Stick-On Health Tracker Twists, Stretches, and Bends; No Corn Needed: Ethanol Is Produced from CO; Engineered Bacteria Turn Switchgrass into Jet Fuel; Reversing Evolution Promises Cheaper Pharmaceuticals; and more.
Read about new products and services in the areas of instrumentation; materials and chemicals; fluids and solids handling; and heat transfer.
Refineries may appear complicated at first glance. Breaking them down into a series of units makes them easier to understand. This article describes the basic building blocks of a fuels refinery, from crude oil inlet to fuels distribution.
One year ago, I was putting the finishing touches on my senior design project, taking my last round of undergraduate final exams, and preparing to move to Cincinnati to start my new job in an engineering and operations rotational program at General...
Margaret W. Hunt
Although corrosion resistance is of paramount importance, many factors must be considered when selecting materials of construction. Follow this four-step process to identify the appropriate material for your application.
We may think of process safety incidents as fires, explosions, and immediate injuries from exposure to toxic, corrosive, or otherwise hazardous materials. However, major spills of hazardous materials, especially into rivers or other bodies of water, are also process safety incidents. They have the potential to impact large numbers of people, including people far away from your plant.
Turn Our Hindsight into Your Foresight This is an expanded version of the Editorial that appeared in the print version of Chemical Engineering Progress, May 2014. Reflecting on the first year of her chemical engineering career, Samantha Schmidt...
Whether we are talking about occupational safety or process safety, normalizing a deviation can result in unsafe practices, conditions, and operations. Getting comfortable with and accepting these deviations can cause a shift in our perception of what is safe. Why does this matter? Moving the target for safe operating limits and tolerating the higher risk s associated with doing so can ultimately lead to a catastrophic incident.
Programming for an AIChE conference — i.e., developing the technical program — takes a lot more than the work put in by the meeting chairs; the details and ideas that go into every session and its roster of speakers take a whole force of volunteers. As a co-chair for the upcoming 2014 Spring Meeting in New Orleans who also happens to be a young professional (YP), I’ve realized that the best way to prepare for programming a large-scale conference is to build relationships across all levels of the organization.
David Saiia, co-founder of the nonprofit Reuse Everything Institute, Inc. (REII), has always been drawn to the field of sustainable development. His theory on corporate ecology, which seeks to explore the dynamic relationship between businesses and...
How Well Are We Preparing ChE Students for Industry?; Climate FAQs: Science Academies Answer 20 Questions; Electronic Shrink Wrap Conforms to a Beating Heart; Biomass and Sunlight Cooperate to Produce Electricity; and more.
Insulating materials developed for the aerospace industry may soon gain broader acceptance in the chemical process industries (CPI), thanks in part to a Materials Technology Institute (MTI) project. CPI companies are beginning to consider the use of...
The beneﬁcial microbes that convert milk into yogurt and act in our guts to promote digestive health cause big problems in ethanol fermentation tanks. These lactic acid bacteria (LAB) proliferate in ethanol feedstock and inhibit growth of ethanol-producing yeast — which slows down fermentation, reduces biofuel yield by as much as 20% per pound of input material, and results in production shutdowns due to contamination. The most common control measures, chemical antimicrobials such as antibiotics, do not eliminate LAB. Additionally, the potential for antibiotic residue limits the marketability of dried distillers grains, a byproduct of the fermentation process used as animal feed. Ecolyse Inc., based in College Station, TX, is working to address this issue by developing products to treat bacterial contamination.
Sugar could some day be used to power smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices thanks to a recent breakthrough by Blacksburg, VA-based Cell-Free BioInnovations, Inc.
The March 2014 Beacon discussed the relationship between process safety and occupational safety, as well as the importance of both in ensuring a safe workplace. For many years, industry has used established measures of occupational safety...
Best known for his defining book on transport phenomena — in which he provided chemical engineering students with an integrated view of the transport of the three physical quantities (energy, mass, and momentum) at three different scales (molecular, microscopic, and macroscopic) — R. Byron Bird has immensely impacted the field of chemical engineering.
When I was in college, I earned some spending money as a shoe model for a local freelance photographer. Little did I know I would become a cover girl. But a few years later, shortly after I began my career as an editor (at a different magazine), I was tapped for just that role. Wearing a black cap and gown and photographed looking out into a maze of piping in a chemical plant, I represented a young graduate facing my first job in industry. The cover line — “Chemical engineering education: How good is it, really?” — referred to an article that discussed the results of a reader survey conducted by two of my colleagues. That was 31 years ago. Today, we are still pondering the same question.
Read about the new products and services on display at the 2014 Offshore Technology Conference Expo.
Al Goodman, Allegra K. da Silva
Industrial facilities are increasingly turning to water reuse for a wide range of purposes. This article reviews water-reclamation technologies and explains how to determine whether water reuse is a feasible option for your plant.
Read about the new products and services on display at the 2014 International Powder and Bulk Solids Expo.
Accurate process safety information is the cornerstone of effective process safety management. Follow this three-phase approach to create and maintain an effective PSI program.
The recent development of new sources of shale-gas methane and shale-gas condensate will significantly impact fuels and chemical feedstocks in the U.S. and around the world, says Jeffrey Siirola of Purdue Univ. and Carnegie Mellon Univ. in the March AIChE Journal Perspective article, “The Impact of Shale Gas in the Chemical Industry.”
Organizers are putting the finishing touches on the schedule of events for AIChE’s 2014 Spring Meeting and 10th Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS), to be held Mar. 30 – Apr. 3 at the Hilton New Orleans – Riverside, in New Orleans, LA.
Read about new products and services in the areas of fluids and solids handling, instrumentation, and materials and chemicals.
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.
Use a phase diagram to identify the best temperature, pressure, and composition conditions, as well as the optimal sequence of process operations to achieve a desired crystallization.
The outlook is bright for the process automation enterprise in the U.S. through this decade and into the next. Process automation skills and know-how are honed through challenging projects and are perfected by maintaining these systems at peak efficiency. Without constant renewal based on new and different challenges, these skills tend to atrophy and become obsolete. Fortunately, after more than a decade of decline, the U.S. process industries are entering a period of highly advantaged resource and energy availability.
Paul Martin, Grant Girouard
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.
AIChE Members Are Elected to the National Academy of Engineering Minority Affairs Committee Salutes Members in the News
While the Beacon focuses on process-related incidents, never forget that occupational safety is also important. For a safe workplace, we must have effective programs for both process and occupational safety.
Pilot-plant piping is subject to more-frequent modification than typical process plant piping, and must be able to accommodate a range of media, temperatures, and pressures during its lifetime. Use this guide to determine which piping, tubing, and fittings are optimal for your pilot plant application.
Silicon Anode Gets a Fruity Makeover; New Anode Provides a Home for Plus-Sized Na+ Ions; A Flicker of Hope for Nonflammable Li-Ion Batteries; Bio-Inspired Glass Is Bendable; and more.
A process designed to lower the cost of magnesium metal, making it competitive with aluminum, has been an industry goal for over a century. Although magnesium metal makes up millions of today’s lightweight cell phone and laptop cases, its persistently high cost (twice that of aluminum today) has impeded broad, high-volume use in other areas, including the automobile industry. This could soon change, thanks to researchers at INFINIUM, based in Natick, MA, who have developed a low-cost, energy-efficient, zero-emissions process for making this lightweight, strong metal.
Drop-in biofuels — so named because they can be blended with current fuels in any proportion without modifying existing infrastructure — for the transportation sector have attracted increasing attention. In general, these liquid fuels offer several advantages over first-generation biofuels...
As a student unsure of what chemical engineers actually did in the real world, I wondered whether I would like being a chemical engineer. A double major, I reasoned, would provide a safety net — just in case. Students in the engineering and public policy (EPP) department worked on projects at the intersection of technology and society, like energy, the environment, and risk analysis. Those sounded interesting, so I enrolled in the ChE/EPP double-major program. Electives on topics such as energy policy, organizational behavior, social analysis, and arms control and defense policy, and projects on product liability, diagnostic radiation, and coal mine safety, gave me an appreciation for the interdependence of engineering and the public welfare.
When talking with college students at local section meetings, I’m often asked about my responsibilities within AIChE with a simple question: “So, what do you do?” The answer, however, is not so simple. As a leader in the Chicago Local Section, Chicago Young Professionals Committee (YPC), national YPC, and President’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Local Sections, I could answer this question in several ways.
M. Henry Heines
One of the ways in which companies often trip up in their attempts to develop a patent portfolio is by selling a product, or even offering it for sale, before filing a patent application. If more than a year passes between the date of a sale or offer and the application filing date, the application is disqualified from receiving a patent. Likewise, if a sale or offer a year before the filing date is revealed only after the patent has been granted, the patent is declared invalid. In either case, the applicant is barred from obtaining a patent, and this is known as an “on-sale bar.”
Pressure-measuring devices come in a wide variety of designs and sizes to suit almost any application. This article describes the basics of pressure measurement and provides guidance on instrument selection.
In Memoriam: John Chen, AIChE Fellow and Former President Jack Weaver, Former AIChE Director of Technical Programs
Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Last a Lifetime; A Bright Future for Organic Electronics; New Glue Fixes Broken Hearts; Hydrogels Release Drugs On Demand and more.
The short answer to this questions is YES. In 1993, Trevor Kletz, who passed away on Oct. 31, 2013, at the age of 91, wrote a book titled Lessons from Disaster: How Organizations Have No Memory and Accidents Recur. Twenty years later, we still fail to learn from accidents, and we repeat them.
Process safety can be approached in many different ways. This article provides an unconventional way of looking at process safety that ties together wide-ranging ideas from seemingly disparate fields.
Culture can be defined as a collective group of shared beliefs and values that shape how we act. We think of culture as it relates to the actions and reactions of a group, company, or society. However, it can also characterize an individual — what influences how you make day-to-day decisions or handle various situations. Personal process safety culture can be assessed by observing someone’s (yours or another person’s) response to situations involving a safety violation.
A new topical conference devoted to the hot topic of shale gas and tight oil, special programs spotlighting the progress made within the process safety community, and a new luncheon are just a few of the opportunities to learn and collaborate at AIChE’s 2014 Spring Meeting and 10th Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS).
Projects aimed at improving distillation column operation may encounter a variety of hurdles. This article looks at ten common problems and provides guidance on how to avoid them.
As the Director of Discipline Capability within BP’s Global Wells Organization, a private pilot, and mother, Kelli Fereday has demonstrated that an adventurous, rigorous career and strong family life are not mutually exclusive. Fereday has spent nearly 20 years with BP, cultivating a stimulating and challenging livelihood, and championing female engineers — especially those who have or want a family — by encouraging them to take control of their careers.
If your New Year’s resolution is to find a new job or career, consider adding a career fair or two to your job search strategy. Although usually associated with entry-level positions, career fairs can put more-experienced chemical engineers face to face with hiring managers or human resource representatives, a critical step to landing a new position in today’s competitive job market.