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How Do I Go About Becoming A Chemical Engineer?

I have just recently created a new website. It is called Chemical Engineering Question and Answer. I was actually inspired to create this website because I find it easier and fun learning through a series of question and answer format. It's more enjoyable.

For this post, I'm going to extract one set of question and answer about somebody asking how to become a chemical engineer. This is how it works... Somebody will ask a question and readers will try their best to answer the question as accurate as possible. This is basically adopted from Yahoo answer. I hope for those are considering to be a chemical engineer

Question: How Do I Go About Becoming A Chemical Engineer?

What do I have to do and what are the things I should be studying at the moment outside of highschool? I am still a junior.

Answers 1: Take all the science and math classes you can and even take dual classes at your local community college. Talk with your career adviser and look into what colleges offer this degree and what type of classes you’d be taking to get a grasp of what you can expect.

Answers 2: As the name of the profession suggests, be good in both mathematics and chemistry. If you intend to be a chemical engineer working in the food or biological industries, a solid background in biology will help too.

Answers 3: I have a dual degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. For any engineering you will need to be strong in mathematics and physics with an emphasis on the chemistry side for a chemical engineer. But mathematics is the most important by far, you’ll need to be good algebra and trigonometry to do well in calculus and good in calculus to get through differential equations.

Answers 4: Take all the high school maths and sciences. Generally try to enjoy high school and learn how to study. That will come in handy in university. If you can get do some extra calculus work in high school to make the transition to university math easier. You should be very interested in your high school chemistry classes if you plan to be a chemical engineer. Note that chemical engineering is usually focused on producing stuff, not inventing new products. Make sure you’re not actually interested in being a chemist or bio-engineering which are more focussed on designing new drugs or chemicals.

Answers 5: My daughter is a chemical engineer. You will need to study lots of Mathematics, especially Calculus. On top of that, you need to study physics and of course chemistry. Good luck, it’s a great major that can prepare you for anything….including medical school.

Answers 6: Chemical Engineering is the science of converting laboratory experiments into reality and application. It is a wonderful and interesting field. I know that I am talking about your choice to become a chemical engineer, and not really addressing your question of what to do prior. Before you decide to do that, I recommend you assure yourself that this is what you want, because it is not going to be a picnic my friend. It is really hard, but once you get a grip of it, things will automatically smoothen. I honestly recommend Petroleum Engineering as this science is blooming and they are considered as the highest paid engineers in the industry.
If you still want to be a chemical engineer, then I recommend you do lots of reading on chemistry, organic chemistry and read about how things are made and what are they made of.
Wish you the best.

My answer: As a high school student, focused and be good at Mathematics, physics, chemistry. Those are the fundamentals. At the same time, learn more about chemical engineering through associations such as IChemE, AIChemE, IEM etc. You'll get some direct knowledge on what chemical engineers do.
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z


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posted by zaki yamani @ 10:57 PM, , links to this post

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posted by zaki yamani @ 3:03 PM, , links to this post

Gas Chromatography Calibration

I'm sorry. I know I'm suppose to share and write a post about having my article printed in the Yellow Pages Energy Guide. But, I think my recent experience during the GC calibration was very worth sharing.

Brief Introduction of our Gas Chromatography

Our research Chemical Reaction Engineering Group (CREG) have 3 Gas Chromatography (GC) Thermal Conductive Detector (TCD). All of them are HP Agilent 6890 model. We have labeled them as GC 1, GC 2 and GC 3. I have personally used 1 of the older GC-TCD (GC 2) when doing my masters degree 9 years ago. GC 2 is the simplest of our GC-TCD. It can only analyze gasses compound and have only 2 columns inside it which are Molecular sieve and Porapak N column.
GC 1 and GC 3 are far advance then GC 2. Both of the GCs are equipped with Flame Ionization Detector (FID) to analyze liquid product, which in our case are hydrocarbons. That means, GC 1 and 3 can analyze both gasses and liquid compound.

GC 2 and GC 3 (Both Agilent 6890 model) are arranged side by side in one of our research rooms.

On top of the above mentioned GC-TCD, there is also a unit of Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) to power up our analysis capability. This GC-MS is very useful to identify and analyze liquid compound. GC-MS actually combines the features of gas-liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry to identify different substances within a test sample. In our research group we use it to analyze our pyrolysis, biomass, biodiesel liquid fuel and others. I'm not that familiar with GC-MS, but I plan to learn more about it in future. Now, for my ph.D, I'm more focused on using the GC-TCD.

The molecular sieve packed column and Porapak N column in GC 1

Oh yes, we also have one dedicated Perkin Elmer Gas Chromatograph Flame Ionization Detector (GC-FID). This GC-FID is very old, I think it has been around for more than 13 years. It has been used previously to analyze our gas to liquid products. Presently, a master student is using it to analyze her biodiesel from waste vegetable oil research.

Of all the GC brands, we have model from HP and Perkin Elmer but not Shimadzu.


Gas Chromatography Thermal Conductive Detector (GC-TCD) Calibration

All our 3 GC-TCD are in great demand now. The research group population has suddenly increased and all of us need to use this imperative analytical equipment. Unfortunately, the GC-TCDs are not in really good condition. Hence, we've called Agilent engineer to come and help us check on the GCs and calibrate it for us.

I wasn't around on the first part of GC-TCD calibration because I was in Kota Kinabalu with my wife and family for the International Conference on Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering in conjunction with the 23rd Symposium of Malaysian Chemical Engineers (SOMCHE 2009). However, my research colleagues were around for the GC-TCD calibration sessions. Unfortunately, the GC-TCDs could not yet be calibrated due to some problem. It was found that the molecular sieve packed column for GC 1 is not working anymore. So, CREG have to order a new mol sieve column.

Agilent engineer is replacing the mol sieve packed column in GC 1

Luckily we managed to order new mol sieve columns and the second GC-TCD calibration session were carried out last week. This time I was around and we work closely with the Agilent engineer. GC 1 has 5 columns inside it and it took some time to work on the valve switching between the valves. The valve switching is an important feature when there are many columns in a GC. This is because a column can only be suitable for certain chemical compound separation, while the others are suitable for other compounds. We calibrated GC 1 with Agilent natural gas standard and successfully managed to get all peaks in the chromatogram at the end of the day.

The engineer is thinking how to solve the mess in GC 3

The next day, the engineer continue worked with GC 2 and GC 3. However, he only managed to touch GC 3 after lunch. GC 3 has more chronic problem, it has one of its capillary column torn. He discovered this problem together with a ph.D student doing Plasma Reaction Research. However, the engineer has successfully connect the capillary column again.

HP capillary column is torn.


Conclusion of GC-TCD Calibration Session

To conclude the GC-TCD calibration session:

GC 1 - Successfully calibrated with Agilent natural gas standard.
GC 2 - Successfully calibrated with Agilent refinery gas standard.
GC 3 - Need to be further calibrated. Probably need 2 days to complete the job. I have contacted Agilent to come and rectify GC 3. We are still waiting the answer from them. I'll follow up with them again tomorrow.

I look forward to conduct my research as soon as possible... :) wish me luck.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 5:07 PM, , links to this post

The Author

zyz

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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