AIChE

Manage Raw Material Supply Risks

September
2014
Critical Issues
Stephen Hung, Anthony Y. Ku
Some materials are more vulnerable to supply disruptions than others. Identify these materials and implement strategies to address challenges related to them.

CEP: Calendars

August
2014
Calendars
AIChE Meetings Calendar; AIChE Education Calendar; Webinars

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Ignition Sources

August
2014
Process Safety Beacon
The best way to prevent fires and flammable vapor explosions, either inside or outside process piping and equipment, is to avoid creating a flammable mixture. However, we must also recognize that our equipment and operating procedures can fail and a...

CEP: Profile - James Patten: Pushing the Boundaries of Interactive Design

August
2014
Profile
Most computer interfaces today take very little advantage of our sense of touch,” says James Patten, founder of the Patten Studio and inventor of futuristic user interfaces and interactive experiences. His work combines the principles of engineering, computer programming, and design to give users completely unique experiences — from creating their own chemical reactions by grabbing onto virtual elements in a periodic table, to folding a protein and having the computer physically resist the folding pattern.

CEP: Catalyzing Commercialization - An Elegant Design Makes Compressed Air a Contender for Grid-Scale Storage

August
2014
Catalyzing Commercialization
The potential for the integration of large amounts of renewable energy sources with the electricity grid will require large-scale storage devices. Compressed-air energy storage (CAES) is a cost-effective option for multi-hour storage applications. SustainX, a venture-capital-backed spin-out of Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering, has developed a novel isothermal CAES technology that promises to eliminate the disadvantages of traditional CAES.

CEP: AIChE Journal Highlight - An Inverse Approach to Materials Discovery and Design

August
2014
Journal Highlight
The success of many emerging technologies hinges on the discovery of new materials that exhibit a combination of desired properties. Identification, synthesis, and fabrication of suitable materials for these applications remain challenging, relying on resource-intensive exploratory science. A better approach might be to begin with the target macroscopic properties in mind and then systematically narrow the list of possible material precursors and synthetic methods through an optimization technique.

CEP: News Update

August
2014
News Update
New Materials Combine Ultralight Weight with Ultrahigh Strength; A Breakthrough for Redox Flow Batteries; Carbon Nanotubes Catalyze Inexpensive Hydrogen; Diabetes Microchip Is as Good as Gold; and more.

CEP: Institute News

May
2014
Institute News
Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety Wrap-Up; New Fellows; Professional Licensure and the Industrial Exemption; Member News

CEP: Material Matters - Understanding Polymer Weld Morphologies

July
2014
Material Matters
Heather Stine
Polymer and polymer-lined equipment has become more common in the chemical process industries (CPI) due to its cost-effective corrosion resistance in severe chemical service. Fluoropolymer-lined steel, high-density polyethylene (HDPE)-lined steel, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are examples of materials used for tanks, vessels, and other CPI equipment. Economic considerations demand that the life of this equipment be extended as long as is safely possible.

CEP: AIChE Journal Highlight - Zeolites Lose a Dimension but Gain in Performance

July
2014
Journal Highlight
Zeolites are widely used in the chemical process industries as catalysts and adsorbents. While the unique pore structure of zeolites is beneficial, many long-standing challenges in catalysis, adsorption, and membrane separations, as well as in nontraditional applications in energy storage and electronic and optical materials, cannot be met with the currently available porous materials.

CEP: Catalyzing Commercialization - A Biodegradable Plastic Made from Waste Methane

February
2014
Catalyzing Commercialization
What if we could make the Great Pacific Garbage Patch just disappear? What if plastics didn’t accumulate in our landfills? What if we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions while replacing up to 30% of the world’s plastics with a biodegradable substitute? Researchers have tried for decades to achieve these goals. One approach being taken is the development of an efficient production process for poly-hydroxyalkanoate (PHA) — a biodegradable polymer similar to the polypropylene used to make yogurt containers.

CEP: Catalyzing Commercialization - Living Plants: One-Stop Shop for Protein Manufacturing

July
2014
Catalyzing Commercialization
Chemical manufacturing facilities housing green plants perform all of the processes formerly handled by stainless steel equipment. Production is energy efficient, fueled by photosynthesis, as living plants secrete raw materials (e.g., high-purity spider silk proteins) for downstream production and processing. Thanks to Wisconsin-based ag-biotech startup PhylloTech, this surreal vision may not be so far-fetched.

CEP: News Update

October
2013
News Update
Crunching the Numbers on Grid-Scale Storage; Microbes Convert Waste into Electricity; Solar Cells Make the Right Connection; Engineered Tissue Mingles with Blood Vessels; and more.

Biorefinery Process Economics

October
2005
SBE Special Section
Gregory M. Bohlmann
With oil and natural gas prices surging, bio-based feedstocks are becoming increasingly competitive. This article examines, in depth, the technical and economic aspects of the biorefinery concept.

CEP: News Update

July
2014
News Update
Nanoparticles Detect Sulfur Content in Crude Oil; Putting Waste Heat to Work; New Process Prints Personalized Drugs; EPA to Cut CO2 from Power Plants; Microbes Convert Biodiesel Waste into Valuable Chemicals

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Persistence – Good or Bad?

July
2014
Process Safety Beacon
Some process safety incidents have occurred because operating personnel failed to recognize that a process was not responding as expected. They attempted to keep a process in operation by deviating from standard procedures, or put themselves in danger by attempting to correct an out-of-control process condition rather than evacuating.

CEP: Calendars

July
2014
Calendars
AIChE Meetings Calendar AIChE Education Calendar Webinars

CEP: Patent Update - Do You Qualify as a Co-Inventor?

July
2014
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
Co-inventorship on a patent provides several advantages to an individual, but a proper listing of inventors is both critical to the patent’s validity and can be challenged at any time. A recent case involving a General Electric patent illustrates some of the requirements of a co-inventor and the hurdles that an individual can face when asserting co-inventorship status after a patent has been issued.

CEP: AICHE Journal Highlight - A Broader Role for the Evolving Engineer

June
2014
Journal Highlight
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.

CEP: Calendars

June
2014
Calendars
AIChE Meetings Calendar; AIChE Education Calendar; Webinars; Web Forum

CEP: News Update

June
2014
News Update
Plastics with a Circulatory System for Regeneration; A Smart Hydrogel Never Overstays its Welcome; Nanoparticle Drugs Deliver 1-2-3 Punch; and more

Selecting Thermal Insulation

June
2014
Heat Transfer
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.

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - A Safety Device Gone Wrong

June
2014
Process Safety Beacon
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.

CEP: Institute News

June
2014
Institute News
New Fellows; AIChE Foundation News; Member News; 2013 Financial Statement

CEP: Process Automation Corner - Back to the Future on Energy

June
2014
Process Automation Corner
Terry McMahon
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.

CEP: Profile - Manu Prakash: Encouraging Curiosity-Driven Science

June
2014
Profile
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.

CEP: Catalyzing Commercialization - Ionic Liquids Charge Ahead as Battery Electrolytes

June
2014
Catalyzing Commercialization
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.

CEP: AIChE Journal Highlight - Unraveling the Drying Droplet Problem

May
2014
Journal Highlight
The familiar ring-shaped stain left behind after spilled coffee has dried represents a complex engineering problem involving principles of heat and mass transport, fluid mechanics, and surface phenomena (among others) whose solution has value well beyond spilled coffee, including the analysis of DNA microarrays, inkjet printing, and coating. In the May AIChE Journal review article, “Transport and Deposition Patterns in Drying Sessile Droplets,” Ronald Larson of the Univ. of Michigan examines this engineering problem — understanding the processes by which a liquid drop (containing nonvolatile solute or colloidal particles) on a surface evaporates and leaves behind the particles that form a stain.

CEP: News Update

May
2014
News Update
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.

An Oil Refinery Walk-Through

May
2014
Back To Basics
Tim Olsen
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.

CEP: YPOV - A New Graduate’s Lessons Learned

May
2014
YPOV
Samantha Schmidt
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...

Develop a Strategy for Material Selection

May
2014
Fluids and Solids Handling
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.

CEP: Process Safety Beacon - Major Spills and Environmental Incidents

May
2014
Process Safety Beacon
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.

CEP: Spotlight on Safety - Normalization of Deviation — Identify It, Correct It, Prevent It

May
2014
Spotlight on Safety
Louisa Nara
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.

CEP: Calendars

May
2014
Calendars
AIChE Meetings Calendar; AIChE Education Calendar; Webinars; Web Forum

CEP: Catalyzing Commercialization - Food-Safety Testing Gets a Much-Needed Makeover

May
2014
Catalyzing Commercialization
More than 75% of the world's food testing continues to rely on 120-yr-old cell-culture methods, which take days to produce results. New technology developed by scientists at Rheonix Inc., based in Ithaca, NY, is enabling a portable unit that greatly simplifies the testing through automation, providing results in hours instead of days and reducing costs. Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. has incorporated the Rheonix technology into a new generation of PCRbased rapid analysis for the food- and beverage-testing markets.

CEP: News Update

April
2014
News Update
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.

CEP: Catalyzing Commercialization - Turning a Problem into a Cure for Increased Ethanol Yield

January
2014
Catalyzing Commercialization
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.

CEP: Calendars

April
2014
Calendars
AIChE Meetings Calendar; AIChE Education Calendar; Webinars; Web Forums

CEP: AIChE Journal Highlight - Tribute to Founders: R. Byron Bird

April
2014
Journal Highlight
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.

Reduce Water Consumption through Recycling

April
2014
Environmental Management
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.
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