(643h) More about the Tendencies of Chemical Engineering in the Last 45 Years. What Is the Future?

Authors: 
Serrano, B. Sr., Universidad Autonoma de Zacatecas.
Garcia Saucedo, B. A. Sr., Universidad Autonoma de Zacatecas
This contribution is a continuation of that of the AICHE 2015, and now the studied span of time was extended since 1970 to the date. The general statements of the 2015-material were that, according to the consulted sources, before the year 2000, chemical engineering received the beneficial of the advances in computation and internet, but in general terms, the traditional topics of chemical engineering were studied, such as: Chemical kinetics and reactors, catalysis and surface phenomena, unit operations, chemical thermodynamics, transport phenomena, simulation and optimization, chemical processes, process control, among others.

More or less after 2000, it is notorious that researchers started to have interest in new topics, where chemical engineering can have influence or can take advantage of the knowledge of other careers. Each time chemical engineers are eager and available to face and deal with topics from other careers and disciplines, and this fact makes chemical engineering stronger, due it extends its influence on other careers. Besides, other disciplines started to have interest in using the principles of chemical engineering  and as a result, it is reinforcing and sharing its topics with other careers. In other words, the apparent walls and boundaries of chemical engineering with other careers started to fall or disappear.

The new lines, among others, studied in the last fifteen years or more have been: Environment, bioengineering, nuclear engineering, material science, thin films, renewable energies, food science, pharmacy, medicine, fuel cellshydrogen powernanotechnology, biotechnology, etc. Now, using the principles and theories of thermodynamics, transport phenomena, numerical methods, fluid dynamics, unit operations, chemical reactors, balances of mass, energy and entropy, etc, it is possible to have contribution in the purification of the environment, the production of alternative energies, food, artificial kidneys, etc.

In this 2016 - contribution, a deeper research was carried out, inasmuch as more information from internet was collected and analyzed, contents of more indexed reviews were searched, and this allowed distinguishing the tendency and the focus of each review.

The academic programs of chemical engineering of more universities in the five continents were consulted, and in this moment, although roughly, it is possible to confirm that from one geographic region to other, the focus of chemical engineering can change. The curriculum vitae of more researches were consulted; the research lines of more institutes were also investigated.

All of this allows saying that chemical Engineering has been changing and broadening its tendency and influencing in the last fifteen years in a significant form. Of course these new lines started before. Chemical Engineers, researchers, institutions, etc., are focusing their branches on the use of alternative feedstock such as biomass and waste to produce chemicals and energy. Their goal is to use green chemistry with less carbon in the industrial processes and sustainable processing.

The reasons of all these changes are because time is very dynamic, each time the social needs demand more energy, new food, different entertainment, new cloth, etc. The way to obtain and process the natural resources each time is different and requests more technologies and the interaction among the different disciplines must be enhanced because the industrial processes are each time more complex.  Now the contamination must be avoided, there are stricter regulations about the environment. Search for new energies must be performed due hydrocarbons are going to be depleted. These external natural and social factors have been and will be the guide of the activities and research in chemical engineering for the next years.