are amenable to solution-based processing, such as inkjet or roll-to-roll printing, which have lower capital and manufacturing costs. In addition, organic materials can...
Daniel R. Summers, P.E., Mark Pilling, P.E.
Optimizing distillation equipment and processes can improve both the profitability and the greenness of an operation.
Min Kyung Kim , Sang Yup Lee, Si Jae Park
The use of PLA has been hindered by its complex and expensive synthesis process. A new technology promises to change this — giving PLA a chance to compete with fossil-based plastics.
Gregory T. Benz, P.E.
Agitator power consumption can be minimized by judicious equipment selection and careful operating procedures. Follow these guidelines to reduce your plant’s energy costs. In some cases, it may be as simple as flipping a switch.
We are finishing our celebration of 10 years of the Process Safety Beacon with a “Find-the-Problem” contest.
M. Henry Heines
Laboratory notebooks and provisional patent applications can be valuable components of an engineer’s patenting strategy if they are well-prepared, appropriately managed, and diligently followed up with a nonprovisional patent application.
John F. Murphy, P.E.
Layer of protection analysis (LOPA) is a simplified process risk-assessment technique that uses order-of-magnitude estimates for initiating events, consequence severity, and likelihood of failure of independent protection layers (IPLs) to approximate the risk of a scenario. It is generally used after a process hazard analysis (PHA) team has identified a hazard scenario that requires further analysis to ensure the adequacy of the safeguards that exist or are being proposed.
The ubiquity of digital and server-stored file formats has brought about increased interest in ensuring that creative works conceived today will be preserved, digitally, forever. Chemical engineers play an important role in preserving this in DNA...
The discrete element method (DEM) models the behavior of individual particles to provide insight into the behavior of the bulk material.
More than five years ago, Congress enacted the most robust and comprehensive chemical security regulatory program to date. The regulation — the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) — protects facilities against attack without impairing...
Squid and Zebraﬁsh Inspire Color-Changing Technology; High-Power X-Rays Uncover Molecular Structures; Solar Materials with a Twist; and more.
Wireless instrumentation has not taken off in the chemical process industries (CPI), despite its availability since 2003 and its advantages over the wired alternatives. This is not to say that these devices are not used. In fact, thousands of...
Piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), process flow diagrams (PFDs), and block flow diagrams (BFDs) are essential tools for documenting processes and promoting interdisciplinary understanding and communication.
Axel H. Leimer, Nathalie Mougin, Lin Römer, Ute Slotta
E. coli can be genetically engineered to mimic the complex natural process by which a spider makes the proteins that it uses to spin the fibers for its web. With additional processing, fibers with properties similar to those of natural spider silk...
A filter on the suction of a pump frequently plugged. Because of this, the pressure needed to be monitored, both in the field and at the control panel. To minimize installation time for a pressure transmitter, it was decided to install a tap on the...
Frank Bates is Named 64th Institute Lecturer; Papoutsakis will Present Bailey Award Lecture at Annual Meeting; Member News; Calendars
Centrifugation is a necessary step in many pharmaceutical and chemical production processes. These guidelines will help chemical engineers better understand the process of centrifuge selection.
The December 2011 Beacon described an incident where a missing plug on a vent line resulted in a flammable material leak that caught fire, causing a fatality. That incident reminded us of the importance of caps and plugs on process vent lines and...
Cynthia F. Mascone
I love soaking up nature — whether I’m hiking over the red rocks of Sedona, strolling along Jones Beach as the waves of the Atlantic Ocean roll in, taking shelter indoors as an angry thunderstorm rages outside, stargazing miles from the nearest town … or just sitting on my porch watching the grass in my tiny New York City yard grow. Whatever the activity, I continue to be amazed at the awesomeness of the world we live in. Yet I wonder what the planet will be like for our children. Will nature still be as wonderful for them as it is for me?
Books Include: Guidelines for Engineering Design for Process Safety, 2nd Edition Capitalizing on Nature: Ecosystems as Natural Assets Pipe Flow: A Practical and Comprehensive Guide
D. Bhopatkar, O.H. Campanella, P.H.S. Santos
Experimental and analytical tools combined with computational studies can be used to design new bio-based materials tailored for specific applications.
Workstyles — and the workspaces in which they play out — are evolving. Twenty years ago, offices were often spacious cubicle-villes — ample enough to accommodate bulky office equipment and filing cabinets, and sufficiently roomy for a captive staff...
All-Weather Material Emits Near-IR Light; Graphene Gets Selective; Shock Treatment Creates Nanoporous Materials; Bacteria are Engineered to Eat Cellulose and Produce Liquid Fuels; and more.
New Electrolyte Brightens Future for Affordable Solar Power; The Positive Side of Redox Chemistry; Biofuel Process Touts Economic Feasibility; and more.
At the interface between the chemical and biological sciences and engineering and product development, engineers generally must consider several factors in the design and optimization of chemical synthesis processes, including transport behavior,...
Unlike almost every other artifact produced by modern industrial society — such as automobiles, aircraft, and electronic devices — the design, construction, and operation of buildings is still highly fragmented and comparatively unsophisticated...
Li Guo, Zhouzhou Li, Jinghai Li, Xinhua Liu, Bona Lu, Fanxiao Meng, Zhaojie Xia, Mingkun Zhao
Advances in physical modeling and computational science will revolutionize the way engineers develop and design new technologies and processes.
New Battery Takes Charge of its Power; Nanomaterial Reversibly Stores Hydrogen; Nanoparticles Sneak Past the Brain’s Armor ; and more
New Bandage Spurs Blood Vessel Growth; Biomass-to-Chemicals Technology Receives U.S. Patent; Zeolite Boosts Aromatics Yield from Biomass; EPA Publishes the First GHG Emissions Tally; and more.
Cyntha F. Mascone
Last month in this space, I wrote about some of the sustainability activities underway in and around Grand Canyon National Park, and how my vacation there got me thinking about AIChE’s sustainability efforts. The most recent initiative is the...
In his classical essay on polity, The Republic, Plato posits a breed of philosopher-kings who — ruling with wisdom, sagacity, and foresight — bring the blessings of perfect government to the citizenry. Although modern governments have not achieved...
ScaleUp is a program launched in 2007 to strengthen connections between industry and chemical engineering students. Through corporate sponsorships, ScaleUp offers free AIChE membership to over 15,000 chemical engineering students at over 160 U.S...
A frequent comment from workers is, “What can I do to improve the safety of our processes? I am just the operator (or technician, mechanic, etc.). I just turn valves, operate the equipment, take samples, turn wrenches, adjust the equipment.” It is...
Slippery Surface Is Too Slick for Bacterial Films; New Materials Put the Brakes on Infection; ITO Flexes Its Muscles; Control Wrinkles with this Simple Method; and more
Cynthia F. Mascone
If you saw my last two editorials, you probably noticed the sustainability theme — “On the Path to Sustainability” in July, and “AIChE’s Path to Sustainability” in August. Through our work as chemical engineers, we have the potential to make significant positive impacts on sustainability. There’s also much we can do as individuals.
Blogs have come a long way since their first appearance in the late 1990s, when they were little more than online diaries. Today, people are just as likely to turn to blogs (Internet shorthand for “Web log”) as to newspapers or magazines for information and news.
Richard L. Shilling, P.E.
A tube insert modifies flow stream characteristics to enhance heat transfer. Here’s how to choose the optimal insert to meet process requirements.
Learn about the latest MathCAD release and how it enhances computational power, integrated software that facilitates refinery development, software that identifies safe operating limits, and much more.
T. Kevin Swift
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has launched a new set of indexes covering nearly 30 segments of the U.S. specialty chemicals market. (The first, which dealt with plastic additives, was discussed in the July issue, p. 13.) This is the first set...
M. Henry Heines
Patents, trade secrets, trademarks, and copyrights are an important part of any company's business strategy.
Richard W. Prugh, P.E., CSP
Understand the corrosivity hazards of acids and caustics, and follow these guidelines to manage those hazards through inherently safer design, engineering and administrative controls, and personal protective equipment.
The microelectronics industry has been revolutionized by technologies that boast ever-increasing capabilities in increasingly smaller areas. Now, the ability to pack high functionality into smaller devices is poised to transform the chemical process...
Miriam Cortes Caminero
Just in case you haven’t noticed, a new wave of biotechnology is underway. Over the last three decades, we have seen biological technologies used in therapeutics and agriculture. More recently, we have seen the use of biotechnology for industrial purposes.
Sujata K. Bhatia, M.D., P.E.
A new class of implantable medical materials — constructed from naturally derived and renewably sourced polymers — is poised to transform clinical medicine.
As the winner of a February 2012 episode of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, Winnette McIntosh Ambrose, a National Institute of Health scientist specializing in vision research, demonstrated that inspired chemical engineers can succeed in any realm — when they bring the right ingredients to the mix.