What is Chemical Engineering?

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

Written By: Urvi Bhuwania

What is Chemical Engineering? Chemical Engineering is a field of engineering that focuses on manufacturing and designing systems and procedures to conduct the production of chemicals, and chemically derived products.

Chemical engineers are also crucial in driving many of the on-site operations that occur at installments like plants, refineries, and pharmaceuticals. Because of their frequency at manufacturing industries, a lot of chemical engineers also have some background in structural engineering, along with chemistry, biology, math, physics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, material and energy balances, chemical reaction kinetics and reactor design, and process design.

Engineers in this field focus on utilizing raw materials to form refined products designed for public use. This involves the analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each material, the interactions between different materials, and the safety issues that could arise with each product. Consequently, their works range from the production of synthetic rubber and gasoline to laundry detergent to the synthesization of drugs from microorganisms and enzymes. They are also significant in advancements regarding health care, waste disposal, food processing, and weaponry for national defense. With some of the more recent environmental problems, the focus of chemical engineers has also been forced to drift slightly from profit. Engineers now also work on combating pollution by analyzing the environmental impacts of a certain product, and finding more efficient ways to use energy and gas.

Most chemical engineers typically need, at minimum, a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. Obtaining certification as a PE(Professional Engineer) and a master's degree are also highly beneficial for advancing to more higher level positions as well. They are also among some of the highest paid individuals in engineering with an average annual wage at about $99,440, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Even within this specific field of engineering, there is still so much variety within the subjects covered. Overall, chemical engineering is a fantastic field to go into if you love all the topics discussed above.

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