Chemical Engineers are Improving Materials | AIChE

Chemical Engineers are Improving Materials

Last updated January 11, 2017

Materials science is one of the broadest and most active areas in chemical engineering. It involves the discovery, evaluation, and manipulation of useful properties in different substances. The outcome is an expanding array of materials that feature unique characteristics used for the development and fabrication of revolutionary new products.

Examples range from the everyday polyethylene milk bottle encountered in your local dairy case to Kevlar, the specialized plastic used in lightweight bulletproof vests. Each substance has been made useful through a unique blend of specific properties.


Chemical engineers have been responsible for the availability of many novel materials, most notably seen in the rapid evolution of plastics. These developments have enabled enormous advances in such fields as computers, telecommunications, and biomedicine. More


Chemical engineers, such as R. Byron Bird, Donald Paul, and Robert Langer, solve complex materials-related problems. These three pioneers in particular have designed versatile new materials and innovative, society-altering products. More


Chemical engineers continue to push the envelope in the creation of increasingly sophisticated new materials. Exciting possibilities are emerging in the development of materials capable of surviving under extreme conditions and of working effectively in nano-size. More