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Fundamental Skills for Chemical Engineers

  • 1.  Fundamental Skills for Chemical Engineers

    Posted 07-31-2020 03:50
    What are the fundamental skills or calculation procedures that every chemical engineer should be familiar with?

    Omar Basha


  • 2.  RE: Fundamental Skills for Chemical Engineers

    Posted 08-01-2020 12:29
    The following fundamentals that is required for me at work.

    1. Mass and energy balance. For new and old designs process flow sheets.
    2. Identifying potential hazards with resolution
    2. Pipe sizing
    3. Pump sizing
    3. Heat exchanger sizing
    4. Pressure safety element sizing
    5. Control valve sizing
    5. Modeling
    6. Environmental work to support air and water emissions.
    7. Improving process yields and process safety
    8. Procedure writing
    9. Rate of return
    10. Working with all facets of company.

    Of upmost importance in general
    1. Safety
    2. Environement
    3. Process yields and improvements
    4. Money

    Keith Larkin
    Process Engineer
    Dover Chemical Corporation
    New Philadelphia OH

  • 3.  RE: Fundamental Skills for Chemical Engineers

    Posted 08-04-2020 08:55
    I found your list to stimulate some further thinking on the subject.  These are the very basic skills that one would expect from a chemical engineer.  There are further ones which are more qualitative such as the ability to communicate at multiple levels in the organization.  The ability to work collegially on teams.  An appreciation for deadlines and managing projects.  Recognizing a 'good enough' solution as opposed to the 'perfect' solution.  Investing in your professional career externally as well as with your current employer.  Certainly the ethical values of trust and truthfulness.  All of these apply both to an early career engineer as well as a more 'seasoned' engineer.  Thank you for starting this conversation.

    Clifford Kowall PE
    Senior Technical Fellow - Retired
    The Lubrizol Corporation
    South Euclid OH

  • 4.  RE: Fundamental Skills for Chemical Engineers

    Posted 08-01-2020 17:30


    This is very interesting question. When I completed my M.Chem. Engg.  from Stevens Tech in Hoboken, NJ, USA, I joined Exxon Refinery in Linden, NJ. Due to my education and continuing Ph,.D. work background my boss gave me the responsibility of the most critical portion of the refinery that is CLEU ( Catalytic Light Ends Unit) that is heart ( very critical operation) for the refinery. He told me to go to the plant, find problems and solve them. Never worked before in the plant and this was interesting. So I went to the plant operation room and started asking questions to the operators and touring  each section of the CLEU plant. Found six problems and came back to my supervisor who was former Head of Chem Engg. Dept of MIT. He advised me to work on one of the projects that I proposed to him. He agreed. I started doing my mathematical analysis and as I was pursuing Ph.D.  and it led me to detail analysis. I came up with the solution and requested meeting with my boss. Finally I sat down with him. He saw my analysis and starred at me. He said Sudhir are you still in University or now working in Exxon?. I said I am now working. He said your analysis is analytical and let me show you how to analyze such project. He solved problem in one page. He advised me as a chemical Engineer, remember three key principles - Continuity equation, mass balance, and energy balance. You can solve most of the plant related problems. This was amazing advise for me . With his advice put in practice to day I have 35+ patents in various industries- chemical, pharma, biotech, Environmental and more and continue developing new processes after 40 + years. Hope this helps    

    Sudhirkumar Brahmbhatt PhD,MBA
    Technology Services Inc
    Glencoe MO