Talk:Chemical engineering

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In the part Three years before Davis' lectures, Henry Edward Armstrong taught a degree course in chemical engineering at the City and Guilds of London Institute. Armstrong's course "failed simply because its graduates ... were not especially attractive to employers." Employers of the time would have rather hired chemists and mechanical engineers.[3] That's can't be verified because in 1887, the statistic about the employment of chemical engineering professionals was non existing, its needed information and testimonies (at least one) that said it. This part must be removed — Preceding unsigned comment added by Angelslt (talkcontribs) 05:52, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

Petrochemical Industry[edit]

As a chemical engineering major, I find it odd that this article does not mention chemical engineers in the petrochemical industry, especially since it has been a historic source of employment for ChE's. shoy 01:56, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Drug design[edit]

Should the article "Drug design" be linked ?

If you think it should, please be bold and add it yourself (and sign your comments). --Charlesreid1 (talk) 22:52, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Difference between chemical engineering and chemistry[edit]

Is it me, or is that comparison about extracting orange juice really stupid? Comparing chemistry to how to extract a liquid out of a piece of's immigrant labor that usually does that, not chemists.

After a few decades of working alongside chemical engineers I think the example is excellent. The chemical reactions that goes on in most plants today are known from the 19th century or earlier. Basic process equipment like tanks and pumps were known since before Hero of Alexandria. Chemical Engineering today is mostly finding the most economical way. Most of the basic machinery today have to do with separation-stages and not with any trivial chemical process, which makes the example twice as good. The Dutch name for chemistry:"Scheikunde" I am told, means separation, which is a much better pciture of what most chemical engineers actually work with than when you look at a picture of Niels Bohr's model of the atom or a Stoichiometry formula. DanielDemaret 14:31, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

I think it is a very poor example because there is no chemistry involved in squeezing an orange. Having carried out process scale-up from bench to plant, I do not think it in any way represents the work of either the development chemist or the chemical engineer. Chemical Engineer 21:45, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree that orange juice maybe was not the best example, however nobody who are involved in chemical enginnering cant deny that this example is related to chemical engineering. The sentence about imigrants was stupid - dont forget that in USA and West Europe not only dirty jobs but science too are very dependent from imigrants (I see it too - because a number of my clasmates from university already are in USA or West Europe). So please - no insults to imigrants or in some day You can sweep your street by Yourself.--Riharcc (talk) 05:30, 21 March 2009 (UTC)\\

I've been a process engineer in oil refineries for 40 years, and as a result have my own definition of what chemical engineers do. It's called data entry. The chemical engineering has already been done, and it's called software. (talk) 01:00, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

The example[edit]

What is the small, indented text in the midst of the article? If it is excerpted from some source, that should be indicated. Otherwise, it should be made normal size and indentation. - Centrx 00:24, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I rewrote the article a long time ago as the english previously used was fairly poor. I added the illustration to explain a common misconception of what Chem Eng is actually about. Someone later must have thought it ancillary to the main flow of the article -- Journeyman 06:14, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think the text is too long, convoluted and vague to be of any use. I would like to see an example of a real scale up, and none of this "maybe". --Vuo 15:12, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps someone could write about the Haber-Bosch process mentioned? Journeyman 03:57, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Quality vs Quantity[edit]

In the section discussing the differences between chem eng and chem, it should mention simply that chemistry is concerned with quality while chem eng focuses on quantity.

Sorry, I disagree with this statement. We, Chem Eng. are also concern about quality. There is not point on optimizing a process to get the most (quantity) out of it if we do not at least keep a minimum level of quality. --Ozzyprv 04:04, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I concur with Ozzyprv. Chemical engineers focus production, purity and price. For example, whey protein (WPC) at 20%(w/w) purity sells for a lot less than 90%(w/w) but each has a market. Thus, one company will choose to make lots of 20% WPC for a low price, while another will choose to make smaller amounts of 90% WPC for a higher price. The distinction between quality and quantity is too simplistic. Journeyman 03:56, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Difference between chemical engineering and process engineering[edit]

I don't understand the distinction drawn in the article between process engineering in particular, and chemical engineering in general. My understanding is that chemical engineering is about the design, development, operation and maintenance of value adding processes. From what I recall of my first-year lectures about the history of Chem Eng, the term Process Engineering was proposed because chemical engineers were branching out from the traditional (often petrochemical) industries into food, pharmacology, materials and other processing industries. The term process engineering is used/prefered because the emphasis of chemical engineering has never been purely the chemistry, but the process. Thus, the terms chemical engineering and process engineering are co-extensive/synonymous.

The paragraph under Modern chemical engineering attempts to draw a distinction between chemical engineering and process engineering, however all I think it does is explain that chemical engineers work in a diverse range of industries - not that they are no longer engaged in the "design, development, operation and maintenance of value adding processes". Journeyman 03:45, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Chemical engineer is just a label like civil engineer or science fiction, which is used to recognise rather than define. The (UK) Institution of Chemical Engineers toyed with the proposal to change to Process Engineers as being more truthful, but rejected it because Chemical Engineers was well-established. However, their French counterparts did change the name to Société Française de Génie des Procédés. "Process Engineers" are a major grouping within both UK and German mechanical engineering institutions.

Most of what chemical engineers design is based on physical processes - so process engineers can do all that stuff. The difference is we can do also do chemical reactors and separations. Chemical Engineer 21:58, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

I am bothered by the sentence, "A related term with a wider definition is chemical technology." It appears in the same paragraph as the discussion of chemical engineer vs. process engineer, so did the author imply that a chemical engineer may be called a chemical technologist? In the U. S., a technologist frequently is a person who does not hold a four-year degree from an accredited university. I recommend deleting it.ChemE50 (talk) 19:47, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

This is not the place to get into a legal discussion, but I would also note that California law states that only a person who is a registered Professional Engineer may use the title of chemical engineer. It would be legal for an unregistered person to use the title process engineer, since that term is not covered by the California law. I don't know if other jurisdictions have the same constraint.ChemE50 (talk) 19:47, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Chemical and Bio Engineering WikiProject tag[edit]

Khetankhare, I note that you added the subject WikiProject tag. Before urging others to join, the first thing you should do is to create a User page and a Discussion page so that people can communicate with you. As for the coverage of chemical engineering, the only way it will greatly improve is by attracting graduate engineers with at least 5-6 years of real world experience. The coverage will not be improved if the only participants are university students with no real world experience. I apologise for being so blunt but that is the reality of the situation. - mbeychok 19:45, 17 September 2006 (UTC)


Hey, do you think that we should add information about salary ranges of the chemical engineers? --Aratarin 14:18, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

I think it would be useful. The best source might be Chemical and Engineering News which has a detailed salary survey each year. I, unfortunately, no longer get this publication. ike9898 14:23, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
I was thinking of getting the information off of, i believe that should be fairly reliable, do you agree? --Aratarin 14:46, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
Yeah. ike9898 14:54, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Now that i think about it, it would fit in better in the chemical engineer page, because it talks about their salaries. --Aratarin 00:45, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

I disagree. I think that this information is quite irrelevant, because this would at the very least lack standardized resources.

I don't think Wikipedia should include salary data. It would be very difficult and time-consuming because of the many possible variations. For U. S. salaries, I would refer readers to the Chemical and Engineering News annual survey mentioned above. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers publishes a biennial survey of salaries, based on voluntary responses from its members. The latest such survey appeared in Chemical Engineering Progress for August 2009.ChemE50 (talk) 18:36, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

I'm not too keen on salary information in these types of articles personally. Doesn't really tell you much about what Chem. engers do, or who they are. User A1 (talk) 07:51, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Amine PFD[edit]

I like the idea of having a PFD on the chemical engineering page, but I just realized the same PFD is used in the PFD article. Also, because the example cited is for orange juice production, wouldn't a PFD of the orange juice process make more sense? Brien Clark 01:25, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

yes it would be nice to have a PFD for the orange juice production, so what are we waiting for? Jfreyre

ChE user box[edit]

If you are a chemical engineer, please add this to your user page. Thanks: --Sadi Carnot 14:26, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Engineering.png This user is a  
Chemical Engineer.

{{User chemical engineer}} - copy this to your user page (added this text format of the userbox shown above for easy copy & paste) Meynardtengco (talk) 11:46, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

PE user box[edit]

If you are a professional engineer, please add this to your user page. Thanks: --CheMechanical 00:58, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

PE This user is a licensed Professional Engineer.

{{User PE}} - copy this to your user page (added this text format of the userbox shown above for easy copy & paste) Meynardtengco (talk) 11:50, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Plants with Chemical Engineering Operations[edit]

I am fairly new to Wiki. Great to find lots of info on various unit operations. I note there is a lack of entries on chemical plants etc. The Oil refinery‎ article has lists but not much data on each plant. I am drafting an article on the Huntsman plant in Melbourne Australia since I have some first hand knowledge of it User:Boswell/Huntsman (chemical plant)‎ . Can you make comment on this and direct me to any similar articles. Boswell 03:20, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Boswell (talkcontribs) 03:12, 21 February 2007 (UTC).

I've moved the Huntsman plant in Melbourne Australia article into the main space at Huntsman (chemical plant)Boswell 04:43, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

A few months ago, I greatly expanded the article Chemical plant. You are welcome to take a look at it and even expand it, if you wish. I started the article Chemical process, which was previously a REDIRECT to Chemical reaction even though Chemical reaction said practically nothing about industrial scale chemical processes. User:mbeychok wrote the article Natural gas processing. Offline, I started writing an expansion of Petrochemical.
H Padleckas 23:20, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

ChE timeline[edit]

Please contribute to this new timeline section I just started, if you can. It would be interesting to see who wrote the first textbook or book on chemical engineering? Thanks: --Sadi Carnot 15:16, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

A quote from the English Wikipedia article Unit operation:
In 1923 William H. Walker, Warren K. Lewis and William H. McAdams wrote the book The Principles of Chemical Engineering and explained the variety of chemical industries have processes which follow the same physical laws. They summed-up these similar processes into unit operations. Each unit operation follows the same physical laws and may be used in all chemical industries. The unit operations form the fundamental principles of chemical engineering.
H Padleckas 03:31, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
George E. Davis published his Handbook of Chemical Engineering in 1901. However, in 1556, a book in the processes involved in mineral extraction by Georg Agricola was published De re metallica. This is undoubtedly a handbook of chemical engineering since it is a comprehensive account of complex physical and chemical process on an industrial scale turning rocks and other materials into metals. It was written in Latin, but translated into German in 1557 but only into English in 1912! Historical precedence should perhaps be given to Vannoccio Biringuccio who published in 1540 his De la pirotechnia on similar topics though this had less influence. Chemical Engineer 22:46, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
I doubt that a book from 1557 has anything to do with chemical engineer. You will have to find a reference to back up this idea. --Sadi Carnot 01:48, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

If you think it has nothing to do with chemical engineering, you have not looked at it. However, don't take my word for it. Read "Historical Highlights in the Chemical Engineering Literature" by Herman Skolnik in "A Century of Chemical Engineering" edited by William F. Furter, which includes 'the obtaining of metals from ores, the preparation of soluble salts, and the manufacture of alum, vitriol, sulfur and glass'. {Industrial manufacture of sulfuric acid nothing to do with chemical engineering?} Try Donald Othmer (of Kirk-Othmer) "Distillation - some steps in its development" in the same book 'Agricola's great work was for 180 years the accepted text on metallurgy and some aspects of inorganic chemical technology'. In his 1951 Presidential Address to the IChemE, entitled "Some Memorials of Early Chemical Engineers", Prof Hewitt described De re metallica as 'the first modern classic on technology'. I know Don Freshwater used it on more than one occasion as an example of early chemical engineering, but I do not have any of his publications to hand.Chemical Engineer 20:43, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

You might be right? I was skimming through Kirby and Davis' Engineering in History, and they go back pretty far as to what constitutes an "engineer". Loosely, I would estimate that chemical engineering began to come into its own as a profession after False Geber discovered sulphuric acid in 1300, a liquid that could dissolve, corrode, or react with almost everything. --Sadi Carnot 01:33, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Don't confuse the recognised profession with the practice. It is a relatively modern thing to have someone as a full-time chemist, chemical engineer, metallurgist etc. Nevertheless, chemistry, chemical engineering and metallurgy were practised in the past. It may be possible to say that chemists and chemistry only existed when science was invented. However, it is quite clear that engineering predates science. We should give credit to people in the past who carried out what were clearly chemical engineering operations without the benefit of modern understanding. Chemical Engineering as a profession was widely recognised in the USA long before it was in Europe. European Companies such as ICI and Hoffmann-La Roche were resistant to the concept of the profession of chemical engineer and instead carried out chemical engineering with chemists and mechanical engineers until after the Second World War.Chemical Engineer 16:48, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

I recommend moving the entire timeline section to the existing History of chemical engineering page, and providing a link under See also. The section seems out of place here and is probably not relevant to Wikipedia users that want to know about chemical engineering today.ChemE50 (talk) 18:50, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Support, and just make it a timeline. Other material if appropriate can be incorporated in the text.Chemical Engineer (talk) 21:26, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

I have change the "Lag and environment" section to be "Safety and hazard developments" because that's basically what the section was talking about.

Also, there was a statement to the effect of "there have been no new major developments in chemistry beyond 1950". I removed this because it appears to contradict a statement in the previous section that there have been major developments in polymer chemistry beyond 1950. Moreover, that statement was so controversial to begin with that I don't think it really belonged in the article.

Lifeliver4 (talk) 00:12, 3 November 2013 (UTC)


We need some images in this article. So please someone add images related to chemical engineering.Tanvir che (talk) 13:18, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Why don't you be bold and add some yourself? --Charlesreid1 (talk) 22:55, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Lengthy Example[edit]

Surely there is a simpler way to explain differences than this screen long page of waffle? I don't mean to offend those who wrote it but it is insufferably dull. Anon, 18.20, 29 March 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:21, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

On the contrary, I think the example of lab versus industrial synthesis of aspirin nicely explains many of the differences between chemistry and chemical engieering and is one of the best parts of the article. However, I believe it contains a small inaccuracy: the solvent water should be omitted, because acetic anhydride is already a sufficient solvent for the reaction, and indeed water would prevent the desired reaction by decomposing the acetic anhydride prematurely. At least in lab sysnthesis, water is added only after the acetic anhydride and salicylic acid have reacted, to decompose the excess acetic anhydride and facilitate crystallization of the product aspirin. I don't know how it is done on an industrial scale. —Preceding unsigned comment added by CharlesHBennett (talkcontribs) 00:26, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

It is a lab synthesis, though unfortunately I don't have the original book, only a photocopy of the page. It is a relatively inefficient but also relatively safe one because of the water. Acetic anhydride hydrolyses sufficiently slowly for acetylation to occur. Removal of water is one of the things which would be considered in a more sophisticated scale-up, but I did not want to complicate matters further. If anyone can think of an A + B = C + D (solvent, catalyst) with a familiar product, then please do. Chemical Engineer (talk) 22:28, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

The example referred to was removed without comment by an unregistered user on 13 November 2008. If anyone wishes to see it check the history for the version 9 November 2008 or earlier.Chemical Engineer (talk) 21:37, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Introduction Too Positive[edit]

I say this as a chemical engineer: the end of the introduction to this article seems much too positive. "The development of the large-scale processes characteristic of industrialized economies is a feat of chemical engineering, not chemistry. Indeed, chemical engineers are responsible for the availability of the modern high-quality materials that are essential for running an industrial economy." While I suppose this is true in a sense, it is a bit dishonest to imply that chemical engineering is respondible for all the world's wealth. The passage sounds like cheerleading for chemical engineering, and I don't think it adds any information. I think the passage should be removed. jsalvati 01:52, 20 August 2009 (PST)

I also find it a bit gung-ho, but I hesitate to delete other people's enthusiasm. Chemical Engineer (talk) 22:30, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not a Wikipedia expert, but I think such enthusiasm conflicts with Wikipedias Encyclopedianess jsalvati 11:40, 27 August 2008 (PST) <
Since no one seems to object, I have removed the passage jsalvati 15:32, 02 September 2008 (PST)

small>—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Further Reading[edit]

This appears to be a largely random collection of books FOR chemical engineers - I would guess someone's collection or possibly a student's reading list. And why Coulson and Richardson vol 2 only? Volume 6 (Sinott) is more significant. Should not an encyclopedia article contain books ABOUT chemical engineering for the outsider, or just possibly a general introduction for first year students? Chemical Engineer (talk) 22:27, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Broader Introduction[edit]

I've been trying to change the introduction as I believe it is far to narrow minded to simply say that chemical engineers are purely intereseted in converting products economically. Modern chemical engineers are interested in a far greater range of topics than this and, although it is mentioned later in the page, I really do think that something should be mentioned about this. After all, isn't the point of an introduction to introduce the points that you are going to develop later. This isn't a major change, it's only a one liner. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:03, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Firstly, thankyou for bringing up this discussion. Whilst it is only a one liner, it does need to be referenced. I have no objections to the change, provided that you say something less vague than "increasingly chemical engineers ...." and provide a reference of sufficient quality. See Wikipedia:Verifiability for a more detailed explanation of why this is important. The importance of minimising qualitative pseudo-information is quite clear in engineering! User A1 (talk) 02:24, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Cool, I'll make the change and tell me what you think. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Anterior1 (talkcontribs) 14:56, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Chemical reaction engineering[edit]

Should chemical reaction engineering be a stand-alone article, merged into chemical engineering, or deleted? Regards, PDCook (talk) 19:40, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Keep separate. The article Chemical reaction engineering is short, but could be easily expanded to overgrow the size that could fit into the article Chemical engineering. --vuo (talk) 22:48, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not clear on the scope of that article. I wouldn't make a decision until it is clear what is to be covered.User A1 (talk) 23:04, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Keep separate. Chemical reaction engineering is a branch of chemical engineering which has to do with application aspects of chemical reaction kinetics and catalysis, and with chemical reactors, particularly their design. In addition to chemical reaction engineering, the field of chemical engineering also covers other areas as well, such as separation processes. Although the Chemical reaction engineering article is presently short, both the Chemical reaction engineering and Chemical engineering articles could be easily expanded to full length articles. H Padleckas (talk) 11:23, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Conflicting claims about Ph. D. timeline[edit]

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)has claimed that it was the first school in the U. S. to award doctoral degrees in chemical engineering, in 1924.[1] University of Wisconsin awarded a doctoral degree in chemical engineering in 1905 to Oliver Patterson Watts.[2] It appears that University of Wisconsin was actually the first.ChemE50 (talk) 20:26, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Subdisciplines of chemical engineering[edit]

I'm planning to include such section. I'm currently working on the petroleum engineering subsection. Planning to add process engineering and chemical reaction engineering subsections afterwards. Any suggestions? Pascal Hacutin (talk) 12:44, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Ok nevermind. I'm putting petroleum engineering in the related fields section. Any ideas? Pascal Hacutin (talk) 13:51, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Article Quality[edit]

I'm changing this article's quality to "B" following this page's list of criteria: Wikipedia:Version_1.0_Editorial_Team/Assessment/B-Class_criteria. If you object, please revert this edit and discuss below. Charlesreid1 (talk) 11:10, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Reference in wrong places[edit]

In section Process design we read

The recent book "Chemical Process Technology and Simulation" by Srikumar Koyikkal

and in section Recent progress we read

The latest book 'Chemical Process Technology and Simulation' gives a very good comprehensive account of...

But this work is not mentioned in the References or Bibliography. My suspicion is that someone is just trying to promote a book. (talk) 10:50, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ MIT Department of Chemical Engineering, "History of Chemical Engineering at MIT" Retrieved April 6, 2010
  2. ^"Chemical_engineering New World Encyclopedia/Chemical Engineering" Website