How long does a U.S. utility patent remain in force? If asked this question, many might say 20 years. This is not correct, however. The term of a patent is the period of time extending from the issue date of the patent to 20 years from the date on...
A Chemical Engineering Fountain of Youth: New Material Renews Skin Many skincare lotions and serums promise to restore youthful skin. Now chemical engineers say rather than trying to use a serum or lotion to turn back the hands of time, a “second...
As a biochemical engineer with over two decades of experience, an AIChE board member, and a Coast-Guard-licensed tall-ship captain, Gregory Frank has a deep appreciation of teamwork and the importance of being open to the perspectives and insights...
Over the past decade, the pharmaceutical industry has experienced several important changes in its business environment that are driving efforts to reduce overall cost while improving process understanding and product quality without the traditional...
Plant synthetic biology is an emerging field that combines engineering principles with plant biology to develop technologies for bioengineering plants. Plant bioengineers are responsible for the emergence of new technologies related to medical...
Are you considering changing jobs? You may think that with an updated resumé and rehearsed answers to standard questions such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” you are ready to interview for that next opportunity. Not so fast. Today,...
Multivariable processes are controlled by a hierarchical structure of control layers. Field devices and regulatory controls manage individual variables, while advanced process control and production control systems coordinate multiple variables to optimize operation.
Malonates, including malonic acid and its dimethyl and diethyl esters, are specialty chemicals used in flavors and fragrances, pharmaceuticals, adhesives, and electronics manufacturing. Although malonates have a range of beneficial properties,...
A look at the news gives an idea of what’s happening in bioprocessing around the world. Here, bio-based projects reported between October 2013 and October 2015 are sliced, diced, and brought to you in the form of numbers.
Summer vacation season is here! Will you be taking a vacation this year? According to a survey conducted by Skift, a travel industry intelligence platform, 40% of Americans did not take a single day of vacation in 2015.
Product Focus: Instrumentation Thermal Calibrator Works in the Field or in the Lab The PIEcal Model 525B is an automated calibrator for industrial temperature sensors that accommodates resistance temperature detectors (RTDs) and thermocouples with...
Chemical engineers continue to earn more than the average U.S. worker. The median salary of survey respondents is $127,000 — a 5.8% increase over the median reported in 2013. This is an expanded version of an article that appeared in the June 2015 issue of Chemical Engineering Progress.
Nigeria is a nation endowed with abundant natural resources and engineering talent. Current policy and reforms in the downstream and natural gas sectors are expected to boost Nigeria’s economy and restore growth and vibrancy to its chemical process industries.
Catalytic oxidation and catalytic reduction control emissions by chemically transforming pollutants. Learn what equipment is available and how it works to treat exhaust streams from stationary sources.
The article “How Well Are We Preparing ChE Students for Industry?” in the Update section of the April issue of CEP (pp. 4–5, 14–15) meshed with my career-long concern about engineering education. I graduated in 1968, with pride in my skills, from “a strong program” that “was about to break into the top ten,” as we were told. It was a good program in many ways, but after two years in industry, I came to realize the misdirected perspectives I had acquired as a student. After 13 years in industry and 28 in academia, I have concluded that neither the academic perception of excellence nor the tasks students are required to complete align with the perceptions and tasks that lead to success in industry.
For many of us, having to negotiate for anything can be akin to driving a notoriously congested, pothole-filled highway in rush-hour traffic. We know it is not for the inexperienced or faint-hearted and therefore approach it expecting the worst possible outcome.
Two years ago, AIChE’s biennial salary survey found that chemical engineers’ salaries had stagnated and raises were the lowest they had been in two decades. Fortunately, the situation appears to have turned around somewhat. The 2013 salary survey (...
Are you considering starting your own engineering consulting practice? One of my best career moves was leaving my corporate position to open my own consulting firm. Perhaps, like me, you were bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, or perhaps your current employer is downsizing and a severance package will provide you with the opportunity you have been waiting for — not to mention the cash reserves you need to get through your first year. Consulting may seem like a glamorous career, one in which you get to work when you want and make lots of money. Nothing could be further from the truth. You must be able to work without having the structure and accountability that being employed by someone else provides.
Our discussion of chemical engineering education began in the April issue, with the news story “How Well Are We Preparing ChE Students for Industry?” and my editorial, “Getting ChE Education Right.” This month, we look at education again, with two more articles. The April articles resonated with Russ Rhinehart, a professor at Oklahoma State Univ., and inspired him to write a letter to the editor, which became this issue’s Commentary, “Educating Students to Become Engineers” (pp. 14–15). By coincidence, the AIChE Journal Highlight, “A Broader Role for the Evolving Engineer” (p. 13), also focuses on education.
If the U.S. economy were a professional sports league, the chemicals industry would be a franchise player. A healthy economy needs a core of financially strong, internationally competitive industries making products that can be sold in any geographic market. These industries provide highly compensated employment opportunities, which in turn creates flourishing communities and intellectual capital potential. Improved production processes and higher-quality products do not develop in a vacuum, but rather in the context of solving day-to-day production problems. Without domestic manufacturing, these opportunities are lost. Franchise industries are also export machines. This last quality is vital to a healthy economy — chronic trade deficits are a harbinger of decline.
I find inspiration for my editorials in all sorts of places. This month’s topic came to me from a list of strange holidays, where I came across September 6, Fight Procrastination Day. You might expect this in the October issue, or later, given the...
Understand the electrostatic hazards of your process so you can limit the accumulation of charge and prevent static discharge in ﬂammable atmospheres. Select the appropriate combination of electrostatic mitigation measures to ensure safety from electrostatic ignition hazards.
One of the proudest moments of my early career was when I received a promotion from senior engineer to ﬁrst-line manager. It took about a week for the elation to wear off, as I began to realize how much responsibility I had for producing results...
Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety Highlights; AIChE’s 2014 Financial Statements; Your AIChE Membership — Leadership Opportunities; Diversity Workshop Sets Agenda for Summit at Annual Meeting
Conduct of operations can be summarized in two simple concepts: (1) Say what you intend to do (procedures). (2) Always do what you say. This means, for example, that if your operating procedures say to shut down if a critical safety parameter exceeds a specified value, you must always shut down.
“I see myself becoming the entrepreneurial chemical engineer,” says Christina Borgese, Director of Engineering and Development at PreProcess, Inc., a consulting company that she co-founded. Her company helps entrepreneurs commercialize their novel technologies by applying chemical engineering know-how and recruiting experts from around the world. “Creating new products, harboring new ideas — that excites me,” she says. “You never know who is calling next, or what new project you will be working on that nobody has ever done before.”
In the June AIChE Journal cover story, “Investment Optimization Model for Freshwater Acquisition and Wastewater Handling in Shale Gas Production,” Linlin Yang, Ignacio E. Grossmann, and Meagan Mauter of Carnegie Mellon Univ., and Robert Dilmore of the National Energy Technology Laboratory, discuss a new mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) model to optimize water use in the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. The objective of the model is to minimize the capital and operating costs and maximize profit.
The highly commoditized industrial gas sector relies on energy-intensive processes to produce, separate, and store industrial gases. The power required to compress gases accounts for up to 50% of the cost of the delivered gas. And, gas-separation adsorption units recover only a fraction of the feed product, necessitating processes with large waste or recycle streams. NuMat Technologies, an Illinois startup has developed synthetic adsorbent materials to address these challenges.
A Simple Approach to Separating Rare Earth Metals; A Bionic Device Mimics Natural Photosynthesis; Molecules Click into Biocompatible Hydrogels; Nature-Inspired Coating Wards Off Water and Light; and more
Chemical engineers are primarily known for their tech-nical expertise. While this engineering know-how has played a key role in developing technologies essential for modern society, it will not be enough to solve the increasingly complex challenges of today’s world. Solutions to these issues, including the development of safe and sustainable food and water supplies, economical alternative energies, and more-effective pharmaceuticals, will require a multidisciplinary approach that considers political, social, and economic constraints, as well as the obvious technical challenges.
From rigid boards, blocks, and sheets, to flexible blankets and foams, thermal insulation comes in a variety of forms as well as different materials. Here are some of the latest developments to help you choose the right insulation.
Any safety device can create a new hazard. Any change to equipment, even one intended to improve safety, can create new hazards or make other existing hazards more severe. This is particularly true if the safety device is not properly installed.
Energy is a very important factor in process automation. Improvements in energy efficiency gained through process automation played a key role in justifying the pioneering automation projects of the early 1960s and have grown in stature over the ensuing decades. Automation-enabled improvements in energy usage have made critical contributions to worldwide prosperity over the last 35–40 years.
One of the biggest hurdles to treating disease in developing countries is the lack of portable and cheap diagnostic instruments, such as microscopes. Manu Prakash, an assistant professor in the Dept. of Bioengineering at Stanford Univ., believes that frugal science is the key to enhancing global health and science education. Prakash is creating simple, economical tools to pique interest in science exploration and even perform field-testing for specific diseases, such as malaria. One such invention, the Foldscope, is a completely functional microscope that merges the principles of origami and optical design.
Advances in energy-storage devices are a must for the widespread use of electric and hybrid vehicles, the integration of renewable energy with the electric power grid, and the development of smaller, faster, more-powerful consumer electronics. While progress has been made, several challenges remain, including limitations of nonaqueous electrolytes, which have poor transport properties and are highly flammable. The answer to this challenge: A new class of higher-performance electr-olytes being developed by Boulder Ionics Corp. (BI) for longer-lived, safer batteries and ultracapacitors.
End users must specify certain performance requirements when requesting a quote for a new centrifugal compressor. Understand your process, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each centrifugal compressor configuration, in order to choose the optimal centrifugal compressor for your application.
Highlights from the Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety; Saudi Arabia Section Will Host an Expanded Middle East Process Technology Conference — Sept. 29 – Oct. 2, in Bahrain; Calendars.