Understand what kind of pressure-relief valves you have in your plant, and know what you must do to ensure that they work properly.
Process safety is on my mind for several reasons, including the recent explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant and this month’s On the Horizon article, “Improve Process Safety with Near-Miss Analysis,” by Ulku Oktem, Warren Seider, Masoud Soroush, and...
Artiﬁcial Organs Hot Off the Press; Biofuel Byproducts and Concrete Mix It Up; Squid Inspires Material for Medical Implants; Polymer Chains Line Up to Provide High Performance; Ribbons of VO2 and Graphene Enable Ultrafast Batteries; and more.
On a cold February day in 1996, I was on a ﬂight from Washington DC. Due to a horriﬁc snowstorm, the ﬂight landed 30 minutes late and passengers scrambled to make their connections. I turned to the pregnant passenger next to me to see if she needed...
Understand the principles behind the most common air-pollution-control technologies to select the most efﬁcient and cost-effective emissions control strategy.
An entrepreneur is someone with a certain attitude — a mindset — a way of looking at the world,” reﬂects Loraine Huchler, winner of the 2012 Society of Women Engineers’ (SWE) Entrepreneur Award. Huchler, founder and president of MarTech Systems, Inc...
Choosing a ﬂowmeter with a low permanent pressure loss can reduce pump or compressor work requirements and increase steam boiler capacities — thereby trimming annual energy costs.
With so much graphene research underway, it can be hard to keep track of the progress, as well as to evaluate the commercial viability of such developments. Here’s a look at what scientists and engineers are doing and saying about graphene.
Process flow failure modes (PFFM) analysis is an intuitive, process-flow-directed way to identify potentially hazardous scenarios. Learn how to apply this technique to your process hazard reviews.
M. Henry Heines
To qualify for a patent, an invention must be both novel and nonobvious. Novelty requires that the invention differ in some way from the prior art, such as earlier patents and published materials. Nonobviousness requires that there be more than just...
Hua Wang, Hongyi Zhou
Membrane filtration is an integral part of many industrial processes, as it is often more environmentally sustainable and cost-effective than other separation technologies
Bioprocessing Systems Go disposable: Single-use disposable technology is gaining acceptance in the bio-pharmaceutical arena, especially with processors seeking to reduce their operating costs and add flexibility to their manufacturing schemes...
Although you might not associate drug delivery with chemical engineering, the principles of chemical engineering — such as mass and energy balances, transport phenomena, reaction kinetics, and particle technology — are intimately involved in drug...
Leaks in fluid-containing castings, such as pumps and valves, present major problems for chemical processing plants. To address this issue, the Materials Technology Institute (MTI) funded a casting quality prediction project aimed at developing a...
Ankur Pariyani, Masoud Soroush, Warren Seider, Ulku Oktem
Valuable information about unsafe conditions resides in the large alarm databases of distributed control systems and emergency shutdown systems. This overlooked and underutilized information can be analyzed to identify process near-misses and determine the probability of serious accidents.
Push valves, multiple downcomers, and truncated downcomers boost tray capacities, but they also present troubleshooting challenges. Use quantitative gamma-scan analysis to measure froth heights, froth densities, and blowby in order to solve...
John T. Santini, Jr.
Drugs can be administered by many routes, yet all emerging drug delivery technologies aim to improve drug efficacy, minimize side effects, and reduce the burden of care for patients and physicians.
Chattering is the rapid opening and closing of a pressure-relief valve. The resulting vibration may cause misalignment, valve seat damage, and, if prolonged, mechanical failure of valve internals and associated piping. Some causes of chattering...
Baffles play a crucial role in regulating shellside fluid flow and improving heat transfer between shellside and tubeside process fluids. Here's how to choose the correct baffle to meet process requirements.
W. Mark Saltzman, Junwei Zhang
Engineered nanoparticles can deliver therapeutic agents to specifically targeted cells and then release those agents in a precisely controlled manner. Improved pharmacokinetic properties, reduced toxicity, and the ability to cross biological barriers are some of the key benefits of this approach.
Work-life balance is a challenge for many of us, but how do we get there from here? First, it helps to adjust our thinking. “It’s not about balance, like weights on a scale,” says Mary T. Scott, a certified professional coach. “It’s more about...
William Parrish, Cory Jensen
Licensure as a professional engineer is an investment in your future, and can be a beneficial — and even necessary — credential.
News Feature: Graphene Marches Down a Long Road to Commercialization A Stretchable, Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery Makes its Debut Defects Strengthen Magnesium Alloys Gold Lights the Way to Quantum-Dot Solar Cells Japan Taps into Fire Ice A Phase-...
Mary Ellen Ternes
A basic understanding of environmental law is beneficial for all chemical engineers. Learn how laws are proposed, made, and implemented, and ways to avoid incurring unnecessary penalties.
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...
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 subsidize...
Gregory T. Benz, P.E.
Yield-stress slurries, such as those used in paper, biofuel, and polymer production, can be difficult to mix. This article explains how to determine torque requirements for multiple-impeller slurry-mixing systems to optimize tank geometry and...
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...
Alan English, Jack Chosnek, Victor Edwards, Sandra L. Jones, Ralph Ellis , Edward Geaslin , Myra A. Ray
Apply HSE principles during front-end engineering design to assure safe, operable, and economical facilities.
Coriolis meters eliminate the need to measure and correct for pressure, temperature, and density fluctuations to determine mass flowrate. Although their capital costs may be higher, they typically have a lower overall cost of ownership than other types of meters
The capture of CO2 from flue- and fuel-gas streams in large-scale power generation offers a compelling means to combat climate change. Technically plausible strategies for CO2 capture include post-combustion carbon capture (PCC), oxy-combustion, and...
AIChE’s newest Equipment Testing Procedure provides chemical engineers, plant managers, and other plant personnel with advice for assessing the performance of these important components of petrochemical, natural gas production, air separation and other industrial processes. The book, which...
If you manage to stay afloat long enough, past associations inevitably resurface. At a recent Société de Chimie Industrielle luncheon, I reconnected with a client who I hadn’t seen in almost 30 years. In 1983, I was retained by an investment banker...
Lack of labeling can be a safety problem, and poor or confusing labels or information signs can be even worse.
To surpass the merely adequate, and to accomplish something noteworthy, requires one to take on tasks that are unstated and to solve problems that others may not have even noticed. Depending on the structure of your work environment, there may be...
Many of us remember receiving our polio vaccine on a sugar cube. Indeed, that was the motivation behind A Spoonful of Sugar, a song from the classic Disney movie Mary Poppins. Walt Disney had instructed the Sherman brothers, Robert and Richard, to come up with a catchy song for the film. When Robert arrived at home, after working all day trying to come up with an idea, his wife told him that the children had gotten their polio vaccine that day. Thinking they had gotten a shot, he asked them if it hurt. His son answered that the medicine was put on a cube of sugar and he swallowed it. And so “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down was born.
Color-Shifting Fibers Take their Lead from Nature; Nanocapsules Target Cancer Cells without Harming Healthy Ones ; Graphene Straightens Out with Some Help from Copper; Silicon Made Easy for Batteries; and more.
Read about new products and services in the areas of instrumentation; fluids and solids handling; laboratory equipment; and environmental, health, and safety.
Viewpoint #1 Regulate the Product, Not the Process by Gregory Conko Viewpoint #2 Not All Sugar & Spice
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.
Read about new products and services in the areas of instrumentation; fluids and solids handling; operations and maintenance; and environmental, health, and safety.
In 2005, the reported median salary of $92,150 is up 3.9% from last year. Chemical engineering salaries are also slightly ahead of their collective engineering peers, and furthermore, starting-salary offers are at an all-time high of $54,256. This...
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.
Chemical engineering salaries are up 7% from two years ago, to a median of $110,950. Furthermore, average starting salaries have risen to over $65,000.
Engineers need to clearly understand units, and be able to convert, express, document, and communicate them in correspondence, operating instructions, and publications.
Frantisek Rieger, Pavel Ditl
Impeller and vessel geometries are key factors in selecting mixing equipment to efficiently suspend particulate solids in slurries
Today's CFD Programs are more powerful and easier to use than ever, thanks to improved mesh-generation strategies, computational methodologies, user interfaces and enhanced graphics capabilities. Cover photo courtesy of Acusim and Intelligent Light.
Improbable does not mean impossible. As engineers, we tend to consider improbable things that have happened, and discard or minimize the improbable things that (to our knowledge) have not happened. Many times when the question "can this occur?" has...
Michael Cipullo, Jeffrey Mueller
Use this holistic approach as the basis for a process development strategy to identify environmentally sound, cost-effective, low-waste-generating processes.
Alan Rossiter, Veerasamy Venkatesan
Managing the energy consumption of a process does not need to be complicated. This article presents some examples of less-complicated strategies.
K. Eric Bengtson, Thomas G. Troxel, John W. Carson
A sound theoretical model of the process to be scaled is the best approach; if one is not available, bench-scale testing, physical scale modeling or full-scale modeling is required. Here are guidelines as to which method is appropriate for various...
James R. Risko
Cold traps — steam traps that no longer drain condensate — are often ignored in lieu of less-critical leaking traps, until a catastrophic event, such as a plant shutdown or personal injury, occurs. Use historical data to accurately estimate the annual cost of these cold traps to justify their swift repair.
Check out warning devices for hazardous areas and high-visibility work vests that reduce static electricity.
Eliminate unnecessary damage in piping systems by following these guidelines to avoid pulsations from pumps and compressors.
Emil Abkar, Khashayar Afshar, Jeffrey Scherffius, Henry Z. Kister
Generalized pressure-drop correlation (GPDC) charts have been the standard for predicting packing flood points and pressure drops. This article guides engineers on the correct and incorrect uses of the GPDC interpolation procedure, and updates the...