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AIChE | The Global Home of Chemical Engineers

CEP: Editorial - Harnessing Our Abilities

October
2014
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
We all have limits to our abilities. Some of us stumble over our words and lose our train of thought when speaking to a group; others can’t string together three coherent sentences. Some of us get so bogged down in minutiae that we lose sight of the big picture; others are so busy dreaming up the next project that we neglect important details and miss deadlines. This thinking extends to physical characteristics. Some of us are so short that we can’t reach the second shelf in the cabinet; others are so tall that we can’t fit into the backseat of a car.

Working with Tight Oil

April
2015
Back To Basics
Timothy Olsen
Crude oil derived from shale plays is less expensive and more readily available than traditional crudes, but it poses unique challenges to refiners.

Synthetic Biology: Putting Together the Pieces

July
2015
On The Horizon
Michelle Bryner
Synthetic biology represents a new way of building biological systems via engineering tools and principles. Genetic components and pathways will be created to reprogram organisms, endowing them with novel functions for a wide range of applications.

Use TRIZ in Reverse to Analyze Failures

May
2005
Career Catalyst
Jack Hipple
Asking “how could I make this fail?” can help you to identify potential problems that you might not otherwise have considered.

Bringing a Star to Earth

April
2009
Special Section
Jan Berry, Bond Calloway
An international R&D effort to build a fusion reactor and demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power is underway.

Handle Bulk Solids Safely and Effectively

September
2009
Fluids and Solids Handling
Eric Maynard, Greg Mehos and Eric Maynard
Follow these guidelines for proper design of bins, hoppers, and feeders to avoid operational and safety problems.

Mitigate Air Pollution with Catalytic Technology

June
2014
Environmental Management
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.

Designing Pneumatic Conveying Systems

May
2006
Fluids and Solids Handling
Eric Maynard
Use this 9-step methodology to design and operate a reliable and cost-effective system to efficiently transport materials.

Cool Down with Liquid Nitrogen

September
2015
Heat Transfer
Oscar Beteta, Svetlana Ivanova
Many low-temperature processes leverage nitrogen’s cooling and freezing capabilities. Find out what methods are used in what applications and why.

Career Corner: Ace Your Skype or Phone Interview

December
2015
Career Corner
Loraine Kasprzak
If you are interviewing for a new job, there is a good chance that at least your first interview will be conducted by phone or using online videoconferencing software, such as Skype. These methods are both convenient and cost-effective for the...

Spray Nozzles 101: Spray Nozzle Selection

August
2014
Back To Basics
Charles Lipp
Understand the two most common spray nozzle designs, as well as their basic characteristics, in order to choose the best nozzle for your application.

Is Your Dust Collection System An Explosion Hazard?

October
2003
Safety
Vahid Ebadat, Ph.D.
The prevalence of dust explosions in dust collection units may be due to the fact that the hazards posed by the powders handled are not fully understood or that explosion preventive and protective control measures are insufficient or absent. This...

Energy Research: Following the Money

July
2010
Special Section
Bond Calloway
Surveys of the energy-related papers presented at AIChE’s annual meetings shed light on the funding pathways for energy research by chemical engineers.

SBE Update: The Merging of Bio and Nano

December
2012
SBE Special Section
June Wispelwey
Earlier this year, the Society for Biological Engineering (SBE) organized its Sixth International Conference on Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (ICBN), which focused on bio-nanoscience and bioengineering for translational medicine. The conference...

The Blood-Brain Barrier and Drug Delivery

March
2013
SBE Special Section
William Olbricht
To maintain favorable conditions in the brain, the blood-brain barrier limits mass transfer across brain tissue. However, it also restricts the systemic delivery of compounds to treat neurological disorders. Several treatment alternatives to bypass...

Selecting the Optimal Cooling Tower Fill

August
2013
Heat Transfer
Paul Puckorius
The most important action of an evaporative cooling tower occurs on the heat-transfer surface — called fill — inside the tower. Follow these guidelines to choose the appropriate fill for your application.

How Much Is Another Measurement Worth?

January
2014
Instrumentation
Douglas C. White
New measurements are valuable only if they increase the economic value of the plant. Evaluate a measurement investment by quantifying the expected improved financial performance.

Troubleshoot Acid-Gas Removal Systems

July
2014
Reactions and Separations
Chris Bickham, Eric Teletzke
The removal of acid gases is a key step in natural gas treatment. Closed-loop amine systems are a popular option, but they can suffer from inefficiencies. Use these troubleshooting tools to pinpoint the cause of operational issues.

CEP: Career Corner - Becoming a Leader

August
2013
Career Corner
Loraine Kasprzak
What do Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon Products, the late Robert Goizueta, former Chairman and Chief Executive of Coca-Cola, and Andrew Grove, former Chairman and CEO of Intel, have in common? They all started their careers as chemical engineers and later...

Switzerland: The Success of Its Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Industries

December
2013
Global Outlook
Konrad Hungerbühler, Stavros Papadokonstantakis, Marcel Sennhauser
The strong international presence of Switzerland’s chemicals industries — characterized by a major export market and substantial investment in its companies abroad — has helped to make the Swiss chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries among the world’s most successful.

CEP: Commentary - Educating Students to Become Engineers

June
2014
Commentary
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.

CEP: Editorial - It’s All About the Culture

December
2014
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
December 3 marks the 30th anniversary of the worst chemical accident in history — the catastrophic release of methyl isocyanate (MIC) from a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, in 1984 that resulted in thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries. Two articles and the Process Safety Beacon in this issue review some of the lessons learned from that tragic incident.

Employment of Chemical Engineers

January
2002
Special Section
Freeman Self , Freeman Self
An analysis of past employment data can help identify future trends in chemical engineering. FreemanSelf-EdEkholm-

Chemical Looping Rises to the Challenge

May
2015
On The Horizon
Liang-Shih Fan, Liang Zeng, Siwei Luo
By separating a reaction into several subreactions, chemical looping minimizes exergy loss, facilitates product separation, and provides flexibility in process design.

CEP: Process Automation Corner – The U.S. Chemicals Industry in Perspective

June
2015
Process Automation Corner
Terrence McMahon
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.

Patent Update: Process Claims: Know Your Infringer

September
2015
Patent Update
Henry Heines
Process patents are an important class of patents, as many inventions are best-defined, or most clearly patentable, as processes. In many cases, a well-crafted process claim can keep the most threatening competitors at bay and be highly lucrative...

Profile: Emily Leproust: Revolutionizing DNA Syntheses

December
2015
Profile
Emily Leproust, CEO and co-founder of Twist Bioscience, is reinventing the wheel when it comes to DNA synthesis. “I have one goal with respect to DNA synthesis — that’s to make cloning obsolete,” she says. Synthetic DNA can be used to modify the...

Sizing Pressure-Relief Devices

October
2013
Back To Basics
Dr. Daniel A. Crowl, Scott A. Tipler
Although relief devices may never be activated, they must be designed and sized to function correctly every time they are necessary. This article provides an introduction to sizing pressure-relief devices for liquid and vapor service.

CEP: Editorial - Whatever You Do, Don’t Look Down

March
2014
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
You’ve spent hours writing your paper, preparing the slides for your presentation, and practicing your talk. You’ve endured the humiliation of the airport security inspection, the frustration of the weather-related flight delay, the discomfort of the cramped airplane seats, and the disruption of your circadian rhythm after crossing several time zones. You arrive at the meeting room early, check your slides on the session chair’s laptop, get comfortable with the remote, and test the mic. You are excited to be part of this group of experts, and are looking forward to sharing your thoughts and engaging in a lively dialogue.

CEP: YPOV - Anything Can Change, But Not Everything Must

September
2014
YPOV
Alex Ruddick
Good morning! Or should I say good evening? The sun is just setting as I write this in Mangalore, India, where the time leads the U.S. by half a day. By the time this article is printed, India Standard Time will join the growing list of time zones...

Apply Can’t Rather than Don’t to Your Process

December
2014
Safety
William Levinson
Many safety systems rely on human intervention to prevent incidents. A different approach is to make it impossible for a catastrophic accident to occur. Learn how to implement the Can’t Rather than Don’t principle.

Recognize Hazards to Recognize Change

April
2015
Safety
Donald Lorenzo, Mark Suyama, Della Wong
Improve your management of change (MOC) system by training workers to recognize hazards as indicators of change.

Do Your Due Diligence

July
2015
Career Catalyst
Herbert Cooper
Use this guidance to conduct comprehensive due diligence assessments and help ensure your acquisitions — of equipment, technologies, facilities, or companies — are operationally and technologically successful.

CEP: Spotlight on Safety - Sensing Safety

August
2015
Spotlight on Safety
Louisa Nara
Most of us are fortunate enough to have five working senses — sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. We use these personal, internal feedback loops to perceive and understand our surroundings, which makes our senses some of our most valuable and essential safety equipment. Before the advent of optical, vibrational, and auditory sensors, the chemical process industries (CPI) depended on sensory perception to identify operational upsets or changes. Although sensing equipment is now ubiquitous in CPI facilities, we must also use our senses to collect critical safety data, rather than blindly relying on equipment to signal unsafe conditions.

Consider Recycled Water for Your Cooling Tower Makeup

February
2013
Heat Transfer
Paul Puckorius
Many types of “used” water may be appropriate as cooling tower makeup. Here’s how to determine which waters are suitable and cost-effective for the equipment in your cooling system.

The Growth of a Chemicals Industry in Russia

October
2014
Global Outlook
German Dyakonov, Nelly Lyzhina, Nadir Ziyatdinov
Russia’s chemicals industry has experienced ups and downs since its formation. Although the country was hit hard by the Great Recession, it appears to have bounced back and is now investing in modernizing highly outdated equipment and processes.

SBE Special Section: Lignocellulosic Biofuels - Full 32-Page Supplement

March
2015
SBE Special Section
Tristan R. Brown, Robert Brown, Sergio C. Capareda, Bruce E. Dale, David Edwards, Vonnie Estes, Cesar Granda, Mark Holtzapple, Sagar Lonkar, Darlene Schuster, Charles Wyman
SBE Update; The Need for Biofuels; Producing Biofuels via the Thermochemical Platform; Producing Biofuels via the Sugar Platform; Producing Biofuels via the Carboxylate Platform; Scaling Up Bioenergy Technologies; Commercial-Scale Production of Lignocellulosic Biofuels

The Road to Sustainability

June
2007
Special Section
Darlene Schuster
What are some of the resources available to support industry's implementation of sustainability?

CEP Editorial: Help Grow AIChE’s Apprentice Program

April
2013
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
If you are a young professional under the age of 35 and are willing to assume a leadership role in AIChE (on a project of your choice), the AIChE Foundation, through its Young Professionals Apprentice program ( CEP, Sept. 2012, p. 72), will...

Ten Steps to an Effective Bin Design

November
2013
Back To Basics
Eric Maynard
Before choosing a bin and hopper for your bulk solids application, the flow properties and characteristics of the powder or bulk material must be known. Use this ten-step approach to determine the optimal bin design for your process.

CEP: Career Corner - Is Starting a Consulting Practice Right for You?

June
2014
Career Corner
Loraine Kasprzak
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.

CEP: Editorial - Energy Cost Averaging

March
2015
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
Last year, when we chose biofuels as the topic for this issue’s Society for Biological Engineering (SBE) supplement, we did not anticipate the precipitous drop in oil prices of recent months. As we were pulling the articles together, guest editor Mark Holtzapple expressed concern that oil prices would be low when the issue appears. “If readers do not think too deeply, they might say ‘These academics are sure out of touch. Don’t they know oil prices are low?’”

CEP: Spotlight on Safety - Verify, then Act

May
2015
Spotlight on Safety
Louisa Nara
Verify-then-act is a practice and mindset that all engineers and personnel in the chemical process industries (CPI) should adopt. Mixing the wrong chemicals, setting temperatures or pressures outside of safe operating limits, or performing a step out of sequence can result in a range of consequences, from a bad batch or loss of production to a catastrophic incident. However, simply verifying before acting can reduce the risk of these penalties and save time, money, and lives.

New Products: December 2015

December
2015
New Products
Instrumentation Temperature Transmitters Feature Dual Sensor Inputs The THZ 3 and TDZ 3 two-wire (loop-powered) temperature transmitters provide an isolated and linear 4–20-mA output proportional to input. They can be configured quickly and easily...

Algal Biofuels: The Research

March
2011
SBE Special Section
Kuan-Chen Cheng, Kimberly Ogden
The individual technical elements of the algae-to-biofuels process have already been demonstrated at the laboratory scale. Ongoing research seeks to refine the technology to enable scaleup to commercial production.

Bioactive Devices: Uniting Form with Function

March
2013
SBE Special Section
Sujata Bhatia
Bioactive implants that combine a medical device with one or more biologic therapeutic agents show promise for the targeted treatment of complex medical conditions. Implantable medical devices, such as stents, grafts, and joint replacements, are...

Understand the Basics of Process Analytical Technology

August
2013
Instrumentation
Joseph Alford
Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies can reap benefits from PAT, which involves identifying critical process parameters (CPPs) that influence key product attributes and controlling these CPPs to improve process efficiency and product consiste

CEP: Editorial - Elements of Fun

September
2014
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
This is an expanded version of the Editorial that appeared in the print version of Chemical Engineering Progress, September 2014. Whenever I come across an interesting article or tidbit of information in the general media that I think might make a...

Revive Your Columns with Cyclic Distillation

December
2015
Reactions and Separations
Costin Sorin Bîldea, Anton A. Kiss
This process intensification technique involves changing a tower’s internals and operating mode and the separate movement of the liquid and vapor phases. This can significantly increase column throughput and reduce energy requirements, while improving separation performance.

CEP: Career Corner - Don’t Stop Learning

December
2013
Career Corner
Loraine Kasprzak
When was the last time you learned something new for your job? A generation ago, chemical engineers could expect to settle into a well-defined position at one company and remain there for an entire career. Today, things could not be more different. Many engineers change jobs at least once, or take on additional responsibilities that require new knowledge and skills.

CEP: Editorial - ChemEs Just Need to Have Fun

January
2014
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
Last month, I wrote about creativity and pointed out two ways to spark your creativity — relax, and look at things in a fresh way. As I was researching that editorial, I kept coming across another creativity booster: fun.

Complete Your Capital Project Efficiently

January
2015
Career Catalyst
Glen Rosentrater
Capital projects are complicated and can be fraught with all sorts of issues. Follow these guidelines for safe and efficient work — to avoid problems, maintain relationships, and ensure your success as a construction manager.

Refocusing Chemical Engineering

January
2002
Special Section
Edward L. Cussler, Edward L. Cussler
To adapt to changes in the industry, chemical engineers will require a change in mindset, as well as an enhanced skillset.

SBE Special Section: Biopharmaceuticals (Full 19-Page Supplement)

December
2015
SBE Special Section
Chun Chen, Chetan T. Goudar, Huong Le, Todd Przybycien, Nigel Titchener-Hooker
SBE Update: Continuous Progress in Biopharmaceuticals; Continuous Processing in Upstream Operations; Continuous Processing in Downstream Operations; A Look at the Regulations

CEP: Editorial - Batteries — Can’t Live without Them …

October
2013
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
And living with them isn’t always easy, either. Two experiences drove the latter point home to me recently. As we were working on this issue with its special section on lithium-ion batteries, both of my laptop’s batteries — the main battery that...

SBE Supplement: Biochemical Engineering - Cell-Free Bioprocessing

November
2013
SBE Special Section
James Swartz
The ability to exploit a cell’s contents and capabilities unimpeded by cell walls opens new opportunities for the field of biochemical engineering. Cell-free biology could become the basis for making products from hydrogen to cancer vaccines and more.

CEP: Editorial - Getting ChE Education Right — Part 2

June
2014
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
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.

Consider the Role of Safety Layers in the Bhopal Disaster

December
2014
Safety
Dr. Ronald J. Willey
As the situation unfolded, numerous layers of protection failed. Take a look at the safety layers that worked and those that did not, and ask whether there are similarities at your facility.

Make Your Plant More Energy-Efficient

December
2005
Heat Transfer
Alan P. Rossiter
Improve energy management by optimizing current equipment and operations, implementing economic investments, and engaging in sustaining activities.

Recombinant Protein Therapeutics from CHO Cells -- 20 Years and Counting

October
2007
SBE Special Section
Dr. Wei-Shou Hu, Karthik P. Jayapal, Katie F Wlaschin, Wei-Shou Hu and Miranda G. S. Yap
The CHO cell is at its height of technological prominence thanks to its adaptability to various culture conditions and plasticity in the context of genetic alterations. With further research, the application ofCell Culture Strategies based on...

CEP: Editorial - Energy Literacy

November
2013
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
A poll conducted by the Univ. of Texas at Austin ( www.utenergypoll.com/newsroom ) in September found that the average American does not have a good understanding of energy issues. What’s saddening is that many don’t seem to care much about energy...

Size Control Valves for Lab-Scale Laminar Flow

March
2014
Fluids and Solids Handling
Grant Girouard, Paul Martin
Existing equations used to size control valves are inadequate for laboratory- and pilot-scale work. Use the simple equation introduced in this article to accurately size needle control valves for laminar and transitional flow.

CEP: YPOV - Electricity and the Environment

July
2014
YPOV
Noah Meeks
Electricity generated by fossil fuels is a relatively stable and low-cost commodity, and fossil fuels will continue to be an important source of energy for the forseeable future. The environmental impact of electricity generation is minimized...

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