Chemical engineering is an interdisciplinary subject consisting of elements from Life Science as well as Physical Science subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology as well as Economics and Mathematics. Chemical Engineering also involves dealing with various techniques such as Biomedical Engineering, Nanotechnology and fuel cells.
A Chemical Engineer is required for the production of a host of things including cement, paints, fertilizers, dyes, rubber, paper, plastic, food products, medicines, petrochemicals etc. A Chemical Engineer has manifold activities. He conducts tests and research to determine an appropriate method of producing things, carry out different processes such as crushing, mixing, distillation, heat transfer and drying as well as supervises the production process. His responsibilities include analyzing data for conducting test, designing systems for measurement and control, equipments and processes for manufacturing chemicals and preparing reports.
Diploma in Chemical Engineering can be pursued after completing class 10. For B.E./B.Tech successful completion of 10+2 in the Science stream is desirable.
The syllabus can be classified into Thermodynamics and Process Calculations, Mechanical Operations and Fluid Mechanics, Mass Transfer, Chemical Reaction Engineering, Instrumentation and Process Control, Plant Design and Economics and Chemical Technology. Specializations in this field include
- Process Control
- Computer Aided Design
- Biomedical Engineering
- Biochemical Engineering
- Bioprocess Engineering
- Petrochemical, Optimization & control
- Electronic Materials, Process Engineering
- Physics, Energy
- Electrochemical Processes
- Colloid & Interfacial Science
- Food Processing
- Microstructure Engineering
- Membrane Processes
- Electronic Materials
- Particulate Systems
- Environmental Engineering
- Electronic Engineering
- Supercritical Fluid Extraction
- Fluid Mechanics
- Separation Process
Some of these are discussed below:
Bioprocess Engineering includes elements of Agricultural Engineering and Biotechnology apart from Chemical Engineering. Bioprocess Engineers design and devise methods and tools for manufacturing chemicals, processed food, drugs, paper, polymers etc. The chemical reaction accompanied by the transfer of electric current is termed as an Electrochemical Process. Microstructure Engineering deals with the properties and structure of various kinds of alloys and metals and their process of manufacturing. Environmental Engineering encompasses devising ways for the preservation and improvement of natural resources such as water, soil, air and effort to lessen the effects of global warming, depletion of ozone layer, acid rain etc. Fluid Mechanics studies properties of fluids (gases and liquids). The properties include temperature, pressure, velocity density, functions etc.
Those interested in pursuing research can choose from the following fields
- Biophysical Chemistry
- Organometallic Chemistry
- Coordination Chemistry
- Bio- inorganic Chemistry
- Chemistry of Natural Products
- Synthetic Organic Chemistry
- Bio-organic Chemistry
- Polymer Chemistry
- Solid state Chemistry and Physics
- Theoretical Chemistry
Job prospects for Chemical Engineers are huge. They are absorbed by industries of different kinds such as chemical industry, food processing, drug manufacturing industry, nanotechnology, mining industries, pharmaceutical industries, petrochemical industries, synthetic fibre, healthcare projects, nuclear industry and Defence. Government organisations like Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Research and Development Laboratories recruit Chemical Engineers in good numbers.