Read about new products and services in the areas of enviromnetal, health and safety; materials and chemicals; fluids and solids handling; and instrumentation.
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.
Gordon H. Hart
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.
Before you choose a pressure-measuring instrument, make sure that you fully understand the ins and outs of the manufacturer-provided data.
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.
Edelmira D. Gálvez, Luis A. Cisternas
With abundant mineral resources, Chile’s chemicals industries are dominated by mining, with many of its operations among the world’s most productive and important.
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.
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.
Bailey Underwood, Kristine Baranski
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.
R Russell Rhinehart
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.
Plastics with a Circulatory System for Regeneration; A Smart Hydrogel Never Overstays its Welcome; Nanoparticle Drugs Deliver 1-2-3 Punch; and more
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.
What a difference a few years can make! In mid-2005, I wrote a column (for another publication) entitled “The U.S. Chemicals Industry, R.I.P.” The situation got no better for the next few years, but starting toward the end of the last decade, based on improved extraction methods, U.S. natural gas production began to grow rapidly.
Sinewy Fibers Boast Strength and Toughness; Graphene Stacks Up to Bandgap Limitations; Squishy Material Toughens Up when Stressed; A Tiny Forest of Semiconductors Mimics Nature’s Photosynthesis; and more
In April 2004, an explosion and ﬁre at a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant killed ﬁve people and severely injured three others. The explosion and ﬁre destroyed most of the reactor building and an adjacent warehouse. Because smoke from the ﬁre drifted...
Chemical engineering salaries have increased over the past two years, reﬂecting an improved economy and job market for engineers. The median salary of survey respondents is $120,000 — a 9% increase over the median reported in 2011. This expanded version of the article that appeared in print in the June 2013 issue of CEP includes addittional information, tables, charts and more detail.
AIChE’s Equipment Testing Procedures Committee, Tray and Packed Columns Procedure Revision Subcommittee
Follow these guidelines to assess the capacity and efﬁciency of distillation columns containing trays or packing.
Last year marked the tenth anniversary of AIChE’s Young Professionals Advisory Board (YPAB) and its transformation into the Young Professionals Committee — which is tasked with engaging younger generations of AIChE members and leaders. Wendy Young...
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...
Emmanuel Dada, John Erinne, Oluwafem Taiwo
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.
James M. Sorokes
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.
Read about new products and services in the areas of instrumentation; fluids and solids handling; materials and chemicals; bioprocessing; and environmental, health, and safety.
Andrzej Stankiewicz, Tjeerd Jongsma
Marked by a culture of open innovation, the Dutch system of collaboration creates unique opportunities for advances in process technology.
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 (...
Chemical engineering salaries have remained stable over the last two years at a median of $110,000. Average starting salaries are nearly $66,900. This expanded version of the article that appeared in print provides the detailed survey results.
Stanislaw K. Wasylkiewicz
A tool called azeotrope pressure sensitivity analysis (APSA) can shed light on the dependence of an azeotrope's composition and temperature on changes in pressure.
Squid and Zebraﬁsh Inspire Color-Changing Technology; High-Power X-Rays Uncover Molecular Structures; Solar Materials with a Twist; and more.
Bruce K. Vaughen, James A. Klein
Built on a solid foundation of leadership support and employee involvement, an operational discipline program can help to prevent serious incidents and injuries, and improve overall site safety and business performance.
As China undergoes an industrial revolution, its once pristine lands are being choked by pollution from coal-fired plants. Spurred by the upcoming 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China is quickly cleaning the air. And, it has long-term plans to invest...
The recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan had a devastating impact on the people and industry of this economic and cultural giant. This article reflects on the emergence of Japan’s chemical industry in the half-century since World War II that led...
Calvin Cobb, Darlene Schuster, Beth Beloff and Dicksen Tanzil , Darlene Schuster
Unlike other sustainability indices, the AIChE Sustainability Index (SI) accounts for key factors that are fundamental to the chemical process industries.
Eric Maynard, Eric Maynard
Use this scientific approach instead of a costly trial-and-error method to diagnose problems and implement solutions for conveying systems.
The TRIZ principles and techniques used to solve technical problems inventively can be adapted to run a business more effectively and more profitably.
The solution to a process problem isn't found by sitting behind your desk, but by going into the plant and carrying out tests and evaluating data.
What are some of the resources available to support industry's implementation of sustainability?
Edward C. Moretti
Follow this roadmap to understand the abatement technologies available for controlling emissions of volaitle organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants and the criteria for choosing among them.
Thiago Tinoco Pires
Here’s how to construct and apply continuous-value and single-value network diagrams, which can better represent system failure mechanisms than other logic diagrams.
Applying the total cost assessment (TCA) methodology, which accounts for intangibles, provides a more complete evaluation of costs and benefits with the risks associated with them.
Gregory T. Benz
Slurry agitation involves complicated processes. This article presents guidelines for understanding the rheology of cellulosic and other fibrous materials, and outlines a method for scaling up their agitation.
Ana G. Maldonado
In silicocatalyst optimization is the ultimate application of computers in catalysis. This article provides an overview of the basic concepts of predictive modeling and describes how this technique can be used in catalyst and reaction design.
Lisa M. Sweeney
Toxicology impacts a chemical engineer in a variety of ways. Here's what you need to know about the basics of this field.
Suzanne A. Shelley
Promising nanotechnology-enabled sensors, monitoring devices and analytical instruments continue to advance toward commercialization for diverse industrial, environmental, medical and military applications— but hurdles remain.
Michael J. Dolan
As chemical engineers and leaders in the chemical process industries, we must ensure that process safety is integral to every aspect of what we and our companies do.
M. Henry Heines
A joint invention arises from the combined efforts of two or more inventors. Once a patent is granted, however, the inventors do not necessarily share in the rewards.
Read about products and services on display at the Air and Waste Management Association Annual Conference and Exhibit.
Seven years ago, I wrote a column for another publica tion entitled “The U.S. Chemical Industry: R.I.P.” This pillar of American economic strength, which a few years earlier was the leading exporter among U.S. manufacturing sectors (with net exports of $15–20 billion annually), was shriveling due in large part to policy blunders and regulatory mistakes.
This Beacon is not focused on a single incident, but on incidents that continue to occur across industry — nitrogen asphyxiation.
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