Although chemicals were made and used throughout history, we now need ways to produce them in very large quantities for a variety of uses. How large? Some basic chemicals like ammonia or ethene or ethanol are either derived from raw materials like petroleum or gas or coal or corn etc. They are required for so many things that they need to be produced in huge quantities (i.e millions of tonnes).
These Basic Chemicals are mainly sold within the chemical industry and to other industries before becoming products for the general consumer.
Example: raw material --> chemical --> product
1. gas ---> ammonia ---> nitric acid ----> fertilizer
2. petroleum ---> ethene ---> polyethene --> plastics
3. sugars ---> ethanol ---> acetic acid --> ester ---> paint
Some of these chemicals are also used to make products such as detergents, soaps and perfumes, are purchased directly by the consumer others are used as intermediates to make other products.
Many emerging countries are now able to produce them more cheaply than companies based in the US and Europe. This has led to tough competition and producers of these chemicals worldwide work continuously to reduce costs while meeting ever more stringent environmental and safety standards
Also new products are being created to meet both customer needs and new environmental regulations. An everyday example is the invention of latest ink developed for ink-jet printers
Chemical Engineering deals with the design, manufacture, and operation of plants and machinery. Chemical Engineering is really about transforming raw materials (such as wood, metal, plastics, etc.) into useful products, that people truly depend on a daily basis, like food, clothes, energy, and what not.
Chemical engineering is a broad discipline based on chemistry, mathematics, physics and biology that applies the principles of engineering science and process engineering to the development and commercialization of new products and processes. Engineering science provides experimental and theoretical models for predicting the behavior of fluid flow and heat and mass transfer in materials and biological systems, as well as chemical reactions that take place in multi-component mixtures. Process engineering provides methodologies for the systematic design and analysis of manufacturing systems, including their control, safety, and environmental impact. Basic principles of engineering science and process engineering are emphasized through problem solving, to broaden the experience of students by offering a significant number of electives, undergraduate research projects, an integrated masters degree, industrial internships and study abroad programs, all of which benefit from strong industrial ties.
A career in chemical engineering offers challenging and well-compensated positions in a wide variety of growth industries. Graduates may supervise the operation of chemical plants, redesign chemical processes for pollution prevention, or be involved in the research and development of new products or processes in high technology areas. These activities require knowledge of chemical reactions and catalysis, separation technologies and energy recovery systems, all of which are thoroughly presented in our curriculum. For example, well-trained chemical engineers are in great demand in the chemical manufacturing and energy sectors. A significant number of chemical engineers are also hired by industries associated with colloids (fine particles), polymers (plastics and resins), and coatings (e.g., paint, integrated circuits). Opportunities exist in biotechnology, the computer industry, environmental firms, and consulting companies. Other examples include the processing of advanced polymeric systems, thin films for the semiconductor and data storage industry, and chip fabrication. A growing number of consulting companies hire chemical engineers to develop computer software for the simulation and real-time optimization of chemical processes, for predicting how toxic chemicals are dispersed and degraded in soils and in the atmosphere, and for evaluating the economic feasibility of industrial projects. Moreover, the pharmaceutical industry recruits chemical engineers who possess a combined expertise in process engineering and biochemistry/molecular biology. The diversity of these career opportunities arises from the depth and breadth of our curriculum.
The Chemical Engineering curriculum emphasizes fundamentals of physical, chemical, and biological science, mathematical modeling, exposure to process- and bio- technology, and advanced problem solving techniques. It provides rigorous preparation for immediate employment after graduation, as well as a strong basis for further graduate study. The depth and breadth of coursework makes chemical engineering an excellent major for students interested in either medical or business schools. Computing is integrated throughout the curriculum, and extensive use is made of mathematical modeling and simulation software.