Chemical engineers apply their knowledge of various chemical properties to develop new chemical substances (such as fuels, lubricants, or cleaning solvents) or improve and existing ones. They may also serve as troubleshooters by helping to examine and improve industrial processes using the application of better chemical systems.
Many chemical engineers work for industrial companies which develop products directly related to chemical compounds. In this setting, they may work in product development, involving research and experimenting on chemical processes and formula weights to either develop or improve products which contain them. Much of this work depends on the engineer's own background in chemical processes to understand safe compounds, as he/she may also be tasked with conducting extensive experimentation in a variety of settings to determine the utility and optimal use of these chemicals.
Chemical engineers also work to help reduce waste and inefficiency in industrial settings. For example, they may help establish benchmarks for which lubricants and fuels are used in machinery in an assembly plant, or proper holding, shipping, and dispensing procedures and equipment to avoid corrosion and wear-and-tear on existing equipment.
A college degree in chemical engineering or a related field may be required for this position, and many engineers seeking this career path begin with internships in school and then search for a junior-level position upon graduation. Chemical engineers may work in offices, factory settings, or even in the field, and some jobs are likely to require a combination of these. Proficiency with computers and automated chemical equipment, such as spectrometers, may also be required.
Chemical Engineer Tasks
- Conducts research to develop new and improved chemical manufacturing processes.
- Performs density, gravity, and pressure tests at various stages of production.
- Develops safety procedures for those working close to possible chemical reactions.
- Estimates time and cost to complete projects.