As chemical processing plants and related facilities age, they typically develop problems with corrosion. Allowing deterioration to progress until a piece of equipment needs to be discarded and replaced — called the “run to failure” option — can be...
Andrew N. Jansen
Lithium-ion batteries can be tailored to suit a range of products in almost any industry. This article describes the main applications for which these batteries are used, and explores some of the challenges hindering future advances.
David Kahn, David Heller
Tracing audit ﬁndings back to the management system that allowed the failure to occur is an effective way to uncover deﬁciencies in an organization’s process safety management system. Follow the guidance provided in this article to apply root-cause-based auditing to your facility.
Chaitan Khosla, the Wells H. Rauser and Harold M. Petiprin Professor of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Stanford Univ., has always been attracted to challenges at the intersection of chemistry, biology, and engineering, particularly those...
Batteries are being asked to meet daunting performance requirements that could soon be pushing up against the limits of existing battery technologies. Portable electronics, electric vehicles, and grid-scale storage require high energy density and power, low cost, and safety.
Chemical engineering as it is known today — in which theoretical models are used to design and maintain processes — bears only a slight resemblance to the nascent field. In its beginnings, chemical engineering involved the dissection of chemical processes into unit processes and unit operations using mostly empirical methods. Material and energy balances soon entered the scene in the late 1920s, followed by the introduction of transport phenomena. While many scientists and engineers contributed to the evolution of chemical engineering, one man in particular stands out. Neal Russell Amundson, who became a full professor of chemical engineering at the Univ. of Minnesota at the age of 35, can be credited for the proliferation of scientific content within the chemical engineering field and profession.
Read about new products and services in the areas of fluids and solids handling; environmental health and safety; and laboratory equipment.
Andy Fennell, John Anderson
Engineers can become better informed about their work with an increased familiarity of basic financial indicators. Use these insights to help ensure that the projects you work on are those that are most likely to become financial successes.
Electronic Skin Lights Up When Touched; Nature-Inspired Windows Cool Themselves Down; First Commercial Production of Cellulosic Biofuel Begins; Water-Splitting Process Produces H2 Isothermally; and more
Chemical engineers have been practicing process simulation since the advent of the profession in the early 20th century. It was called process design and inevitably involved simplifying assumptions, including that steady-state process conditions had...
From gloves, goggles, and safety shoes, to total encapsulating ensembles, protective clothing provides a barrier to chemical exposure. Follow these guidelines to determine the most-effective protection for your work environment and task.
William Liss, Mary Ellen Ternes, Trevor Smith, Jesse F. Goellner, Stephen A. Holditch, P.E.
The production of natural gas from shale formations is one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. oil and gas industry today.
Whether you own a hazardous-material treatment plant, send your wastes to one, or operate an onsite waste-processing unit, here are some pointers for dealing with the unique challenges you may face.
In 2011, I took a position with Mack Trucks, Inc., a manufacturer of American-assembled Class 8 heavy trucks with more than 100 years of history. Since then, I wish I had a dollar for every time I was asked the question “What is a chemical engineer...
The moving vans are gone, and we on the AIChE staff are quickly settling in to our new home at 120 Wall St., a special Association Center that offers lower rents for nonprofit organizations like us. While we think of this as our new work-home, more...
Air is always all around us, and the oxygen it contains is necessary for life. But, compressed air (or any other compressed gas) contains a lot of energy and can cause major damage if a vessel or pipe fails.
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.
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...
Read about new products and services in the areas of fluids and solids handling; materials and chemicals; bioprocessing; instrumentation; environmental health and safety; and laboratory equipment.
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
Charlie Moore, Tony Cooper
Process mapping integrates science, engineering, and process knowledge with data and statistics to reveal opportunities for process improvement.
The answer must be yes, or we would not have a Beacon on this subject. The centrifugal pumps in the pictures are all water pumps that exploded. The explosions did not occur because of any contamination or chemical reaction with something that was...
Hot Off the Press: The World’s First 3D-Printed Battery; Nonmetal Compound Catalyzes CO2-to-Methanol Reaction; Iron Catalyst Gives Hydrogenation a Green Makeover; and more
Chemical engineers and sound engineering principles have been absent from the discussions of global challenges — energy, climate change, food, and water — for too long, assert Bill Banholzer and Mark Jones of Dow Chemical in their August AIChE Journal Perspective article, “Chemical Engineers Must Focus on Practical Solutions.” Society has thus confused what is possible with what is practical, particularly when it comes to energy, where new discoveries are greeted with over-excitement and the hope that each will provide the means to supply reliable, cheap, and almost-limitless energy, the authors say. They cite the hydrogen economy, cellulosic ethanol, and fuel cells as examples of technologies that have promised much but delivered little
Countless books and articles have been written about leadership — on such topics as the differences between managing and leading, what makes a good leader, and how to become a better leader, among others. One frequent topic: Are leaders born or made? The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) posed this question to C-level executives of companies in 53 countries ( www.ccl.org/leadership/pdf/research/areleadersbornormade.pdf ). Slightly more than half (53.4%) of the top executives think leaders are made, about a fifth (19.1%) think they are born, and a little more than a quarter (28.5%) think leaders are both born and made.
Ever since inventions that involved the use of computers were declared patentable, courts have struggled with the distinction between patentable processes and unpatentable abstract ideas. A recent case illustrates the types of arguments that are...
This book provides a comprehensive review of bioprocessing technologies that use lignocellulosic biomass for the production of biofuels, biochemicals and biopolymers and sets the stage for their large-scale production.
Sustainability, and the global challenges and opportunities it offers to chemical engineers, will be a uniting theme of discussion for the thousands of chemical engineering practitioners, researchers, and business leaders who will gather at AIChE’s...
This month marks the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha offshore oil platform disaster in the North Sea approximately 110 miles (180 km) from Aberdeen, Scotland. On July 6, 1988, a series of catastrophic explosions and fires destroyed the platform...
AIChE’s Equipment Testing Procedures Committee; Centrifugal Compressor Procedure Subcommittee
Follow these practical tips to determine the condition of your centrifugal compressors.
Many manufacturing processes are not run as efficiently as they could be. The Six Sigma methodology provides a foundation for continuous improvement and for solving quality, operational, and other problems.
Read about new products and services in the areas of fluids and solids handling; materials and chemicals; bioprocessing; and laboratory equipment.
T. Kevin Swift
The U.S. chemical industry’s incremental capital investments to capitalize on the benefits offered by domestic shale gas will reach $71.7 billion by 2020.
Inkjet-Printed Graphene Rolls Out; UV Treatment Improves Membrane Selectivity; Additive Sweetens the Prospects for Organic Electronics; Protective Coating Connects Electronics and Living Tissue; and more.
Compare these microreactor technologies, along with the intrinsic advantages and disadvantages of miniaturization, to achieve process intensification.
With solid-liquid equilibrium as its foundation, this systematic approach makes it easy to identify operating regions and theoretical yield to maximize the desired product.
A discussion among graduating seniors and AIChE young professionals at the recent 2013 Southern Regional Student Conference turned to questions about negotiating job offers. The compensation you ﬁrst receive often dictates your future growth at a...
It is beyond cliché to say that most New Year’s resolutions are forgotten by the second week of January. Similarly, I’ve noticed that spring cleaning rarely has the impact it was intended to have. The best time to work on self-improvement is during...
Steam systems are the largest consumer of energy in the U.S. manufacturing sector, and are prominent in the chemical process industries (CPI), where steam is critical to several ubiquitous processes, including distillation, stripping, cracking, and...
Scott A. Drennan
Here's how to determine when to use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to simulate the detailed chemistry of reacting flows for combustion and chemical processes.
Despite the progress made in project management theory, these advances are just starting to make their way into the chemical process industries. Use this step-by-step framework to implement some key best practices.
Increasing energy demand and dwindling energy resources have spurred interest in making transportation fuels from renewable sources such as microalgae.
Overcoming Future Challenges through Engineering Excellence will be the uniting theme at the 2nd Middle East Process Engineering Conference (MEPEC 2013).
What Will You Do on Your Summer Vacation? In this month’s YPOV column (p. 20), Arjun Gopalratnam points out that the summertime is a great time for self-improvement, and he urges us to expand, in particular, our computer programming experience. He...
A waste generator can reduce the risks of incurring financial penalties and damage to its reputation by implementing these hazardous-waste determination, vendor management and document control programs.