Chemical Engineers apply scientific and engineering principles to develop processes or systems for the economic production and distribution of useful and value-added materials through the physical, chemical or biochemical transformation of matter. Furthermore, this must be accomplished with attention paid to economics, health and safety, and environmental impact.
Chemical Engineers combine a sound background in fundamental understanding of science and mathematics with highly-developed problem-solving skills to improve existing processes or methods, or to implement new ones. Chemical Engineers are distinguished from physical scientists such as chemists by their training in the "engineering method": the use of heuristics to cause the best change in a poorly understood situation within the available resources.
Chemical Engineers design, analyse, optimize and control processing operations, or guide others who perform these functions, in industry, government, universities or private practice. Most materials encountered in daily life have been impacted by Chemical Engineering at some stage. Chemical Engineers will continue to be in demand for many exciting new developments over the next few decades.
Current and future activity areas include:
- Energy: conservation; renewable and non-renewable resources; fuel cells; hydrogen economy.
- Materials: petrochemicals; biochemicals and foods; nanomaterials; consumer goods; pulp and paper; polymers; pharmaceuticals; etc.
- Environment: pollution prevention; pollution control; climate change mitigation; recycling; environmental safety and regulations; etc.