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.
Temperature measurements are most useful when they are accurate. Find out how to estimate the error attributable to a temperature probe and ways to minimize it.
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.
“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.
An effective reliability program provides the right maintenance on the right assets at the right time.
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.
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
Read about the latest products and services in the areas of heat transfer, bioprocessing, materials and chemicals, environmental, health, and Safety, Instrumentation, and fluids and solids handling.
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...
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.
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
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.
Kristine Baranski, Bailey Underwood
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tjeerd Jongsma, Andrzej Stankiewicz
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 (...
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...
Oluwafem Taiwo, Emmanuel Dada, John Erinne
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.
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.
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.
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...
What are some of the resources available to support industry's implementation of sustainability?
Darlene Schuster, Calvin Cobb, Darlene Schuster, Beth Beloff and Dicksen Tanzil
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.
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