A chemical engineer is a person who is involved in the development and design, operation and construction of various kinds of industrial procedures and a varied range of products. They also specialise in commodities and speciality chemicals. The industries that are relevant to them include energy, water treatment, pharmaceuticals, toiletries, plastics, food and drink and gas. Modern day chemical engineering is also concerned with pioneering of valued new materials and new methodologies including biomedical engineering, nanotechnology and fuel cells. The role of the chemical engineer might focus on one of these:
- Researching the products from trial to commercialisation
- Managing the scale-up procedures from plant to complete the industrial scale of manufacturing
- Improving the product lines
- Making changes to the processing plant which produces the goods
- Commissioning and designing new plants
The typical work activities are very diverse, and this depends on the role and segment in which the chemical engineer operates. However, they may be required to work closely with the process chemists and control engineers to make sure that the processing plant is set to provide the maximum levels of output and efficient operation of the production facility. They also design the plant and equipment configuration so that they can adapt to suit the product range and process technologies that are involved.
Chemical engineers also take the economic and environmental aspects into consideration. There are specific responsibilities involved such as being well versed with the synthetic procedures that are included in the manufacturing of products. They should be aware of how the processes should affect our environment. The chemical engineers should do their work without harming the environment, workers and consumers in any way. Each of the stages of manufacturing is revised thoroughly by the engineer to ensure worker safety.