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Chemical Engineering World

Sharing Chemical Engineer's Challenging, Exciting, Interesting and Stimulating Life...

Useful Tips to Save Your Petrol

Following are some useful tips to consider when you are filling up your petrol tank. I did not make up this. A friend forwarded me an email I thought it is worth sharing. According to the email, someone who has been in petroleum pipeline business for about 31 years and is currently working for the Kinder-Morgan Pipeline in San Jose, CA wrote the following information:

We deliver about 4 million gallons in a 24-hour period from the pipe line; one day it's diesel, the next day it's jet fuel and gasoline. We have 34 storage tanks here with a total capacity of 16,800,000 gallons. Here are some tricks to help you get your money's worth.

1. Fill up your car or truck in the morning when the temperature is still cool. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground; and the colder the ground, the denser the gasoline. When it gets warmer gasoline expands, so if you're filling up in the afternoon or in the evening, what should be a gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and temperature of the fuel (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products) are significant. Every truckload that we load is temperature-compensated so that the indicated gallonage is actually the amount pumped. A one-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for businesses, but service stations don't have temperature compensation at their pumps.

2. If a tanker truck is filling the station's tank at the time you want to buy gas, do not fill up; most likely dirt and sludge in the tank is being stirred up when gas is being delivered, and you might be transferring that dirt from the bottom of their tank into your car's tank.

3. Fill up when your gas tank is half-full (or half-empty), because the more gas you have in your tank the less air there is and gasoline evaporates rapidly, especially when it's warm. (Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating 'roof' membrane to act as a barrier between the gas and the atmosphere, thereby minimizing evaporation.)

4. If you look at the trigger you'll see that it has three delivery settings: slow, medium and high. When you're filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to the high setting. You should be pumping at the slow setting, thereby minimizing vapors created while you are pumping. Hoses at the pump are corrugated; the corrugations act as a return path for vapor recovery from gas that already has been metered. If you are pumping at the high setting, the agitated gasoline contains more vapor, which is being sucked back into the underground tank, so you're getting less gas for your money.

Hope this will help ease your 'pain at the pump'!

Ops....don't forget to check out the new Chemical-Engineering-Forum.com.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 5:41 AM, , links to this post

Chemical/Process Engineering Personality: JoeWong

Hi, I'm back after a very busy and tight schedule. I would like to introduce a new category which is Chemical/Process Engineering Personality. In this section, I will conduct an e-interview with real practicing and successful chemical/process engineer. I hope from this section we can learn, understand and share various fields associated to chemical/process engineering.

For the first personality in this section, he preferred to be known as JoeWong. I have known him a few months back from the virtual world and since then we've been online buddies. Besides a career as a process engineer for more than 13 years, he also maintains his blog Chemical and Process Technology. I found his blog very informative and I personally learned a lot from it. If you want to contact him, you're welcome to visit his site and leave a comment. He'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Chemical/Process Engineering Personality: JoeWong

1. Name: JoeWong

2. Degree/University: Chemical & Process Engineering

3. Professional membership: Member of IEM & AICHE, PE

4. Favorite subject(s) (while studying): Thermodynamic & Unit Operation5. Current job: Process engineer (Engineering Procurement and Construction company)

6. Description(s) of current job: Conduct process design and engineering for new/revamp/ debottleneck plant.

7. How is your typical day at work:

Supervise a group of process engineer to conduct Feasibility Study, Conceptual Design, Basic Design, Detailed Design of a process plant. Liase with licensor, client, vendor, subcontractor, specialist, etc to ensure all information is properly communicated and handled.

8. What do you enjoy most about your job:

The job is pretty interesting as it begin from feasibility study in order to work out the feasibility of an investment, works out the plant concept during conceptual design, get into the basic process parameters in place by combining the concept in real stuff during basic design phase, follow by proper design calculation of all equipments, instrument, etc. Once it get into detailed design, verification of all vendor inputs to ensure meeting process requirement, purchase those equipments, fabricate/construct/install on site precommissioning, commissioning, start-up, test run, train operator, and finally handover to client. You can see that it really start from sketch until it produce. Isn't interesting ?

9. What do you hate most about your job:
I think the job that i am working on is pretty good. Nothing much i hate. If you really want me to figure out one, i would say all client is focusing on schedule but losing creativity & quality.

10. What subject(s) is/are related to your job:
Basically all those subjects that I learned during my undergraduate.

11. What is your most challenging moment ever happened at work:
I have spent 3 years in CHINA. Huh...the challenge was working with a group of Chinese engineers having communication problem, know minimum about international standard, different way of working compare to international acceptable working way, different culture and approaches...Of course, everything has ran in pretty good shape with a lot of obstacles.

12. Have you (or your colleague/subordinates) been involved in any accident at work? Please describe:
Yes. During construction period, one of my colleague felt from scaffolding...mainly due to loose scaffolding board...lack of quality checking...luckily not so serious.

13. What is your career plan in the future?
Continue with present job...continue to design and develop new plant...continue to guide and train new engineer to serve the nation...

14. What are the required skills in your opinion for an engineer to sustain and become successful in his career?
Analytical mind set, positive thinking, correct concept, persistent, always looking for new opportunity for development never stop learning, transfer knowledge and knowhow to new generation.

15. What is your advice for chemical/process engineering students, junior engineers and other fellow engineers?
Continuous leaning and development...key to success

16. Life philosophy or principal?
The more you share, the more you gain...physical life come and go BUT idea/good works will stay forever.

Instead of reading, why not share your writing of chemical engineering knowledge and experiences here, in Chemical Engineering World blog? It will be interesting. It doesn't matter if you are still a chemical engineering students or you just work as an engineer or you are a very experience engineer. Sharing your story would be great. I am also still learning and would like to learn something from you. Just email me to share something in this blog. You can share stories, articles, photos, infographics, podcast, videos etc.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 5:04 PM, , links to this post

Disappointing New Plate Heat Exchanger

We have waited for the new heat exchanger for more than 6 months. It safely arrived last month. We managed to installed the heat exchanger and connect the pipeline. Thanks to the hard work by the maintenance fitters. The insulation work for the pipeline is in progress. That is important to avoid heat and energy lost. Everybody was eager to use the new heat exchanger. We installed pressure gauges, pressure transmitters, RTDs and temperature gauges along the new line. We fixed ball valves and bellow seal globe valves. We performed air test. Everything seems good and promising. We finally used the heat exchanger few days ago. Unfortunately it leaks and we have to stop it. We tightened the plate heat exchanger. Run it again, but it still leaks. We stop it and retightened it again, and run the heat exchanger. It still leaks. It leaked at the end of the plate next to the frame. We suspected the end plate is leaking and it don't look good. Maybe the gasket is glued unevenly to the plate surface. We were so furious because a new plate heat exchanger that just arrived from Germany is leaking. Is this a manufacturing defect? Lets see what's going to happen tomorrow.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 10:53 PM, , links to this post

Compressed Natural Gas Animation

This interesting and excellent video presents a graduation project. I'm not sure which university the students are from, but from the video we know they are Mechanical Engineering students. According to the video description, this project handles the transportation of Natural gas from Sidi krir, Egypt to Vasilikos, Cyprus, utilizing modern technology of compressing the gas "CNG". The project discusses the new concept of using Compressed Natural Gas technology, which lets the gas under the conditions of 250 bars, 25 deg C, and to be shipped to Cyprus by a normal-modified container ship. The Video is created by 3D Max by Ahmed Fathy and Yasser Fathy. For more info contact: yaser.fathy@yahoo.com

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is a substitute for gasoline (petrol) or diesel fuel. It is considered to be an environmentally "clean" alternative to those fuels. It is made by compressing natural gas (which is mainly composed by methane (CH4), in a percantage range of 70% to 98%). It is stored and distributed in hard containers, at a normal pressure of 200/220 bars, usually in cylindric of spherical shapes to maintain equal pressure on the walls of the containers.

CNG is cheaper as fuel for our car compared to petrol/gasoline. I wonder when will I use CNG for my car? The biggest obstacles are the cost to install a CNG engine and the lack of petrol station supplying CNG in this country. I hope and pray the cost of CNG engine and its installation can be cheaper as well as to see more petrol station supplying CNG.

Read related articles about CNG:



Ops....don't forget to check out the new Chemical-Engineering-Forum.com.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 1:16 AM, , links to this post

What is P&ID?

As engineers/engineering students, we always heard about P&ID. But what is actually P&ID? Well, for the benefit those of you who are not sure on this, P&ID is piping and instrumentation diagram/drawing (P&ID). It is defined by the Institute of Instrumentation and Control as follows:

-A diagram which shows the interconnection of process equipment and the instrumentation used to control the process. In the process industry, a standard set of symbols is used to prepare drawings of processes. The instrument symbols used in these drawings are generally based on Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society (ISA) Standard S5. 1.

-The primary schematic drawing used for laying out a process control installation.

For processing facilities, it is a pictorial representation of

P&ID is an initialism that could mean:

A P & ID is a full diagrammatic representation of a process plant. Each piece of equipment is shown along with its connectivity to other equipment. It may be regarded as an enhanced process flow diagram which shows, in addition to the process itself, details such as control and instrumentation equipment, pump and pipe sizes etc. Each instrument / piece of equipment is shown by a symbol denoting its type (pump, sensor, valve etc.) and a unique identification number or tag for differentiation from others.

Information outsourced from wikipedia.org

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posted by zaki yamani @ 12:53 AM, , links to this post

BioChemical Engineering Post Graduate Offer

After the Global Warming Challenges workshop in NACES 2007 last weekend, we (my wife and I) met up with an old colleague whom is currently attached with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). We were friends since our A-levels and first year university foundation in Malaysia. He pursued his degree in Leeds University while me and my wife studied in Bradford University. Later he continued his Master in University College London (UCL) and Ph.D in Imperial College (IC), London.

We had a really good chat and catching up. The last time we met was in the year 2000 in Johor Bahru. That time, I have not yet married. That night, after 7 years, he met up with my three highly energetic kids.

He is actually looking for post graduate student to work with him in the field of Biochemical Engineering. If anyone of you are interested in continuing your studies especially in the field mentioned above, please feel free to contact him. The informations are as shown below:

Application is open to all students who are finishing their under-graduate courses from local or overseas universities especially in the field of:

•Chemical/Biochemical Engineering
•Industrial Technology
•Other related engineering background

OR to those who have vast experience in any of the above fields,able to work independently, very good in English writing and have an interest to further their knowledge in the field of Biochemical Engineering, particularly in;

•bioreactor design
•fundamental theory of diffusion inbacterial cells.

You are welcome to submit your complete CV to:

Dr. Mohamad Hekarl Uzir
School of Chemical Engineering
Engineering Campus
Universiti Sains Malaysia
Seri Ampangan14300
Nibong Tebal
Email: chhekarl@eng.usm.my
Tel: 04-5996464 (Direct Line)Fax: 04-5941013

Ops....don't forget to check out the new Chemical-Engineering-Forum.com.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 8:36 PM, , links to this post

NACES 2007

Last Saturday evening was very interesting. I was invited by NACES 2007 (National Chemical Engineering Symposium) committee to become a panel (and judge) in their "Global Warming Challenge" Workshop. NACES 2007 is a national event for chemical engineering students in Malaysia which was hosted by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). The workshop is one of the program slotted inside the 3 day event. The students were divided into 4 sections which consists of Industry, Public, Government and NGO. Each section have 5 groups inside it brainstorming and presenting their ideas in providing solution for the global warming crisis. I became the panel for the industry section and evaluated student acting role from Petronas, BHP, Shell, Schlumberger and Exxon-Mobil. It's very interesting watching and learning from their presentation. Ideas like "pressure swing adsorption", "carbon capture storage (CCS)", "hybrid car", "biodiesel" and others were highlighted. It's really good seeing our new breed of junior chemical engineers working, discussing and presenting their ideas. At the end of their presentation, I commented and analyzed each groups performance before announcing the winner. It was not an easy pick. However, I finally chose Schlumberger to represent the industry section in the debating stage.

The debate session was really fun and I enjoyed watching it. Government representative, Mass Media, WWF from NGO and Schlumberger pointed out their stand and ways in overcoming the global warming challenges. As one of the judge for the debate session, I chose a group which had been slightly outstanding in all aspects. However, I don't know the actual winner. Anyone of you who attended NACES 2007 know? Maybe you can let me know in the comment area.

On overall I can't really measure the success of NACES 2007 because I only attended the 3-4 hours workshop. However, from that fraction of time spent, I observed and noticed massive room for improvements. To next years' host/committee, I hope they can manage and improve the standard of NACES.

Ops....don't forget to check out the new Chemical-Engineering-Forum.com.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 11:41 PM, , links to this post

Daily Life of A Chemical Engineer Video!!!

Check out this interesting and funny video that I found in Youtube. The following is the description from the short video:

"A school project for chemistry class. Our assignment was to make a creative video illustrating a day-in-the-life of our chosen subject; in this case, the chemical engineer. Sorry to say it's not much of a day-in-the-life type of thing... We know it's sort of corny, but it's supposed to be like that. Feel free to point and laugh."

For me, it's a nice attempt from the students to illustrate life of a chemical engineer. However, actually, it don't look that simple. Daily life of a chemical engineer is tougher and challenging than what you see in the video. A lot of reports, meetings, monitoring, planning, projects, manpower management etc are involved.

Ops....don't forget to check out the new Chemical-Engineering-Forum.com.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 12:00 AM, , links to this post

The Grandfather Of Pampers: A Chemical Engineer

It was 1956, and Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) scientist Victor Mills was a new grandfather.

With the girl's birth, he learned the realities of baby care, including the unpleasant task of changing and laundering diapers.

His granddaughter, just like all infants, went through her share of diapers, and Mills was getting frustrated with it. "I just thought it was a mess," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer after he retired.

The bottom line was this: Mothers in the U.S. were using cloth diapers and plastic pants on their babies. They washed the diapers or used a diaper laundry service. Disposable diapers were on the market, but mothers used them on their babies only while traveling because they didn't work particularly well. They leaked and were uncomfortable.

Mills (1896-1997) also had a professional challenge. He was director of exploratory development for Procter & Gamble, and the company had just bought a large paper mill. One of his assignments was to come up with new products to produce using the paper mill's technology.

He got to thinking and, as Procter & Gamble knew, that often helped the company's bottom line and changed the way people lived.

The way Mills figured, wouldn't it be great if one of these new products could be a disposable diaper that mothers would be willing to have their babies wear all the time?

A Long Road

By the time Mills geared his team to develop Pampers diapers, he was in the home stretch of a 35-year career at P&G, which began in 1926 when he was 30 and ended in 1961.

Continue reading the full story of this remarkable man:

Other story about Victor Mills


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posted by zaki yamani @ 6:56 PM, , links to this post

Distillation Column Learning Video

This is a very interesting short video showing the internal part of a distillation column. We can see how liquid or fluid is distributed from a distribution tray. We can also see the structured packing in the column. There is also a short simulation as well. Check it out.

Ops....don't forget to check out the new Chemical-Engineering-Forum.com.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 11:36 PM, , links to this post

Updates From Me

Suddenly it is a new month. It is September. Again, I'm busy preparing the production report. This is the most intense moment of the month (early week of the month). I need to carefully and swiftly prepare the report and submit them to the accounts department and HQ.

I'm monitoring few upgrading projects in the plant and some maintenance works that are still in progress. There are a lots of work.

Beside that, I was requested to be a jury in a domestic inquiry (which will be held tomorrow) for a serious case in my work place. I was reluctant to become one, but my superior politely asked me to look into the case. Hmmm.... at the end, I obliged.

The day after tomorrow, I was requested to deliver a 5S training. I wanted to delay the training because I need to settle my monthly production report first. I'm not sure whether the training team from human resource department still insists me on delivering the training. My works seem endless. Well, that's fine. That's part of my life as a process engineer. That's my responsibility and I'm glad and proud with my work. The most satisfying moment will be whenever any short term projects was successfully and smoothly carried out. Perhaps I can share those moments in future posts.

The Chemical Engineering Forum has been great. Not bad for a 9 days old forum. Up to the moment this post is written, there are 58 posts in 29 topics by 32 members. Thanks for registering and participating in the forum. To those of you who have not visited the forum, you are welcome to check out by clicking Chemical Engineering Forum.


posted by zaki yamani @ 11:19 PM, , links to this post

The Author


I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!

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