Chemical, process or biochemical engineers use scientific
principles to develop processes that turn raw materials
into useful products in a cost effective and safe way.
Chemical Engineers may work on the manufacture of
plastics, pharmaceuticals, food and drink, fuels, artificial
fibres or any other man-made synthetic products.
Chemical engineering involves research, where engineers develop and test new materials and processes or adapt and improve existing ones; and conduct process development experiments in a laboratory, and convert these small-scale processes to commercially-viable large-scale operations.
They design and develop the machinery to be used in the production process, often using computer models and simulations, and install and commission the production systems in the plant.
Once a plant is in operation, a chemical engineer’s role changes from construction to production. They will then be responsible for the day-to- day operation of the plant, involved in maintenance procedures, monitoring and trouble-shooting, quality control, efficiency, and health and safety of the plant and the wider environment.Fully qualified professional engineers usually hold incorporated or chartered status.
Chartered engineers are normally involved at a strategic planning level, researching and developing new designs, innovations and more efficient processes for the application of new and existing technologies. They are often project leaders and are responsible for teams of incorporated engineers and technicians.
Incorporated engineers specialise in managing the process of applying current engineering solutions in the most cost-effective manner. They have a detailed knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology, and have the skills and know-how to put plans into practice. They often hold key operational management roles.
Chemical engineers working in a research or development team are normally laboratory or office- based and work a 37-hour week. Those working on plant processing operations projects can work up to 50 hours or more a week, including evenings or weekends.
Laboratory work takes place under sterile conditions. In some areas there may be the need to wear protective clothing, shoes and eye shields.
To be a chemical engineer you should:
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