Process Engineering Discussion Community

Expand all | Collapse all

Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

  • 1.  Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 12-19-2019 11:21

    What are the skills you wished you learned in an undergraduate ChE program? I teach a course on process engineering in a specific industry for recent grads and would like a broader perspective.



    ------------------------------
    Bruce Janda FCIC,MBA
    Principal
    Innovaspec, LLC
    Hortonville WI
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

    Posted 12-20-2019 10:39
    I think there are 3 areas that would have been helpful:
    1) Practical process control (how to tune a controller, simple ways to look at the sensitivity of the design to process upsets dealing with stability and reliability)
    2) Process design objectives that include not only the economic optimum but also factoring in sustainability and societal inputs into the overall optimum design (you don’t have time to do a lot of this in a design project but you can educate students about the need to including these inputs)
    3) Soft skill development and its importance (there is a lot more of this in undergrad education today vs when I went through my studies)




  • 3.  RE: Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 12-20-2019 11:31
    Hi Henry: Thank you. These are three great points. I would have said Statistics to handle data from SPC to managing large data sets to separate noise from useful information. I've reviewed statistics in different application areas again and again after no exposure in undergrad 43 years ago. It has become a key tool in my toolbox.

    Any other ideas from this group?


    ------------------------------
    Bruce Janda FCIC,MBA
    Principal
    Innovaspec, LLC
    Hortonville WI
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 12-20-2019 14:17
    Bruce, I agree with you 100% about Statistics.  I was fortunate to have Bill Hunter of Box, Hunter and Hunter Statistics for Experimenters as my mentor.  Bill had a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton and an M.S. from the University of Illinois.  He was George Box's protege being his first graduate student when he started the Statistics Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1960.

    ------------------------------
    T. David Griffith, Ph.D.
    Blessing (Bay City), TX
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

    Posted 12-20-2019 15:38
    As an engineer who consider himself fortunate to have a chance to be involved in commissioning of a new units and subsequently to be involved in FEl and basic design for new units, I believe strongly that process engineer has to deliver what is expected from him while the pressure of time is behind him and something has result in order to have facilitate smooth seamless unfold of time bonded and specifically tied activities therefore a bunch of so many small trivial tools need to be equiped with him to keep blending with different disciplines that are responsible for design/commissioning of projects.
    Simple laws that even studied in high school but recognized in different many shapes need to enlightened for the process engineers. Statistics and LP are extremly essential in appreciating and solving many problems.Finance and and anticipated deliverables also of prime importance.

    Hussain AlShaikh





  • 6.  RE: Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 12-20-2019 13:57

    Bruce, I am extremely interested in the response which you get to this thread.  Two weeks ago at 6:37 AM on Thursday, Dec 5, the Chair of the Chemistry Department of the University of St. Thomas in Houston sent me an email asking me to teach a new master's degree course entitled "Analysis and Design of Chemical Processes" for a new degree program "Master of Science in Industrial and Process Chemistry" which was inaugurated this fall.  There is no book nor lecture notes as this is the first time the degree and the course are being offered in the U.S.  There are two universities in Asia that have a similar degree program.

    Prentice Hall sent me their "Publication Proposal" form a week ago and I returned 2 proposals at 10:45 PM this last Monday.  The tentative names of the two books will be "Basic Principles and Calculations in Process Chemical Operations, Volume 1" and "Volume 2".  Volume 1 will be based on my book Basic Principles and Calculations in Process Technology which is published by Prentice Hall.  It was their Signing Editor, Bernard Goodwin, who plagiarized David Himmelblau's Basic Principles and Calculations in Chemical Engineering book's name changing mine from "Applied Petrochemical Technology" as that name was just about the only objection from the reviewers of the book proposal.

    My thinking is that learning from our Process Engineering Discussion Group what we as Chemical Engineers wish we had learned as undergraduates will help me develop the above course and two other courses that are in the technical aspects of Gas Laws (PVT), Thermodynamics, Reaction Kinetics, Phase Equilibrium, Material Balances, Energy Balances, and the three areas of Transport Phenomena: Fluid Flow (Momentum), Heat Transfer and Mass Transfer (Diffusion, Distillation, Absorbers and Strippers).  The analysis course starts this spring starts January 14 with my outline approved by the Chemistry Department Chair and will include chapters on Unit Operations, Process Flow Diagrams, Petroleum and Chemical Processing Plants, Process Control, Statistical Control Charts and Analysis, and finally Economic Analysis.

    For those who contribute their thoughts, I appreciate your 2 cents worth!



    ------------------------------
    T. David Griffith, Ph.D.
    Blessing (Bay City), TX
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

    Posted 12-20-2019 19:45
    If you are looking to add subjects beyond undergrad topics, I would include items like:
    Practical reactor selection
    Advanced separations including hybrid separation systems
    Solids and particle processing/handling
    Process flow sheet optimization
    More statistics especially for mining large data sets
    Relief design including mechanicals of downstream venting

    There are too many here for one course, but you can survey a number of these.


    Sent from my iPad




  • 8.  RE: Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 12-20-2019 21:24
    Henry: Thank you for your excellent comments.  I will add most if not all to my course outline.  I am getting a lot of great topics from Bruce Janda's topic!  So, I guess I should and I do thank Bruce.

    ------------------------------
    T. David Griffith, Ph.D.
    Blessing (Bay City), TX
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

    Posted 12-22-2019 19:29
    The ability to read P&IDs





  • 10.  RE: Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 12-26-2019 13:19
    I agree 100% that engineers these days have no idea how to read P&IDs.  Moreover, ChE's need to be able to safely articulate the design that includes SIL analysis, bow tie, SIS, and other deeper process that ensure the design is capable of operating in a safe and efficient manner.

    ------------------------------
    Corey Hartwig, PE
    Project Engineering Manager
    PCL
    Bakersfield, CA
    chartwig@pcl.com
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 12-26-2019 19:50
    Along with P&ID reading, PFD's and data sheets reading will be useful.

    Showing the unit operations equipment and imparting theory behind operation will develop interest and will be useful in long term.

    Regards,

    Rama





  • 12.  RE: Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 20 days ago
    1. Soft Skills  in effective communication.  i.e. being able to effectively talk to everyone from the janitor to the CEO.
    2. How to trace process lines safely and effectively in the field (I.e.  knowing what a check valve looks like, suction & discharges of pumps, process fluid flow direction, what final control elements look like and how they work......control valves, temperature sensors, flowmeters, pressure sensors, etc...).
    3. How to validate P&IDs & PFDs with item number 2.​

    ------------------------------
    John Howell PE
    Senior Process Engineer
    Stantec
    Fredericton NB
    Canada
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Skills you wish you learned as an undergrad

    Posted 17 days ago
    I fully agree with John's reply. More knowledge I want to learn is:

    1. Chemical reactions and the controls of the reaction chains;
    2. Monitoring of the process;
    3. Process protection devices and the validation methods;
    4. Emergency preparedness

    Please add more ...

    Regards,
    Ziqing Tu

    发自我的 iPad