When I say I am graduating in Chemical Engineering I feel very conceited. The reason is what I have heard on my first day at BUET – ‘Chemical Engineering is a versatile subject’. At first, the line sounded vague, though; eventually it seemed clearer as I came to know about Chemical Engineering. It is versatile because of its contents. Often we are offered courses from other disciplines of engineering but our courses are unique. They are not offered to other disciplines of engineering. Courses like material and energy balance, unit operations, reaction engineering, process design, corrosion engineering are some of our trademarks. These are some of the courses for which chemical engineers are a must need in industries. In modern times, chemical engineers are engaged in the development and production of a wide range of diversified products and chemicals as well as common daily life commodities. These products include high performance materials needed for aerospace, environmental, automotive, biomedical, electronic, space and military applications.
Ultra-strong fibres, fabrics, dye-sensitized solar cells, adhesives and composites for vehicles, bio-compatible materials for implants and prosthetics, gels for medical applications, pharmaceuticals and films with special dielectric, optical or spectroscopic properties for opto-electronic devices are some of the many examples.
Furthermore, nowadays chemical engineering is often entangled with biochemical and biomedical engineering. Many chemical engineers are working on bio related projects such as understanding proteins, mapping the human genome, developing concentration gradients to guide neuron stem cells and engineering biodegradable polymers for medical application. The line between chemists and chemical engineers is growing ever thinner as more and more chemical engineers initiate their own innovations using their knowledge of chemistry, physics and mathematics to create, implement and mass produce their ideas. So I believe it is true – ‘Chemical Engineering is a versatile subject’.
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Rahman, M.M., My Experience as a Chemical Engineering Student, ChE Thoughts 1 (1), 37, 2010.