Chemical Engineering Practice

How Can "Lean" Help You Achieve Better Results?

March 2, 2011
Have you been hearing the term Lean used in your organization lately? Are you curious about how principles such as 7Ws and 5Ss can help you deliver better results? Most...

4th AIChE Regional Process Technology Conference

August 1, 2012
The South Texas Section of the AIChE, in partnership with AIChE HQ, is hosting its 4th Regional Process Technology Conference at the South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference...

June 2015 CEP Preview

June 16, 2015
Chemical engineers continue to earn more than the average U.S. worker. The median salary of survey respondents is $127,000 — a 5.8% increase over 
the median reported in 2013.

Excelling with Excel #4 – Indirect References

July 28, 2010
Hi guys. It's Greg the orange cat again with a (very short) Microsoft Excel tip. Tip#4: Indirect References Much of Excel's usefulness comes from an ability to reference cells in...

Looking Back: Oil Exploration Before Big Data

April 11, 2013
Watch as George Laguros, Geophysicist for the Marathon Oil Corporation in Houston, Texas, talks about analyzing seismic data in the present and reminisces about the days of...

Have You Heard of Wireless Electricity?

October 27, 2010
Think about it. Everything else is wireless. Why do we need cables to provide our electricity? From TEDtalksDirector : Eric Giler wants to untangle our wired lives with cable-free...

Highlight a Benefit: AIChE eLibrary

February 7, 2012
Quick! Tell me how Stratco has improved its sulfuric acid alkylation process in the last twenty years. Or design and specify a heat exchanger so it can put out to vendors for bid...

Water: Industrial Discharge Permits

September 6, 2011
Environmental management groups are cracking down on industries by imposing tighter discharge limits and making industries everywhere contemplate in-house pretreatment programs—...

BP Building New Houston Supercomputing Center

December 26, 2012
British Petroleum is spending $100 million to replace its current data center with what it says will be the largest supercomputer for commercial research in the world. The company...

July 2015 CEP Preview

July 6, 2015
In this issue, get tips for selecting sensors for your plant's safety instrumented system (SIS), a guide to mixing, some of the latest development in biological engineering, and...

Cool Tool To Keep Your Time Zones Straight

August 19, 2010
Do you work with people in different parts of the world? If you sometimes have a tough time remembering what time or day it is where those friends or colleagues are, you don't...

Video Tutorial: Degrees of Freedom

September 23, 2014
What is a degree-of-freedom analysis, and how can you use it to analyze engineering problems? Brush up on basics in this short video tutorial.

AIChE Journal Articles Make Wiley's Top 20 List

March 25, 2015
Articles from the AIChE Journal, Biotechnology Progress, Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy, and Process Safety Progress are at the top of the list of "hottest...

Selecting Sensors for Safety Instrumented Systems

July
2015
Back To Basics
Jessica Lo, Erik Mathiason, Chad McGuire
A plant’s safety instrumented system (SIS) is critical in preventing process safety incidents. Use this guide to help choose the proper sensors for your plant’s SIS.

Energy Management and Efficiency for the Process Industries

April, 2015
Editors Alan P. Rossiter and Beth P. Jones have gathered material that lays out the underlying management and technical issues that drive successful industrial energy management program. With a foreword by the Hon. Charles D. McConnell, former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, the book provides a clear understanding of both scope of the opportunity and the available methodologies for capturing energy savings.

My Steam Trap Is Good — Why Doesn’t It Work?

April
2015
Heat Transfer
James R. Risko
Even a relatively new steam trap in seemingly good condition can fail if it is applied incorrectly. Here’s how to recognize and avoid situations that can lead to a failure.

Account for Uncertainty with Robust Control Design - Part 2

December
2014
Instrumentation
Sachi Dash, Rakesh Joshi, J. Ward MacArthur, Konstantinos Tsakalis
Robust control can be applied to design controllers that can handle process uncertainty. Learn how to use identification experiments to obtain estimates of this uncertainty.

Biomass as a Sustainable Energy Source for the Future: Fundamentals of Conversion Processes

November, 2014
Through contributions from leading experts in diverse field, this book features the latest biomass characterization techniques, biochemical and thermochemical conversion processes, the development of integrated biorefineries, and how to mitigate the environmental risks associated with using biomass for fuel. It includes examples, problems and projects which make it suitable for undergraduate and graduate education as well.

Account for Uncertainty with Robust Control Design - Part 1

November
2014
Instrumentation
Sachi Dash, Rakesh Joshi, J. Ward MacArthur, Konstantinos Tsakalis
The dynamic behavior of your process can never be modeled perfectly. However, process controllers can be designed to handle this so-called uncertainty.

CEP: Journal Highlight - A Path Toward the Perfect Chemical Reactor

October
2014
Journal Highlight
The ability to control chemical reactions to efficiently and selectively produce the desired products has vastly improved over the past decades, with increasingly sophisticated techniques now available to dictate the outcome of these reactions. While much progress has been made, much more is needed to realize a perfect reactor, which would allow for full control of chemical transformations at the molecular level. In the October AIChE Journal Perspective article, “Practical Challenges in Energy-Based Control of Molecular Transformations in Chemical Reactors,” Andrzej Stankiewicz, Izabela Szydłowska Franssen, Daniel Irimia, and Georgios Stefanidis of Delft Univ. of Technology expand on this topic of molecular control in chemical reactors.

Introduction to Solid-Fluid Equilibrium Modeling

September
2014
Back To Basics
Chau-Chyun Chen, Yifan Hao, Sheik Tanveer
This article introduces the thermodynamic property models that are commonly used in process simulators to perform solid-liquid equilibrium and solid-supercritical fluid equilibrium calculations.

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: Process Automation Corner - The U.S. Process Automation Enterprise Looks to the Future

March
2014
Process Automation Corner
Terry McMahon
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.

Ten Distillation Revamp Pitfalls to Avoid

February
2014
Back To Basics
Doug Bouck
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.

CEP: Patent Update - An On-Sale Bar to Patentability Can Arise in Various Ways

February
2014
Patent Update
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.”

Introduction to Pressure Measurement

March
2014
Back To Basics
Eugen Gassmann
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.

CEP: Process Automation Corner - Real-Time Analytics for Pharmaceutical Quality Control

December
2013
Process Automation Corner
Terry McMahon
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), under the leadership of Ajaz Hussain, then the Associate Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), launched the Process Analytical Technology (PAT) Initiative a decade ago, it set in motion a multifaceted search for a more scientifically based approach to pharmaceutical manufacturing and quality assurance. Hussain’s call for more PAT in the industry’s manufacturing operations was really more of a challenge to current practices than a proscriptive program. The pharmaceutical industry has responded with a renewed emphasis on understanding the scientific basis of its processes, and toward that end has made significant investments in personnel and tools.

Optimize Energy Use in Industrial Cooling Systems

November
2013
Heat Transfer
Michael R. Muller, Michael B. Muller, Prakash Rao
Potential energy savings for chilled-water cooling systems are often overlooked. A detailed review of the cooling system along with the appropriate temperature and flowrate measurements will help you identify ways to cash in on these savings.

Consider Single-Use Equipment for Biomanufacturing

November
2013
Fluids and Solids Handling
Roman Rodriguez
Traditional stainless steel equipment is increasingly being replaced with disposable units in new and existing processes alike, enabling more flexibility, higher efficiencies, and lower costs. Follow the guidance offered here to determine the most-effective single-use approach for your facility.

Calculate Financial Indicators to Guide Investments

September
2013
Back To Basics
John Anderson, Andy Fennell
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.

CEP: Process Automation Corner - Process Simulation and Process Control

September
2013
Process Automation Corner
Terry McMahon
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...

Chemistry Simulation Drives Clean Technology Progress

August
2008
Fluids and Solids Handling
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.

Developing Crystallization Processes

March
2011
Reactions and Separations
Christianto Wibowo
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.

Apply Six Sigma for Process Improvement and Problem-Solving

March
2011
Back To Basics
George Liebermann
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.

Evaluating Centrifugal Compressor Performance

July
2013
Fluids and Solids Handling
AIChE’s Equipment Testing Procedures Committee; Centrifugal Compressor Procedure Subcommittee
Follow these practical tips to determine the condition of your centrifugal compressors.

Green Reactors

August
2008
Reactions and Separations
Mukesh Doble
Compare these microreactor technologies, along with the intrinsic advantages and disadvantages of miniaturization, to achieve process intensification.

Chemical Reactivity Hazard Training CD-ROM

May, 2006
The Chemical Reactivity Hazards CD is a self-paced teaching tool intended to teach people how to recognize and manage reactive chemical hazards. It provides an introduction to the topic and many online links to additional resources. The CD has three main objectives: Introduce reactive chemical...

Deflagration and Detonation Flame Arresters

May, 2002
Designed for chemical engineers and other technical personnel involved in the design, operation, and maintenance of facilities and equipment where deflagration and detonation flame arresters (DDFAs) may be required, this book fosters effective application and operation of DDFAs through treatment of...

Making EHS an Integral Part of Process Design

June, 2001
This book presents an approach—termed MERITT (Maximizing EHS Returns by Integrating Tools and Talents)—for enhancing process development through better integration of environmental, health, and safety evaluations. It draws upon critical components of inherent safety, pollution prevention, green...

Avoiding Static Ignition Hazards in Chemical Operations

September, 1999
Written by Laurence Britton, who has over 20 years' experience in the fields of static ignition and process fire and explosion hazards research, this resource addresses an area not extensively covered in process safety standards or literature: understanding and reducing potential hazards associated...

Guidelines for Process Safety in Batch Reaction Systems

September, 1999
Batch reaction systems pose unique challenges to process safety managers because they do not operate in a steady state. The sequence of processing steps, and frequent start-ups and shutdowns, increase the possibility of human errors and equipment failures. And, since batch plants are often designed...

Guidelines for Design Solutions for Process Equipment Failures

August, 1998
While there is no "perfect" solution or absolute zero risk, engineering design can significantly reduce risk potential in the CPI. In Guidelines for Design Solutions to Process Equipment Failures, industry experts offer their broad experience in identifying numerous solutions to the more common...

Selecting a Centrifugal Compressor

June
2013
Back To Basics
James M. Sorokes
End users must specify certain performance requirements when requesting a quote for a new centrifugal compressor. Understand your process, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each centrifugal compressor configuration, in order to choose the optimal centrifugal compressor for your application.

Evaluating Distillation Column Performance

June
2013
Reactions and Separations
AIChE’s Equipment Testing Procedures Committee, Tray and Packed Columns Procedure Revision Subcommittee
Follow these guidelines to assess the capacity and efficiency of distillation columns containing trays or packing.

Environmental Law for Chemical Engineers

February
2012
Back To Basics
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.

CEP: Patent Update - An Invention's Nonobviousness May Not Be Obvious

April
2013
Patent Update
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...

Determining Torque Split for Multiple Impellers in Slurry Mixing

February
2012
Fluids and Solids Handling
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...
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