What’s Trending at AIChE: Highlights from July & August 2019

Welcome to AIChE’s What’s Trending feature, where you'll discover some of our most-viewed and read content from prior months. Check out the video above for a short recap.

Want to be featured in our next AIChE trend report? Make sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and YouTube and use hashtag #AIChEtrends when you share.

Readers' Top Pick: Practice Makes Perfect: Using Internships to Advance Your Career

Internships are one of the best ways to prepare for your future career. As aspiring engineers, putting knowledge into practice is fundamental to what it means to be an engineer.

Gaining work experience provides insight into what it means to be part of the workforce and how you will fit into workplace culture. Internships can also help you decide what jobs you may want and what jobs you do not want. Sometimes internships can even lead to a full-time job. Read more

We Announced: Competition Launch Will Honor Best K-12 STEM Presentations

A new AIChE competition will showcase interactive experiments that demonstrate the wonders of chemical engineering and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to K–12 students.

The first AIChE K–12 STEM Outreach Competition is slated for November 10, 2019, at the AIChE Annual Meeting and Student Conference in Orlando, FL. AIChE members—as individuals or as representatives of student chapters, local professional sections, or other AIChE groups —are invited to enter for a slot at the competition. Selected entrants will present tabletop demonstrations to conference attendees, as well as to an audience of grade school students, parents, and teachers visiting from the Orlando area.

The competition is being organized by AIChE’s K-12 Committee and Executive Student Committee, and is funded by the AIChE Foundation. Outstanding entries will receive prizes and become part of an online AIChE archive that will benefit parents, teachers, and volunteers engaged in K–12 and STEM education. Read more

2019 AIChE Beer Brewing Competition

With the support of the AIChE Foundation, AIChE and the Young Professionals Committee, come showcase your chemical engineering skills by participating in the AIChE Beer Brewing Competition (ABBC). 

ABBC will allow AIChE Local Sections to create teams of two to five professional members over the age of 21 (undergraduate students not eligible to participate), with at least one member under the age of 35, to brew their own beer in any BJCP style category. Professional beer-tasting judges will then score beers according to a standard beer-tasting rubric.

Teams will also flex their chemical engineering muscles through a poster competition describing their processes and creative design that has gone into their brew. The prizes are big, the processes are batch, and the competition is exciting. Read more

We Shared: Rust and Saltwater Used to Generate Electricity

Researchers at Caltech recently announced that rust and saltwater could be used to generate electricity at a level of efficiency that could rivals or surpass solar cells.

Researchers found that when saltwater flows over a thin film of rust, or iron oxide, electricity results. Unlike interactions between other metal compounds and saltwater, however, this reaction is not a chemical reaction, where one or more compounds are converted to new compounds. Here, the electricity is the product of an electrokinetic effect, where the kinetic energy of flowing saltwater results in electricity. Read more

Singapore’s Food for Thought

By reducing, reusing, and recycling, we hope to mitigate our landfill impact as much as possible. We are careful to recycle any cans or bottles that we use throughout the day and often take the time to separate paper from plastic waste. But in most homes, workplaces, and city streets, there is no special recycling bin for food.

Food is discarded as garbage for several reasons: it may be inedible (bones, peels, and shells), expired or stale, spoiled, or simply unwanted. Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) reports that in 2017, the country threw away 809,800 metric tons of food, which accounted for 10% of total waste generated in the country.

This corresponds to a 40% increase in food waste over the past 10 years. Due to the country’s rising population and growing economy, the amount of food waste in Singapore is projected to further increase in the coming decades. Read more

RAPID Spotlight: Sustainability and Process Intensification

Since the late 1980s, the concept of sustainability has grown from corporate catchword to competitive advantage. According to a 2011 McKinsey Report, corporate reputation was supplanted as the most frequently cited reason for actively pursuing sustainability strategies. As data emerged, companies began viewing sustainability as the key to improving operational efficiency, reducing waste and lowering costs. Sustainability not only led to leaner operations but also better bottom-line results.

Spurred on by stricter governmental regulations, activist shareholders and global concern over climate change risk, companies today are doing significantly more to safeguard resources. Nevertheless, there is still more to be done. We spoke with Professor David R. Shonnard (Sustainable Futures Institute and Dept. of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Technological University) about future trends and issues; and, how the RAPID Manufacturing Institute is helping transform processes in the chemicals, oil and gas, and pulp and paper industries, thereby enhancing sustainability. Read more

We Discussed on AIChE Engage

Your top engage discussion was about Planet Earth Material and Energy Balance. Join the conversation. Other popular discussions on Engage include:

We Networked at Conferences

We learned, networked, and shared at recent conferences, such as the International Congress on Sustainability Science & Engineering (ICOSSE '19), Carbon Management Technology Conference 2019 (CMTC 2019), Foundations of Process Analytics and Machine Learning (FOPAM), Enterprise and Infrastructure Resilience Workshop, and 2019 India Student Regional Conference.

Make sure to save the date, submit an abstract, and register for an upcoming conference here.

Stay up to date with AIChE and join the discussion with the hashtag #AIChEtrends.