AIChE | The Global Home of Chemical Engineers

Harnessing Natural Energy

March
2008
Special Section
Travis W. Walker
Before solar and wind energy can be widely exploited, a method for storing the energy provided by these intermittent sources and releasing it as demand arises must be developed.

Keys to Bioreactor Selection

March
2002
Reactions and Separations
John A. Williams
A few basic types of bioreactor designs are used to produce a wide range of products, from antibiotics to foods to fuels. Here's how to pick the best options for your application.

Applying Bus Technologies in Process Control

December
2002
Instrumentation
Ed Smigo
Fieldbus technologies have become increasingly popular in process control applications. This article highlights the practical applications and economics of various buses, so that an engineer can choose the best one for his or her process.

Ensure Proper Design and Operation of Multi-Pass Trays

June
2005
Reactions and Separations
Mark Pilling
To function properly at optimum capacity and efficiency, multi-pass trays must be designed so that the liquid and vapor flows are properly balanced. This article provides guidance on how to achieve that.

Fundamentals of Effective Leadership

June
2006
Career Catalyst
Richard J. Kinsley
To become a leader people want to follow, focus on the team's objectives, avoid self-deception, build strong relationships, and enable others to achieve the team's goals.

Modular Mini-Plants: A New Paradigm

March
2007
Management
Shashank Shah
Modular design principles are well known, but have found only niche applications in the Chemical industry. This article outlines an innovative methodology, whereby plant and process design may be conducted in parallel using components with pre-...

Capturing CO2: Membrane Systems Move Forward

April
2009
Special Section
Suzanne Shelley
Membranes offer inherent advantages over absorption-based CO2 capture from post-combustion fluegas and pre-combustion syngas, but numerous design and scale-up challenges remain.

Converting Cellulose to Biofuels

March
2010
SBE Special Section
David Hogsett, Youngmi Kim, Michael R. Ladisch, Nathan S. Mosier, Eduardo Ximenes
Biochemical and thermochemical process technologies being developed to convert wood and other lignocellulosic feedstocks to liquid fuels will drive the transition from corn-based ethanol to advanced biofuels.

Nitrogen: A Security Blanket for the Chemical Industry

November
2011
Fluids and Solids Handling
Bill Carlson, Joe Dumoit, Paul Yanisko, Shiying Zheng
The benefits of nitrogen blanketing include improved process safety, better product quality, and longer equipment life. Here's how to achieve the desired safety or quality results while minimizing costs.

An Engineer’s Guide to Management of Change

March
2012
Back To Basics
R. Wayne Garland
Using a formal change procedure promotes safe operations and prevents injuries and deaths, and it will also favorably impact the bottom line.

Profiles of Success

August
2003
Special Section
See how these six high-level women in industry and academia got where they are today and what it's like to be a successful woman in a male-dominated field.

Managing Your Job Search

July
2003
Career Catalyst
Elizabeth Feehan
The key to effective job search is organization. Follow this plan to keep you campaign on track and keep track of your campaign.

Use Periodic Checks to Demonstrate Title V Compliance

February
2004
Environmental Management
Colleen McCarthy, John M. Beath
This hybrid technique of determining whether a plant is meeting its regulatory requirements helps overcome the pitfalls of action-tracking and compliance auditing.

To Engineer or Not? That is the Question

August
2005
Career Catalyst
Edward Yannul
The more important question is “how much to engineer?” Use this technique to evaluate the level of engineering effort required, and justified, for a project.

Cancer's Newest Deadly Foe

February
2006
SBE Special Section
Suzanne A. Shelley
An array of nanoscale developments are poised to revolutionize cancer diagnosis and drug discovery efforts, and create new ways to target the delivery of potent, often toxic drug therapies, while reducing their dose-limiting side effects.

Reduce Business Risk with a CMS

October
2006
Environmental Management
Robert F. Boland
A compliance management system (CMS) helps companies meet regulatory reporting requirements, improve environmental performance, reduce environmental compliance costs, and increase organizational efficiency. Here's a run-down of what to look for when...

Update

March
2012
News Update
Updates in this issue include: State of the Union Address Identifies Importance of Manufacturing and Energy to U.S. Economy Scorpions Inspire Tough Surface Nanorods Line Up for Assembly Nanosphere Structure Boosts Light Absorption Zeolite Catalyst...

Uncovering the Realities of Simulation, Part 2

June
2001
Computational Methods
Andrew  Vieler, Marco S. Satyro, Rajeev  Agarwal, Yau-Kun Li,  Oscar  Santollani
Simulation software is a commonly used design tool, thanks mainly to its availability on the desktop. However, one has to understand thermodynamic basics before accepting the desktop's final answer.

Optimize Control Room Communications

October
2001
Instrumentation
Brad A. Walker, James E. Lenhart, Karen D. Smith
Faced with more distractions than ever, operators need an environment that is conducive for dealing with abnormal, as well as normal, situations. Effective control room design can help.

Optimize Mixing by Selecting the Proper Baffles

February
2002
Fluids and Solids Handling
Julian B. Fasano, Kevin J. Myers, Mark F. Reeder
It is common knowledge that baffles promote better flow in an agitated vessel, but how to apply them and what kind to use take some ingenuity.

Efficiently Solve Complex Calculations

October
2003
Information Technology
Mordechai Shacham, Neima Brauner ,  Michael B. Cutlip
Reduce the chances of computational errors by following this technique, which combines the use of a standard spreadsheet with a numerical software package.

Recruit for Retention

April
2004
Career Catalyst
Partick Ropella
The most successful employee-retention programs begin with recruiting and hiring the individual who best matches the position and best fits into the company's culture.

Prevent Caking During Solids Handling

May
2005
Fluids and Solids Handling
Brian H. Pittenger, Herman Purutyan, Gabriel I. Tardos
Use these guidelines to avoid potential caking problems. The key steps are to select a material characterization method, identify the factors that can be feasibly controlled and conduct tests to confirm that process/handling changes yield the...

Prepare a Top-Notch Scope of Work

November
2005
Management
Stephen W. Maas
This comprehensive overview of what needs to go into a well-defined scope of work will be useful to chemical engineers who are new to project engineering and project management.

A Simple Approach to Vapor Pressure Prediction

January
2007
Reactions and Separations
Andrew J. DeDoes, Matthew D. Goetz, Michael J. Misovich
This method reproduces the vapor pressure predictions of the Soave-Redlich-Kwong and Peng-Robinson equation of state with a simple Antoine equation that uses constants derived from critical properties and the acentric factor.

Selecting Entrainers for Azeotropic Distillation

March
2009
Reactions and Separations
Madhura Chiplunkar, Vivek Julka, Lionel O’Young
This systematic methodology uses residue curve maps to identify and evaluate substances that can facilitate distillation by breaking an azeotrope.

Communicating the Cost of Product and Process Development

February
2010
Management
John Anderson
Decision-makers often require cost estimates for products and processes at the earliest stages of development — when many cost-determining factors remain uncertain. Identifying variables that impact cost estimates, and putting them in context, will...

How Does Your $alary Stack Up?

August
2002
Special Section
Betty Feehan
The median salary among chemical engineers is $84,000, and annual raises are averaging 4.8%.

Easily Assess Complex Safety Loops

March
2001
Instrumentation
Lawrence  Beckman
Many safety instrumented systems rely on dissimilar redundant field devices, and this can complicate required analyses. These equations will enable field personnel to handle such situations readily.

Success Strategies for the Mid-Career Engineer

August
2001
Career Catalyst
Elizabeth  Feehan
Here's how to take stock of your career and identify and explore a wide range of opportunities so you can decide where you want to go and develop a career plan for getting there.

Follow These Best Practices in Steam System Management

December
2001
Heat Transfer
David  Jaber, Fred L. Hart, Gilbert A. McCoy
These tips on how to improve steam generation, distribution and recovery can help a plant to increase its steam system efficiency by as much as 20-30%.

Fermentation Goes Large-Scale

January
2003
Special Section
Aristos Aristidou , J. J. Hahn , Pim van Hoek , Alex Patist
Designing an economically competitive and environmentally sustainable fermentation route means considering the downstream separations needed to capture the final product during the initial process design.

Troubleshooting Tangential Flow Filtration

June
2003
Reactions and Separations
Kent Iverson
Tangential flow filtration (TFF) is commonly used to concentrate and dialyze solutes. It generally involves the circulation of the feed solution over a filter surface. This article presents a brief overview of the principles governing TFF, and...

Formulating Production Planning Models

January
2004
Information Technology
Jeffrey D. Kelly
Optimize petroleum and petrochemical plant production by understanding the mathematical modeling behind nonlinear planning models.

Avoid Sulfolane Regeneration Problems

July
2004
Reactions and Separations
Donald F. Schneider
The regeneration of sulfolane, a common extraction solvent, is difficult. With proper attention to design and operation, problems can be minimized.

Match the Effort to the R&D Investment

January
2006
Career Catalyst
Kelly Ibsen
Using a phased engineering approach to guide R&D projects will improve efficiency and avoid costly experimental excursions.

Dividing-Wall Columns Find Greater Appeal

May
2007
News Feature
Gerald Parkinson
Conceived more than seven decades ago, dividing-wall columns are now only gaining widespread acceptance. The reasons— the drive to save energy and advances in computer technology that have overcome the burden of doing complex column internal designs.

How Will You Manage?

July
2008
Career Catalyst
Glen Rosentrater
Engineers typically don’t learn the “soft skills” of team and project management in school. Here is a game plan to help you supplement your technical expertise with effective leadership.

Find Mixing Success Through Failures - Part 2

December
2008
Fluids and Solids Handling
David S. Dickey, Gary K. Patterson
Understanding when and why mixing fails in the laboratory is often the only way of avoiding a similar failure in a production-scale reactor. Here we examine mixing in stirred-tank reactors and provide guidance on scale-up.

Improve Your Air Emissions Estimates

May
2009
Environmental Management
Jeffrey H. Siegell
Process plants must report emissions from an increasing number of sources. Use these pointers to prepare more-representative emissions inventories.

Ace the Interview

November
2009
Career Catalyst
Lisa L. Walker
Few situations can be more anxiety-provoking than a job interview. Although the skills required for a successful interview may not come naturally, they can be honed — with practice, introspection, and informed preparation.

Reduce Costs with Dividing-Wall Columns

May
2002
Reactions and Separations
Dennis O'Brien, Douglas A. Stewart, James W. Harris, Michael A. Schultz, Mohamed S.M. Shakur, Steven P. Rosenblum
These distillation columns can significantly reduce capital and energy expenses vs. conventional multicolumn arrangements.

Can We Believe the Simulation Results?

October
2002
Reactions and Separations
Henry Z. Kister
Be careful of these key issues that may generate differences between a distillation-tower simulation and its actual performance. Simulations do not always square with nuts-and-bolts reality.

Working with Non-Ideal Gases

March
2003
Fluids and Solids Handling
Jimmy Peress
Here are two proven methods for predicting gas compressibility factors.

Apply Solubility Theory for Process Improvements

March
2004
Reactions and Separations
Michael J. Gentilcore
For solid compounds that dissolve in solvents but do not ionize, the thermodynamics of solubility can provide valuable predictions and insights.

Form Nanoparticles via Controlled Crystallization

October
2008
Reactions and Separations
Robert J. Fisher, Thomai Panagiotou
This continuous bottom-up approach allows precise control of the crystallization process to achieve size, distribution and quality goals, as well as realize the benefits of process intensification.

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