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Definition: Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that applies the physical sciences (e.g., chemistry and physics) and/or life sciences (e.g. biology, microbiology and biochemistry) together with mathematics and economics to processes that convert raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms. Chemical engineering, deals with the practicability and efficiency of chemical engineering operations. Energy changes, deriving from thermodynamic considerations, are particularly important. Mathematics is a basic tool in optimization and modeling. Optimization means arranging materials, facilities, and energy to yield as productive and economical an operation as possible. Historical background: Chemical engineering emerged upon the development of unit operations, a fundamental concept of the discipline chemical engineering. Most authors agree that Davis invented unit operations if not substantially developed it. He gave a series of lectures on unit operation at University of Manchester in 1887, considered to be one of the earliest such about chemical engineering. Classification of chemical engineering: Scope Focuses on the manufacturing of biomolecules.

Subdiscipline Biomolecular engineering

Major specialties

Materials engineering

Involves the properties of matter and its applications to engineering

Ceramic engineering, the theory and processing of raw oxide material (e.g. alumina oxide), and advanced material that are polymorphic, polycrystalline, oxide, and non-oxide ceramics Crystal engineering, the design and synthesis of molecular solid-state structures

Molecular engineering

Focuses on the manufacturing of molecules.

Process engineering

Focuses on the design, operation, control, and optimization of chemical processes

Petroleum refinery engineering, the design of processes related to the manufacture of refined products Plastics engineering, the design of the production process of plastics products Paper engineering, the design of the production process of paper products


General scope:

Indian chemical industrial scenario: Increased investment on research and development (R&D) would enhance Indias global competitiveness in the chemical sector. Currently, India has a minuscule investment in R&D of just 0.5 per cent of the industrys overall sales of Rs 5,50,000 crore ($100 billion). But, by 2017, the industry requires to increase its R&D spends to four per cent, experts said on the sidelines of a valedictory function of the stalwarts of the industry here. With Asias growing contribution to the global chemical industry, India is emerging as one of the focus destinations for chemical companies worldwide. With the current size of approximately $108 billion, the Indian chemical industry accounts for around three per cent of the global chemical industry. Two distinct scenarios for the future emerge, based on how effectively the industry leverages its strengths and manages challenges. In the base case scenario, with current initiatives of industry and government, the Indian chemical industry could grow at 11 per cent to reach the size of $224 billion by 2017. Employment and Salaries: In the United States of America, the Department of Labor estimated in 2008 the number of chemical engineers to be 31,000. According to a 2011 salary survey by the American Institution of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the median annual salary for a chemical engineer was approximately $110,000. In one salary survey, chemical engineering was found to be highest-paying degree for first employment of college graduates. Chemical engineering has been successively ranked in the Top 2 places in the Most Lucrative Degrees Survey by CNN Money in the United States of America. In the UK, the Institution of Chemical Engineers 2006 Salary Survey reported an average salary of approximately 53,000, with a starting salary for a graduate averaging 24,000. Chemical engineering is a male-dominated field: as of 2009, only 17.1% of professional chemical engineers are women. Various corporate companies: BASF, Bayer, Braskem, Celanese/Ticona, Arkema, Degussa, Dow, DuPont, Eastman Chemical Company, ExxonMobil, INEOS, Mitsubishi, PPG Industries, SABIC, Shell, and Wanhua along with thousands of smaller firms.