Chemical Enginering and design: main characteristics

Chemical Engineers are responsible for the design and operation of processes and of products and their application in a chemical plant. They use a ‘system’  approach, enabling the prediction of the behaviour of both the process as a whole and of the individual plant items.Products are developed to satisfy the needs of a customer. In Chemicakl Engineering the aims are: create new technology of solve problems in existing technology. So, the professional activities of a chemical engineers are to develop and refine the production of chemical products  or top produces new products.

Once the plant has been designed, chemical engineers are involved in its construction, commission and subsequent operation.

Hence in terms of education, a chemical engineer have to undertake courses in the basis sciences: Mathematics, Science, Process analysis, and Thermodynamics. But alsos the  more practical disciplines, Reaction engineering, Transport Processes and Separation processes. And some  disciplines important for the context a chemical engineer is working: Safety, Risk analyses, Plant and equipment design, Process control and Process economics.

A practising chemical engineer will often find that the data he/she requires are either unreliable or incomplete and hence, he/she must make sound judgements based on the basic sciences to determine appropriate simplifying assumptions, while at the same time satisfying quality criteria in teh field of safety, environmental, operational, legal constraints and sustainable development.

The cornerstone of any process design, the development of mass and energy balances. From such balances a chemical engineer will the go on to add more detail in order to come up with a fully optimised flow sheet, providing the most efficient, safe and economic route to the production of the specified chemicals within the constraints of thermodynamics, material properties en environmental regulations.

A chemical engineer should study the underlying principles of chemical, processes, the flow of material (in huge quantities), handling of powders, heat transfer, etc. Also he of she should be able to formulate laboratory and pilot scale experimentation.

What can we learn from this description:

  • like educational development in chemical engineering there are no  standard solutions. You have to work with uncertainties.
  • However, there is all kind of useful proven knowledge you can use in designing.
  • Furthermore, from science and the society various types of quality criteria are formulated which should be taken into account.
  • And finally you have to do experiments with your design to check the real qualities and problems.

There are some important similarities between engineering and curriculum development. The design activities are however, far more developen in chemical engineering the  in currciulum development. This leads to the main thesis of the blog that by analysing and describing curriculum design using the design theory of the Technical Engineers some usefull working procedures can be formulated which will improve the realizations of all kinds of expectation university people have with the curriuclum development.

In the post Design is ……  the characteristics of Technical Engineering in general are summarized.

A similar analyses can be made for curriculum  development.

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