Professional Development

Engineering Graduate Starting Salary Jumps 3.9%

In a recent survey from the NACE Salary Survey it has been found that starting salaries for graduate engineers has increased by 3.9% in the last year alone in the United States.

The average first year engineering graduate salary has increased from $59,591 to $61,913.

Breaking down the results in terms of engineering majors aerospace engineering saw the biggest rise at 8.3% and civil saw the lowest increase at 2.5%.

 

Profile: McKeen and Kane - Penicillin Production

This post is part of the 12 Chemical Engineers who Changed the World series.

Penicillin is one of the single greatest advancements in the whole history of medicine. And this is for good reason: penicillin is one of the most widely used drugs today.

It is a known cure for a wide range of critical illnesses, such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and staphylococcus and streptococcus infections, among others.

Prior to penicillin, many of the diseases it can cure now where then believed to be untreatable. It was, thus, one of the closest moments that humanity got close to an antibacterial panacea.

The discovery of penicillin—this story is quite popular and you might already know this—is actually a complete accident.

Its discover, Alexander Flemming, who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in left petri dishes of staphylococcus on his laboratory bench as he left for a holiday outing.

Upon his return on September 3, he found that one of the cultures had been contaminated by a fungus.

He noticed that it destroyed the colonies of staphylococcus that were in the periphery of the fungus mold. He later discovered that the fungus was Penicillium and that it released a substance that can kill different types of disease-causing bacteria.

And this was how penicillin was born.

There was much fanfare upon Flemming’s discovery, considering that penicillin showed much promise with its ability to cure then-untreatable diseases.

However, a much harder question came: how can penicillin be mass produced? After all, mass producing and distributing penicillin among disease-afflicted areas is the only way it can make true impact.

This is where McKeen and Kane came in.

Jasper Herbert Kane was born in in Brooklyn, New York, United States. After graduating from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in he first worked during his teenage years at Pfizer’s Brooklyn plant, where he served as James Curie’s assistant.

Much of Pfizer’s research then focused on manufacturing chemicals using fermentation. Specifically, they researched on creating citric acid from enzymes produced by Aspergillus niger, a type of mold.

Curie developed a system for fermenting sugar with A. niger enzymes and producing citric acid therefrom.

Kane improved on this design by inventing a deep-tank fermentation process that used molasses instead, thus freeing Pfizer from the need to buy the much more expensive refined sugar which Curie’s process used. More importantly, this reduced Pfizers dependence on citrus growers in Europe.

John Elmer McKeen also hails from Brooklyn. Born in he attended Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, where he finished a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.

He immediately worked for Pfizer after graduation. Thus, McKeen garnered much experience relevant to chemical fermentation during this time from the system that Kane developed. In fact, this is when he met Kane, who would also prove important in the mass production and commercialization of penicillin.

McKeen was eventually promoted to head one of Pfizer’s manufacturing departments in before he was made to leave for England to supervise the establishment of a fermentation plant there.

During this time, penicillin was still made exclusively in the laboratory. Thus, production was excruciatingly expensive, slow and minimal.

To stress this point, the first patient to be treated using penicillin—this was incidentally made by competing pharmaceutical Merck & Co.—was on March 14,. Upon treatment, half of the world’s penicillin supply was consumed. That was how little penicillin was being produced.

And mass production research progress was not speeding up either: by June there was only enough penicillin supply in the United States to treat ten patients.

It is important to take note that the United States was at war during this time, and there was huge demand for antibiotics; hundreds of Allied soldiers were dying from infections by the day. A race for mass producing penicillin and securing a generous U.S. defense contract among major pharmaceuticals was imminent.

Curiously, Pfizer was not a pharmaceutical at that time; it only produced industrial chemicals for the food and drink industry.

Regardless, Kane’s design for deep-fermentation tanks was later adopted by Pfizer in order to produce penicillin as it was found to be the most efficient method around. Meanwhile, McKeen for his part helped ensure that the pioneering penicillin plant went up and running. His ingenuity and hard work allowed Pfizer to procure materials needed for setup despite the widespread scarcity during the war time.

This and Pfizer’s profound knowledge of fermentation processes allowed it to overtake its competition. By Pfizer was producing almost half of the United States’ total penicillin supply.

After the war, McKeen was further promoted to executive vice president for the scientific contributions and managerial excellence that he has performed.

He would ultimately become Pfizer’s president in and chairman of the board in —both posts he would serve until his retirement.

He led the company to an era of innovation, producing more groundbreaking antibiotics during his tenure. His administration also saw drastic changes in how Pfizer marketed its products; whereas it only sold its chemicals to other companies before wholesale, Pfizer first sold retail drugs during his term.

McKeen was also an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering. He died.

Kane eventually became vice president and director of biochemical research at Pfizer. He lived a long age, dying due to natural causes in at the age of 101.

Profile: William Hampson and Carl von Linde - Liquefaction

This post is a part of the 12 Chemical Engineers who Changed the World series.

The Hampson–Linde cycle is process for liquefaction of gases that was independently invented by William Hampson and Carl von Linde in 1895.

Carl Paul Gottfried von Linde was born in June 11, 1842, in Berndorf, Kingdom of Bavaria (present-day Thurnau, Germany). Despite his father being a Lutheran minister, von Linde did not follow the path of faith as was expected during his time. Instead, went on to study the sciences.

After attending Kempten Gymnasium in Kempten, Kingdom of Bavaria, von Linde entered the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich in Switzerland in 1861, where he studied engineering. Interestingly, this then–newly founded institution would later produce the best minds of the Western world, including Nobel Prize laureates Albert Einstein and Fritz Haber.

Among von Linde’s teachers were Rudolf Clausius, who is known for his pioneering contributions in the field of thermodynamics; Franz Reuleaux, who is today lauded as the father of kinematics, a branch of classical mechanics that is concerned with describing motion; and Gustav Zeuner, who is the founder of technical thermodynamics, which is a discipline that deals with the engineering applications of thermodynamics.

Von Linde was never able to graduate, however, as he was expelled out of the university in 1864 for his participation in a student protest.

Nevertheless, his profound scientific education did not go to waste; he was able to land a job as an apprentice at a cotton-spinning plant in Kempten, through the recommendation of his ETH professor Reuleaux. He did not stay here for long, and soon enough he moved to the Berlin factory Borsig–Werke. Owned by German industrialist August Borsig, the factory produced steam engine locomotives.

Von Linde’s work experience here deepened his knowledge about gases and thermodynamics further. He finally moved to a Krauss Locomotive Works, a Munich factory which also produced locomotives.

In September 17, 1865, von Linde married Helene Grimm. They were married for 53 years until his death and had six children.

After learning that a new engineering university is to be set up in Munich, von Linde applied for a lecturer position at the present-day Technical University Munich in 1868. He was elevated to professor of mechanical engineering in 1872, and taught many future world-changing engineers, such as Rudolf Diesel who invented the diesel engine.

Von Linde was a very active researcher during his tenure, and produced several works on mechanical engineering, including refrigeration, a field he pioneered. Realizing the potential of his invention, von Linde sought to commercialized his innovative refrigeration process and set up the present-day Linde AG in Wiesbaden, Kingdom of Hesse. Despite the difficult German economy of his time, von Linde experienced lucrative business as his invention found various applications in Germany’s thriving brewing and slaughterhouse industries.

In recognition for his work, he was ennobled in 1897 as Ritter von Linde through his appointment to the Order of Merit of the Bavarian Crown. In and at 92 years of age, von Linde died in Munich out of natural causes.

William Hampson, on the other hand, was born on March 14, 1854 in Berbington, United Kingdom. He was the second son of William Hampson. As for his educational background, he attended Manchester Grammar School and Trinity College at Oxford University, where he was admitted in 1874 at the age of 20.

Surprisingly, he never got any formal education in the sciences and engineering; he took up classics during his stay at Oxford, leading many historians to believe that he was self-taught. And by the looks of it, it seems he performed another marvel: he was the first person to file a patent for gas liquefaction technology, doing so only 13 days ahead of von Linde.

Hampson’s machine used the same principle. For this reason, the process is usually dubbed the Hampson–Linde cycle. As with von Linde’s, Hampson’s invention was a commercial success.

His interests and scientific contributions were far-ranging. For instance, he published works for the public understanding of science on thermodynamics and radioactivity. He was also a licensed apothecary, and did practice in major London hospitals. He conducted research on the pacemaker and contributed minor improvements to the x-ray tube. He also published works on economics.

The Hampson-Linde cycle works by exploiting the Joule–Thompson effect which says that virtually all gases would cool down when expanded in a hollow container.

It starts by compressing the gas in question. This causes it to initially rise in temperature.

The heated gas is sent into a heat exchanger without changing the pressure, then to an expansion chamber where it drastically cools down due to the sudden loss of pressure. This cooled gas is passed through the same heat exchanger where the heated gas was passed earlier.

Hence, the cooled gas absorbs the heat from the heated gas. After heat exchange, the gas is put back into the original chamber for recompression. With the gas losing heat with each iteration of the cycle, this process is done multiple times until the gas cools down enough to allow for it to liquefy. This liquefied gas can then be collected from the expansion chamber (where much of the actual cooling happens).

How to Increase Your Engineering Salary

Every employees salary is a very emotional topic. Thankfully engineers are often rewarded quite well for their expertise and services. But there are always ways to increase your salary, while at the same time excelling at your chosen profession and improving your engineering abilities.

So how exactly do you go about increasing your salary?

 

Source: BullionVault

Thankfully over the years many engineering professional organizations have performed yearly salary surveys, so there is a lot of data available regarding salary increases, and differences in pay depending on a variety of circumstances. By looking at this data and trying to analyze it there have been found several key differences between engineers and their salaries which you can take advantage of.

So, here are 5 ideas to increase your salary as a chemical engineer:

1. Get Chartered

IChemE have recently found through a salary survey of over 2,500 chemical engineers that those who have been chartered by a recognized professional organization earn as much as £10,000 a year more than those without. A similar salary survey by ASME of 12,000 engineers found chartered engineers command over US$20,000 more than non-chartered engineers.

Getting chartered proves to an employer that a group of professional engineers recognize that you are competent in your work and operate in a ethical manner. Engineers Australia aim to use chartered membership to show that participants demonstrate:

  • The highest standards of professionalism
  • Leadership
  • Up-to-date expertise
  • Quality and safety
  • The ability to undertake independent practice

These qualities are exactly what every employer wants in their chemical engineers, so the ability to prove that you have all of these attributes in extremely powerful.

2. Do Further Study

A masters degree or a PhD in a specific technical area make you (or at least give the perception) more of an expert in that field. In fact, in a the ASME salary surveyit was found that a masters degree can increase your salary by US$10,000, and a doctorate can increase it by a further US$21,000!

3. Move to Management

The move for a chemical engineer from a technical role to business management is a logical and common progression. It is also another way to increase your salary, although this usually comes with increased responsibilities and work load.

Although the role may not be as challenging from a technical perspective and the amount of money being dealt with make decisions extremely important and valuable to the operations performance and the businesses bottom line.

4. Change Industries

The difference in salaries between engineers who work in the Oil and Gas industry compared with those in food production for example can be significant. APESMA conducted a survey breaking down the difference between annual salary increases by multiple industries where the mining and oil and gas industry vastly outperformed other alternatives such as water treatment or chemical storage.

Source: APESMA

To illustrate the long term impact of an increase in annual salary please view the following graph. Over a 25 year career with a starting wage of $80,000, a 1% change in annual salary increase can result in over $50,000 per year salary increase in the final year as well as $400,000 increase in total earnings!

5. Change Locations

In the same ASME survey it was found that where you live and work can represent a difference in salary of as much as US$24,000. In fact, moving from the Upper Mountain states to the Pacific Southwest could increase your salary by around 30%!

It has also been found that with Australian chemical engineers earning a reported AU$10,000 more than their US counterparts and as much as AU$44,000 more than chemical engineers working in the UK!

This is very closely linked to the previous suggestion, as changing locations can often resulting in a change of industry.

There are literally dozens of career progression opportunities that you can take to increase your salary. The ideas above are just a few possibilities which are proven to result in significant monetary gains.

If you have any other possibilities or you have used one of these methods yourself we would love to her about it - leave a comment below.

 

Profile: Karl Bayer - Extraction of Alumina from Bauxite

This post is a part of the 12 Chemical Engineers who Changed the World series.

Aluminium was once so expensive that an aluminium bar was displayed next to the French Crown Jewels in Paris in 1855. Karl Bayer was an Austrian chemist who developed a process for extracting alumina from bauxite, and along with the Hall-Heroult process was able to reduce the cost of producing aluminium to drop by 80% from 1854 to 1890.

Bayer was born in 1847 in Bielitz, Austria. He studied chemistry at the University of Heidelberg before he began working for the Tentelev Chemical Plant.

He discovered a method for producing aluminium hydroxide as a dye for the textile industry in 1887 and patented it the next year. The process was made of three key discoveries:

  1. Adding aluminium hydroxide precipitation yield could be maximized if agitated in a cold solution with recycled seed. The solids can then be easily filtered and washed to produce a pure product
  2. Alumina within bauxite could be extracted by heating it in a solution of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda)
  3. The spent caustic soda could be easily recycled

The Bayer process is still used throughout the world as the primary method for producing smelter grade alumina. The first alumina refinery using the bayer process was at Gardanne in France in 1894 and is still operating today.

Karl Bayer made a huge impact on the minerals processing industry, as well as modern culture as a whole. The ability to produce aluminium at a much lower cost than previously boosted its use and popularity and is still used extensively throughout the world.

 

 

Profile: Henry Bessemer - The Man of Steel

This article is part of the 12 Chemical Engineers who Changed the World series.

The industrial revolution was a time when great men forged the modern world. Engineers played a vital role, and were able to provide long lasting solutions to the great problems of the day.

“I had an immense advantage over many others dealing with the problem inasmuch as I had no fixed ideas derived from long-established practice to control and bias my mind, and did not suffer from the general belief that whatever is, is right.”

Henry Bessemer

 

Henry Bessemer was a British inventor, born in 1813, who in 1856 developed the Bessemer Process - a method of producing vast quantities of steel at a hugely reduced cost.

In a time when steel was only able to be made in small batches, and all major construction was done with iron, Bessemer set out to develop a process for mass producing steel.

The Bessemer process was simple yet extremely effective - cold air was blown through liquid iron, which burnt out any impurities, such as any excess carbon. This was able to produce high quality steel from low quality, local pig iron.

The cost of steel was reduced from £40 to £7 per long ton. This directly lead to the widespread use of steel as a substitute for cast iron, and allowed the production of:

  • Large bridges
  • Railroads
  • Skyscrapers
  • Naval ships
  • High pressure boilers
  • Large turbines

Due to the increased strength at reduced cost steel was able to produce machinery that was much more powerful than previously possible.

 Bessemer was a prolific inventor throughout his life, and was also involved in:

  • Created heavier artillery shells cut with spiral grooves to spin them and improve accuracy
  • Developed a method for embossing velvet
  • Invented a hydraulic machine for extracting sugar cane juice
  • Developed steam driven fans for ventilating mines
  • Designed a furnace for making sheet glass

Henry Bessemer earned over 100 patents throughout his life, and was knighted for his contribution to science. The vast number of designs for a huge number of applications show the depth and talent of Bessemer. His focus, and work ethic are admirable and his should be emulated.

 

7 Resume Tips for Chemical Engineers

Your resume is one of the most important documents in your possession, and can have a staggering impact on your career progression. It is a written description of your ability to fulfill a business’ requirements, and is often open to a lot of interpretation. There are thousands of different ways to manipulate the same data (your skills and experiences) to present it in the most compelling way - remember, you are trying to prove to management, technical staff, and human resources that they will be better off with you in their employment.

Source: Vu Hung

A resume is used by companies HR departments to evaluate a huge range of your characteristics to see if you will succeed in the desired position and whether you will fit into the culture, including:

  • Intelligence
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Team Work
  • Communication Skills
  • Problem Solving Ability

The differences between a standard resume and a great resume can result in a significant reduction in job opportunities if your application is dismissed.

Follow the tips below and you can improve your resume to truly reflect your actual ability.

1. Be clear and concise

No-one wants to read a novel to obtain the same information that you can dot-point. Summarize your key points and try to reduce any ‘fluff.’

2. Tailor your resume to each job application

Find out exactly what skills and experience the potential job is looking for and highlight those skills. If the job requires extensive process modelling then demonstrate your process modelling activities.

3. List your key projects and achievements

A potential employer is not interested in the 6 months you spent checking your email during work experience, but they are interested in the commissioning that you were involved in during those 6 months. Highlight achievements rather than timelines.

4. Sell your skills

Remember, you are not selling your personality. You are offering the company a solution, i.e. the ability to improve fuel efficiency, quality, or profit margins.

5. Demonstrate continued learning and education

With technology advancing at ever-increasing rates the ability to continually learn and improve your skills is extremely valuable.

6. Be 100% grammar and spelling mistake free

If you are sloppy enough to make a spelling mistake on a resume, than maybe you will make a mistake in an important calculation or critical decision.

7. Be honest

Do not try to trick your way into a job, or both you and your employer will be disappointed. Your reputation is your most valuable asset and should not be compromised for short term gains.

 

A resume is a document outlining your value and potential. Its importance should not be underestimated, but at the end of the day it is your skills and experiences that really count. Look at improving your knowledge and attributes and your resume will continue to improve.

12 Chemical Engineers who Changed the World

“It always seems impossible until its done”

Nelson Mandela

Chemical engineering is involved in nearly every industry, and is critical in processing products which change the world. As the industrial revolution was building the need for material in bulk quantities and low prices was growing. This was also before the term ‘Chemical Engineering’ was used with many of the people in this list considered to be a combination of chemist, engineer, and inventor.

Over the next few months we will be profiling 12 famous chemical engineers who have changed the world:

1. Henry Bessemer - Cheap mass production of steel

2,3. Carl von Linde and William Hampson - Gas liquefaction and refrigeration

4,5. Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch - Mass production of ammonia

6. Karl Bayer, Charles Hall, and Paul Heroult - Cheap mass production of aluminium

7,8. Jasper Kane and John McKeen - Mass production of penicillin

9. Waldo Semon - Developed more than 5000 synthetic rubbers including PVC

10,11,12. George Rosenkranz, Luis Miramontes, and Carl Djerassi - Development of the contraceptive pill

All of these engineers developed methods for vastly changing not only the material world, but the way in which we perceive it. They succeeded in creating solutions that the rest of the world could not conceive, or thought to be outcome impossible. They overcame the odds and become truly great.

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”

Albert Einstein

These 12 engineers’ stories should be studied and their lessons remembered so that we can strive to emulate their achievements.

21 Tips for Graduate Chemical Engineers

When you leave university and get a job most engineering graduates are thrown in the deep end, expected to be competent in the work place and in a new industry. This can be very daunting and is a time full of unknowns. Below are some tips to try to make sense of the exciting new position that graduate chemical engineers find themselves in.

Source: RiverRatt3

1. Learn the value of networking

Networking both inside and outside your profession and industry is extremely important. It is much easier to get a job through the recommendation of a colleague than through a blind resume. Networking also opens the opportunity for business deals, and career progression, and can be done in any social event.

2. Build your reputation

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

Benjamin Franklin
Having a good reputation goes a long way to achieving success both in terms of everyday work activities and long-term career progression.
3. Set career goals

What do you want to get out of your current job? High pay, development opportunities, ability to travel, experience? Think about what you are trying to achieve and you may see things in a different perspective. Look forward 2, 5, and 10 years and set clear, achievable goals. This will give you direction and purpose in your work and your career.

4. Get a mentor

Learning from an experienced engineer can significantly reduce the amount of time wasted at a new job. Find out who the shot callers are, the history of the plant, previous successful projects, and potential career opportunities.

5. Get to know the people on the coal face

The people actually doing the work, operating the process, and maintaining the equipment see the problems and potential solutions everyday. Get to know them and hear their ideas and you will save yourself a huge amount of time. For a graduate engineer there are a lot of practical systems that are critical to process improvement that you will not know without operating the equipment. Get your hands dirty and it will help you in the long run.

6. Take time to develop yourself

Your own development as an engineer is something that you should work on throughout your entire career. Professional associations, conferences, and networking opportunities are all ways to progress your skill and career. Technical experience and improving your soft skills take time, but are worth it in the long run.

7. Never stop learning

University teaches the general overview in terms of theoretical fundamentals. As you delve into individual piece of equipment, processing plant strategies, and synergy between equipment you will discover that there is a huge amount that you do not know. Go through journal articles, textbooks, and old site documentation and you will go a long way to remove this knowledge gap.

8. Don’t chase the dollar

Chemical engineers are generally very well paid. Early in your career it can be very difficult to refuse a high paying job to focus on gaining experience and exposure to different industries. Think long-term about your development as an engineer and what your current decisions will have on your future career aspirations.

9. Work in the field

What is actually happening in the plant cannot be seen from a computer screen. Studying the process trends is important, but there are many changes that can only be seen visually in the field. Blown pump glands, filter cloth holes, steam leaks, and water ingress can all have a major impact on a processing plant’s performance, and are difficult to identify through instrumentation. Try to spend as much time outside as you can and think of every trip as a learning opportunity.

10. Expose yourself to other people’s expertise

Every project no matter how small will involve dozens of different disciplines, whether it is the process, instrumentation, mechanical standards, site standards, operability or ease of maintenance. Exposing yourself to all these different areas will mean that you can consider their impact in much greater detail and reduce the number of revisions that are required to make everybody happy.

11. Learn how to manage time

In any professional environment there are a lot of urgent matters which will take your attention away from the work that really matters. Learning how to manage your own time as well as prioritize the work that will make a long term difference is important to seeing real process gains.

12. Learn how to manage projects

Project management is an extremely valuable skill to have. Hundreds of books have been written on the subject because the difference between a good project manager and a poor one can result in months of delays and millions of dollars in additional costs. Learn early about how to manage small projects and you will have much greater success in future, larger projects.

13. Improve your technical writing skills

Remember that a lot of processing plants will be running long after you have left and consider the problems that you have successfully and unsuccessfully solved. Imagine a new engineer taking your role and the amount of time that could be saved if they do not have to repeat your mistakes. Documentation is extremely important, and the technical writing ability to show the full story is critical. Technical writing also allows you to justify capital expenditure, change operating practices and improve general plant performance.

14. Change your presentation style

Universities provide opportunities for students to practice presenting to a group of their peers, but in the real world you will be presenting to very different groups of people - business leaders, management, technical experts, operations, maintenance, and every group in between. The ability to persuade and effectively present your point of view can be the difference between project success and cancellation. Find out who you are presenting to, what you want to gain out of the presentation, and how you are going to achieve this long before you actually present and you will go a long way to achieving success.

15. Study the P&IDs

Learning how your process works is more than just looking at the flow diagrams. Studying the P&IDs will teach you were important instrumentation is, line sizes, drain lines, possible line-ups and dozens of other useful and practical tools. Going out into the plant and following the lines with an accurate P&ID should be one of the first activities any graduate does.

16. Never trust the P&IDs

Particularly with older processing plants - never trust the P&IDs! After various ‘quick fix’ solutions, maintenance changes, and equipment age it is inevitable that some P&IDs do not accurately represent the actual plant. Make sure you verify all information before making any important decisions. A small amount of time checking could save you a lot of errors and embarrassment down the track.

17. Spend as much time on site as possible

You can work in an office when you are old and grey. No amount of design is as important as how the equipment is actually used. Take every opportunity to see different unit operations in production and you will gain a lot of insight into problems and potential improvements.

18. Think about the big picture

As much as it feels like your project is the only thing that matters, it can often be a small piece in a much larger puzzle. Take a step back and look at the big picture. This will often give you more insight into the real purpose of your project. Are you looking at energy efficiency gains for production increase, cost reduction, or environmental reasons?

19. Teach as much as you are taught

Although it often feels like you are a complete beginner, remember that you have years of education that others do not. Passing this knowledge on to processing plant operations is a great way to improving the decisions they make. Everything that you learn is something that other people may not know. Take the opportunity to train the crews and they will reward you in operational excellence.

20. Don’t re-invent the wheel

Unless the processing plant that you are working at is already operating at near full capacity and theoretical fuel efficiency there is no need to re-invent the wheel. Tried methods for improvement are simple and effective, and usually do not require brand new technology. Look for the ‘low hanging fruit’ and work on projects that are simple and provide the biggest returns on your time/investment. Once you have got some more experience then start looking for the major industry breakthrough.

21. Experience, Experience, Experience

Try to experience as many different pieces of equipment, analytical methods, control strategies, projects, and processes as you can. This gives you a major advantage over other engineers, and allows you to draw solutions from many different systems. The ability to pick the best from a wide range of situations is key to success.

 

Graduating from university as a chemical engineer is just the first step. If you have any advice of your own to share please comment below.

Build Your Chemical Engineering Library

Textbooks are the lifeblood of any engineer, and sourcing the best, most informative and explanatory books can save a huge amount of time searching for data, and improve your ability to problem solve and develop new ideas. Listed below are some books which you should consider having in your own professional library:

Source: Seatle Municiple Library

  1. Perry’s Chemical Engineers’ Handbook, D. Green, R. Perry
  2. Elementary Principles of Chemical Processes, R. Felder, R. Rousseau
  3. Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering, W. McCabe
  4. Essentials of Chemical Reaction Engineering, S. Fogler
  5. Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers, S. Hall
  6. Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics, J. Smith

On top of this I have found one of the most useful sets of documents to have is journals and presentations from industrial conferences. Rather than purely theory, these often contain practical case studies and real world solutions which can be applied in your own work place. Conferences also occur every few years, so the longer they have been ongoing the more information is available. They also contain the latest technology and best practices. Some examples of these include:

  • Alumina Quality Workshop Conference
  • International Conference on Electrostatic Precipitation
  • Pulp and Paper Industry Conference

There are literally dozens of conferences and documentation for all industries and disciplines.

If you have any other favourite books then please submit them below.