AIChE | The Global Home of Chemical Engineers

Streamlining Crystallization Process Design

January
2004
Fluids and Solids Handling
Christianto  Wibowo, Lionel O'Young, Ka M. Ng
Use phase diagrams to develop reliable crystallization processes quickly and cost effectively.

CEP: Catalyzing Commercialization - Turning a Problem into a Cure for Increased Ethanol Yield

January
2014
Catalyzing Commercialization
The beneficial microbes that convert milk into yogurt and act in our guts to promote digestive health cause big problems in ethanol fermentation tanks. These lactic acid bacteria (LAB) proliferate in ethanol feedstock and inhibit growth of ethanol-producing yeast — which slows down fermentation, reduces biofuel yield by as much as 20% per pound of input material, and results in production shutdowns due to contamination. The most common control measures, chemical antimicrobials such as antibiotics, do not eliminate LAB. Additionally, the potential for antibiotic residue limits the marketability of dried distillers grains, a byproduct of the fermentation process used as animal feed. Ecolyse Inc., based in College Station, TX, is working to address this issue by developing products to treat bacterial contamination.

Nuclear Renaissance: A Flawed Proposition

July
2010
Special Section
Anthony D'Agostino, Benjamin K. Sovacool
Nuclear power has never been safe and it never will be. Efficiency gains and investment in renewable sources of energy will be sufficient to power the planet without resorting to nuclear reactors.

CEP: Chem Economics - Plastic Additives are Poised for Growth

July
2012
Chem Economics
T. Kevin Swift
Not all polymers are useful and/or processable in their natural form. Thus, functional chemicals are added to polymer resins to facilitate processing and to enhance, extend, or otherwise modify the properties of the plastic products manufactured from polymer resins. Such plastic additives represent a $4.6-billion business in the U.S.

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.

YPOV: Do’s and Don’ts of International Business Travel

July
2016
YPOV
Emily Frangenberg
Preparing for an international business trip can be much more stressful than a domestic trip. Along with arranging an itinerary, packing your essentials, and coordinating your flights and hotels, you also need to worry about being jet lagged, maintaining proper etiquette, and acquiring the proper visas and other documents needed for travel.

Choose the Right Gas Sensor

September
2009
Instrumentation
Sandra Barnes
Selecting a sensor for continuous monitoring involves many considerations. This article discusses the types of sensors available, their applicability and limitations, and how to choose an appropriate sensor to protect people and equipment.

Bridge the Gap with Semicontinuous Distillation

August
2001
Reactions and Separations
James R. Phimister ,  Warren D. Seider
This processing strategy combines the advantages of batch and continuous operation, providing flexibility and efficiency in a single design.

What's Your Problem Solving Style?

August
2004
Career Catalyst
Jack Hipple
Understand how you and others solve problems, and use that knowledge to cultivate organizational relationships and improve individual and team efforts.

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.

Understand Pilot-Plant Design Specifications

May
2016
Plant Design
Adam Whalley, P.Eng.,
Although pilot- and commercial-scale plants may appear similar, they must be designed with different objectives in mind. Find out how the design criteria for pilot and commercial plants differ, and why commercial specifications should not be applied to pilot plants.

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.

CEP: Catalyzing Commercialization - A Biodegradable Plastic Made from Waste Methane

February
2014
Catalyzing Commercialization
What if we could make the Great Pacific Garbage Patch just disappear? What if plastics didn’t accumulate in our landfills? What if we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions while replacing up to 30% of the world’s plastics with a biodegradable substitute? Researchers have tried for decades to achieve these goals. One approach being taken is the development of an efficient production process for poly-hydroxyalkanoate (PHA) — a biodegradable polymer similar to the polypropylene used to make yogurt containers.

Career Corner: Brush Up on Your Interview Skills

June
2016
Career Corner
Loraine Kasprzak
Are you considering changing jobs? You may think that with an updated resumé and rehearsed answers to standard questions such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” you are ready to interview for that next opportunity. Not so fast. Today,...

Editorial: Be a Good Employee — Take a Vacation

June
2016
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
Summer vacation season is here! Will you be taking a vacation this year? According to a survey conducted by Skift, a travel industry intelligence platform, 40% of Americans did not take a single day of vacation in 2015.

CCUS: Utilizing CO2 to Reduce Emissions

June
2016
On The Horizon
Marcius Extavour, Paul Bunje
Converting carbon dioxide emissions into valuable products is an exciting concept for the chemical processing industries (CPI).

New Products: June 2016

June
2016
New Products
Product Focus: Instrumentation Thermal Calibrator Works in the Field or in the Lab The PIEcal Model 525B is an automated calibrator for industrial temperature sensors that accommodates resistance temperature detectors (RTDs) and thermocouples with...

Ethics — Examining Your Engineering Responsibility

February
2015
Career Catalyst
Deborah Grubbe
Engineering ethics frequently has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with communication, thought and decision-making patterns, and conflicts around time and money.

Patent Update: Can a Patent Be Infringed Before It Issues?

June
2016
Patent Update
Henry Heines
How long does a U.S. utility patent remain in force? If asked this question, many might say 20 years. This is not correct, however. The term of a patent is the period of time extending from the issue date of the patent to 20 years from the date on...

Big Data Analytics: Meet the Authors

March
2016
Special Section
Richard D. Braatz / Leo H. Chiang / Lloyd F. Colegrove / Salvador GarcÍa Muñoz / Chaitanya Khare / John F. MacGregor / Marco S. Reis / Mary Beth Seasholtz / David White

Profile: Cultivating Teamwork as an Engineer and Volunteer

June
2016
Profile
As a biochemical engineer with over two decades of experience, an AIChE board member, and a Coast-Guard-licensed tall-ship captain, Gregory Frank has a deep appreciation of teamwork and the importance of being open to the perspectives and insights...

CEP: Editorial - Navigating Ethical Dilemmas

February
2015
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
It seems not a day passes without news reports of a politician or corporate executive taking bribes, engaging in insider trading, or getting caught up in some other ethical dilemma. As engineers, though, we will more likely find ourselves in situations that have subtler, less-obvious ethical undertones.

Technical Entity Trends: Growing Research in Plant Technologies

June
2016
Technical Entity Trends
Gabriel Levesque-Tremblay
Plant synthetic biology is an emerging field that combines engineering principles with plant biology to develop technologies for bioengineering plants. Plant bioengineers are responsible for the emergence of new technologies related to medical...

Humanitarian Chemical Engineering

April
2015
Career Catalyst
Jeremy D. Bendik-Keymer, Nwaynay Hlaing, Daniel Lacks, Evelyn B. Taboada
A broader view of ethics and professional responsibility considers the engineer’s impact on humanity.

Spotlight on Safety: Prepare to be Safe at a First Job or Internship

May
2016
Spotlight on Safety
Louisa Nara
If you are a new graduate starting your first job or a student beginning a summer internship at a chemical plant, laboratory, or manufacturing facility, this might be your first time working in the presence of heavy machinery and chemicals. Although...

Books

May
2016
Books
Inherent Safety at Chemical Sites: Reducing Vulnerability to Accidents and Terrorism Through Green Chemistry Paul T. Anastas and David G. Hammond, Elsevier, New York, NY, $49.95, 134 pages, Oct. 2015, ISBN: 978-0-128-04190-1 Accidental or deliberate...

YPOV: Persuade Your Boss to Send You to an AIChE Conference

May
2016
YPOV
Giselle Schlegel
The wealth of information and knowledge that you can gain at an AIChE conference is extraordinary. At every turn, professionals, graduate students, and undergraduates are sharing their ideas and accomplishments with other conference-goers. The week...

Preparing for a Successful Energy Assessment

May
2016
Back To Basics
Thomas R. Theising
If your facility has an upcoming energy assessment, you might be overwhelmed with the list of things you need to do, data you need to organize, and people you need to contact. This article streamlines the planning process and recommends steps you can take to optimize your facility’s energy costs.

Process Safety Beacon: Prevent Repeat Incidents

May
2016
Process Safety Beacon
On Jan. 29, 2016, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) issued a report and video animation of an April 17, 2013, explosion in an agricultural chemical storage facility in West, TX. The explosion caused 15 fatalities, more...

Letters

April
2016
Letters
Thoughts On Grammar and Gender I came across your editorial “An Editor Changes Their Mind about They ” ( CEP , Feb. 2016, p. 3). I can say that I read it with great pleasure. Though I already use “they” now and then (on the strength of such classic...

Editorial: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

May
2016
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
Many leaders and managers consider Stephen Covey’s best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, required reading. Three articles in this issue evoke Covey’s Habit 2: begin with the end in mind.

Consider Moving to Fixed Valves

May
2016
Reactions and Separations
Scott Hebert, Neil Sandford
CPI companies are switching to fixed valves despite a slight loss in operational flexibility. Fixed valves offer better reliability, fouling resistance, and more robust valve designs.

New Products: May 2016

May
2016
New Products
Product Focus: Heat Transfer Heat Exchanger Delivers Hot Water On Demand The EasiHeat domestic hot water (DHW) system incorporates Spirax Intelligent Monitoring System (S.I.M.S) technology to deliver a constant supply of hot water at a stable...

Profile: Improving Earth and Reaching for Mars

April
2016
Profile
As a chemical engineer for NASA at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Annie Meier has put five years of effort into creating solutions to some of the most pressing problems that astronauts — and even society — will encounter. “The technologies we produce for space can help our planet Earth as well,” she says. “We need to think of Earth as our spacecraft. How can we live here without damaging it with polluting gases and harmful byproducts?”

Career Corner: Transitioning to a Career in Sales Engineering

April
2016
Career Corner
Loraine Kasprzak
Does the business side of chemical engineering capture your interest? Are you drawn to a hands-on role with customers, so that you can help them with their technical and business challenges? If you answered yes to either of those questions, consider a career in technical sales.

Leveraging Energy Management for Water Conservation

April
2016
Critical Issues
Sharon Nolen, P.E.
Growing concerns about the availability of clean water are driving companies to include water conservation in their sustainability initiatives. Instead of reinventing the wheel, adapt your energy-management program for water conservation.

Process Safety Beacon: Plugged Flame Arrester Causes Explosion

April
2016
Process Safety Beacon
In Safety Alert No. 290 (Oct. 2010), the U.S. Dept. of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) explains an incident in which an explosion ruptured two oil tanks on an offshore platform. The explosion caused about $500,000 worth of damage and approximately 1,200 gal (4.5 m3) of oil to spill into the sea.

Editorial: Swimming Against the Tide: Making Water Management a Priority

April
2016
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
Just after I finished reading Sharon Nolen’s Critical Issues article, “Leveraging Energy Management for Water Conservation” (pp. 41–47), the headline of a New York Times op-ed piece by Charles Fishman, “The Water Data Drought,” caught my attention...

An Introduction to Mammalian Cell Culture

April
2016
Back To Basics
Tung S. Le, Meghan McCann, Samira M. Azarin, Dr. Wei-Shou Hu
Mammalian cell culture is at the core of biomanufacturing therapeutic proteins and viral vaccines. Find out how mammalian cells are derived and cultivated, and what opportunities this field holds.

Making Sense of Combustible-Dust Hazard Analysis

April
2016
Safety
Michelle Murphy
Several standards on combustible dust contain provisions for conducting process hazard analyses. This article summarizes the requirements and presents a simple approach to meet them.

Material Matters: Disappearing Materials in Aging Plants

April
2016
Material Matters
Kirk Richardson
Replacing materials and equipment as they corrode or reach the end of their service life is one of the challenges of managing an aging plant. When a material or part is no longer available because the supplier discontinued the product line, was acquired by another company, or went out of business, it can be difficult to find another source or suitable replacement.

Prevent Caking of Bulk Solids

April
2016
Fluids and Solids Handling
Greg Mehos, P.E.
Understanding the mechanisms behind caking, identifying key process variables and product specifications, and testing samples to predict the increase in cohesive strength of a powder over time are key to preventing and solving caking problems.

New Products: April 2016

April
2016
New Products
Product Focus: Safety Equipment Absorbent Pads Clean Up Drips and Spills Oil Eater Naturals is a line of ecofriendly absorbent pads, rolls, and socks designed to help users meet environmental, health, and safety requirements. The oil-only pads and...

Books

April
2016
Books
Optimization Methods in Metabolic Networks Costas D. Maranas and Ali R. Zomorrodi, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ, $125, 288 pages, Feb. 2016, ISBN: 978-1-119-02849-9 Analysis and redesign of metabolic networks often requires the calculation of...

2019 AIChE Annual Meeting

November 10-15, 2019
The AIChE Annual Meeting is the premier educational forum for chemical engineers interested in innovation and professional growth. Academic and industry experts will cover wide range of topics relevant to cutting-edge research, new technologies, and emerging growth areas in chemical engineering.

Optimization Methods in Metabolic Networks

March, 2016
This book provides a tutorial on the computational tools that use mathematical optimization concepts and representations for the curation, analysis and redesign of metabolic networks. Such analysis and redesign often requires the calculation of product yield, gene essentiality prediction,...

Process Safety Beacon: Hydrate Hazards

January
2016
Process Safety Beacon
Water can be a hazard in process plants. When water is mixed with some materials, typically gases but also liquids, it can form a crystaline, ice-like solid. This solid is called a hydrate. When a hydrate forms, it can plug piping, instrument connections, valves, and other equipment, which causes process upsets that may be hazardous. Hydrogen sulfide, acetylene, methyl mercaptan, chlorine, vinyl fluoride, carbon dioxide, ethylene, methane, ethane, natural gas, and other hydrocarbon gases can form hydrates.

Editorial: I See Your Point

March
2016
Editorial
Cynthia Mascone
I hear what you’re saying. I catch your drift. How do you express understanding? Most of us have a preferred communication and learning style — visual, auditory, kinesthetic. Some literature includes a fourth style, reading/writing. To deliver a...

Navigating Oil Price Volatility

January
2016
Business
David Burns, Jason McLinn, Mark Porter
After several years of stability, oil prices plummeted to record lows in mid-2014. This, along with increased natural gas production in North America, has radically changed the basic economics of the chemical industry.

Big Data: What Is It?

March
2016
Special Section
David White
Big data can pave the way to greater business and operational insight. New approaches and technologies are poised to help you navigate your journey.

Process Safety Beacon: Safety Devices Used as Control Devices

March
2016
Process Safety Beacon
A volunteer at a vintage railroad tourist attraction describes how he prepares a steam locomotive for operation by building up the fire to warm the firebox and increasing the boiler pressure. He explains that he knows that the locomotive is ready...

Process Safety Beacon: Overflowing Tanks

February
2016
Process Safety Beacon
Although the operations in your storage tank farm may not seem to be very complex, they may actually be more complicated than you think. There may be many interconnections between tanks. You may have to put material in tanks that are already...

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