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Specialty Chemistry Forums => Chemical Engineering Forum => Topic started by: Bublik on October 27, 2012, 09:51:41 PM

Title: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Bublik on October 27, 2012, 09:51:41 PM
Hey there, I'm in my final year of high school and I'm trying to make a decision for my undergrad degree.

I love chemistry, math and physics (and some bio here and there), but I think I am really developing a passion for chem. I do fairly well on chemistry contests and enjoy solving interesting problems like the ones the chemistry Olympiad offers.

I guess I just want some insight from experienced people, because I don't really understand the difference between the outcomes of chemistry vs. chemical engineering. Ideally, I would want to be doing research at a lab - I don't care that much about money (it's funny how I am obliged to mention this when talking about a research job).

All personal experiences would be very appreciated,

Thanks
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: eazye1334 on October 29, 2012, 07:44:21 AM
If you want research, then I would absolutely point you towards chemistry. Chemical engineering is more the application side of things. While I do some lab work here and there, 90% of what I do is related to process and production. The only time I spend in a lab is to troubleshoot production and work on scale-up decisions. Don't do ChE if your end goal is research.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on October 29, 2012, 08:29:37 AM
If you value breadth over depth go for ChEng.; you'll be surprised the sort of learning and courses one gets exposed to.

ChEng. is less Chemistry than what a lot of people think it involves. OTOH you'll learn multidisciplinary stuff most Chemists hardly ever take classes in.

Some particularly useful areas are: Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics, Equipment Design, Control Engineering, Rotating Equipment, Piping.

Coming to potential downsides: It can be a lot less rigorous than a major in Chemistry ; be ready to work with numerous correlations, fudge factors, empirical design etc. You end up being a sort of Jack o' all trades...
And you'll never win the Nobel Prize  ;D
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Bublik on October 29, 2012, 11:58:13 AM
Thank you very much for your responses. I'm definitely leaning towards chemistry now.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: fledarmus on October 29, 2012, 12:10:44 PM
Agree with curiouscat - chemical engineering is almost all engineering, with very little of what we think of as chemistry involved. The part of chemistry that is involved consists almost entirely of either the energetics of chemical reactions so the appropriate heat addition/removal systems can be added to the process, or the physical states of chemicals so the appropriate materials handling components can be added.

If you want to do research in a chemistry lab, you will be doing chemistry. If you are a chemical engineer, your "lab research" will consist of designing small plants to run your chemical reactions.

On the other hand, there is an open space between lab research and plant design that is typically called "process development" or something similar, which could benefit very strongly from chemists with a strong background in chemical engineering, or chemical engineers with a strong backgound in chemistry. Typically, that division of a large company contains both chemists and chemical engineers, and in every case I've seen so far, they do not get along very well with each other. Neither truly understands the other's field, or respects their contribution to the final product. If you really like that field, a double major would be very useful. Unfortunately, the class work is so different and extensive that this typically means at least an additional 1-2 years of undergraduate work, assuming you can get the required permissions to take the classes.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on October 29, 2012, 12:41:40 PM
On the other hand, there is an open space between lab research and plant design that is typically called "process development" or something similar, which could benefit very strongly from chemists with a strong background in chemical engineering, or chemical engineers with a strong backgound in chemistry. Typically, that division of a large company contains both chemists and chemical engineers, and in every case I've seen so far, they do not get along very well with each other.

Totally agree with @fledarmus. The few people who do have a good handle on both the Chemistry and the Engineering quickly get very valuable.

I will say though, that I've known more Che. Engs. who were also good at Chemistry than Chemists who were good at Engineering. Maybe I'm prejudiced, but I think the reason is that at the Univs. Chemists are groomed as Specialists whereas Engineers as Generalists. I may be wrong.

Quote
Neither truly understands the other's field, or respects their contribution to the final product. If you really like that field, a double major would be very useful. Unfortunately, the class work is so different and extensive that this typically means at least an additional 1-2 years of undergraduate work, assuming you can get the required permissions to take the classes.

As an aside though, Process Dev. has a lot of PhDs /  MSs etc. So one option is to even out your skillset in Grad. School.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: eazye1334 on October 29, 2012, 01:26:05 PM
Totally agree with @fledarmus. The few people who do have a good handle on both the Chemistry and the Engineering quickly get very valuable.

I will say though, that I've known more Che. Engs. who were also good at Chemistry than Chemists who were good at Engineering. Maybe I'm prejudiced, but I think the reason is that at the Univs. Chemists are groomed as Specialists whereas Engineers as Generalists. I may be wrong.

That's typically what I've seen as well. Of the chemists I've worked with, nearly all of them had trouble grasping "real world" constraints. Often they would present a design and then be upset when we had to change it drastically to conform to the plant constraints. Of course, I'm also biased as I've never been on the chemist side of the scenario.

The generalist vs. specialist comment is also very valid. My alma mater specifically tailored their ChE program to process development, which requires a lot of non-chemistry work. At my job now, I even have to get into some electrical/mechanical engineering concepts on the fly to make everything work. The "jack-of-all-trades" idea definitely appeals to some people and not at all to others.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on October 29, 2012, 02:20:23 PM
One of the problems is you've already read books on "Chemistry" but (probably) none on Chemical Engineering. The conception I had of what a Che.Eng. studies when I finished High School was totally different from what we actually did.

One sugesstion is that if you have access to a local library check out some books in the Chem. Eng. section (if you are lucky to find one! )

The internet has made this easy too. Try:

Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering [ McCabe Smith Harriott]
http://www.amazon.com/Operations-Chemical-Engineering-Warren-McCabe/dp/0070393664

Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook, Eighth Edition
http://www.amazon.com/Perrys-Chemical-Engineers-Handbook-Eighth/dp/0071422943


Amazon has a preview available so you can sample both books online for free.

Maybe others can suggest better titles for a "sampler".

PS. Don't worry that the material seems hard; just try to imagine the areas you'll study.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Bublik on October 29, 2012, 03:45:09 PM
Thanks to all, this is a lot more than I could ask for.

Since I want more depth in studying chemistry, the subject itself sounds a lot more appealing to me, for now at least. I'm sure that both chemistry and chemical engineering are interesting and challenging, but I feel like I would want to work more with the science rather than the design. Also, to me it does make more sense to be a specialist of something, rather than "a Jack o' all trades", like curiouscat says. 

The chemical engineering books on Amazon unfortunately only had the intro and appendixes in their "samples".

I can understand how an education in both chemistry and chemical engineering can make someone valuable - especially after all the varied input - but I think that a double major is just too much work, and time. They are both pretty heavy subjects, and at my school of interest, engineering by itself is considered a huge course load.

easye1234, when you say, "Of the chemists I've worked with, nearly all of them had trouble grasping "real world" constraints. Often they would present a design and then be upset when we had to change it drastically to conform to the plant constraints. Of course, I'm also biased as I've never been on the chemist side of the scenario." I can see that happening very well  :P I do have another question which arises from this:

What would a typical chemical engineer's project look like? I know now that it has to do with designing plants to run chemical reactions - so, to me it sounds like the making of some sort of blueprint which attempts to achieve maximum yield of a product, which essentially another company is selling. This is reminding me of how sea salt is extracted from seawater - I recall watching the extraction process while I was away for vacation. Would that process be something that would be designed by a chemical engineer? What do you guys, as chemical engineers, typically find yourselves working on?

Once again, thanks a lot for all the input. It's a great help.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on October 29, 2012, 04:12:19 PM

What would a typical chemical engineer's project look like? I know now that it has to do with designing plants to run chemical reactions - so, to me it sounds like the making of some sort of blueprint which attempts to achieve maximum yield of a product, which essentially another company is selling. This is reminding me of how sea salt is extracted from seawater - I recall watching the extraction process while I was away for vacation. Would that process be something that would be designed by a chemical engineer? What do you guys, as chemical engineers, typically find yourselves working on?


In terms of areas, some of the big employers are: Petroleum Refining, Pharma,Plastics,  Bulk Chemicals, Fine Chemicals, Food Processing. 

About types of projects, some types:

*Expanding the capacity of a current process. This can be by changing reaction conditions, optimizing existing equipment or simply buying a larger machine at the bottleneck.

*Designing the Process for a totally new chemical or drug

*Making an existing product via a new route. Deciding the relative feasibility among of several routes. (Can't be left to a Chemist!  :P ). Often, it is not just the yields; but the cost of capital equipment. e.g. Corrosive reagents or high pressures may need Exotic Materials of Construction.

*Safety or pollution oriented changes to existing plant. Complying with the hundreds of regulations and inspectors out there. Documentation. Audits.  ::)  (Sorry, this part isn't very glamorous)

*Changing batch operations to continuous ones. Deciding optimum scheduling and blending operations.

*Scaling up: A chemist might have made 100 gm of the drug in a flask and we get to figure how to make 10 tons in a plant.


Another way to look at it is along the lifecycle of a typical project:
Deciding if a project makes sense monetarily; Then choosing the basic route and reaction conditions (e.g. steps, reagents, temperatures, Pressures, Seperation scheme etc.) This part is where the Chemists are kings and get to boss around.  :)

After that comes a detailed design where every piece of equipment is sized. Suitable control schemes and automation is decided. Followed up by the mechanical and piping design. This is the stage you get to work with many other experts like Mechanical, Civil, Electrical Engineers etc.

Then come the part where equipment is actually ordered; lots of contracts get made.  Project engineers then install and commission all the equipment. Startup can be an exciting time.  >:D

Then comes the routine operation and maintainance of  an ( hopefully ) well-running plant.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on October 29, 2012, 05:05:29 PM
Quote
I know now that it has to do with designing plants to run chemical reactions - so, to me it sounds like the making of some sort of blueprint

This is close to a Chemical Engineer's Blueprint; it's called a "piping and instrumentation diagram/drawing (P&ID)" :

(https://www.chemicalforums.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fcommons%2Ff%2Ffc%2FP%2526ID.JPG&hash=20d8bb5a3cb2804259e0dd05a0f8bfa0)
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Bublik on October 29, 2012, 05:52:40 PM
Wow. Thank you so much for sharing that, and I no longer have any questions.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: DrCMS on October 29, 2012, 06:17:05 PM
So far I've heard a lot of chemical engineers patting themselves on the back for how versatile they are and how limited chemists are. 

My opinion is the exact opposite in my experience chemical engineers think they are gods who are all brilliant chemists and expert engineers while in actual fact they know just enough about each to be a huge pain in the arse. 

I'd take a chemist and an engineer over a chemical engineer every time and I have yet to meet any chemist who has a good opinion of chemical engineers.  Personally in the last 20 years I've only met 2 chemical engineers I'd trust and maybe it's not coincidental they are both German with PhD's. The dozens of other chemical engineers from the UK and USA I've met have been awful truly awful.

I do agree that most chemist do not know enough about process design, reaction calorimetry and safety but the answer is training chemists in those things rather than asking a chemical engineer how to spend big bucks to screw up the process and plant.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: eazye1334 on October 30, 2012, 07:47:52 AM
So far I've heard a lot of chemical engineers patting themselves on the back for how versatile they are and how limited chemists are. 

My opinion is the exact opposite in my experience chemical engineers think they are gods who are all brilliant chemists and expert engineers while in actual fact they know just enough about each to be a huge pain in the arse. 

I'd take a chemist and an engineer over a chemical engineer every time and I have yet to meet any chemist who has a good opinion of chemical engineers.  Personally in the last 20 years I've only met 2 chemical engineers I'd trust and maybe it's not coincidental they are both German with PhD's. The dozens of other chemical engineers from the UK and USA I've met have been awful truly awful.

So because you've had a bad experience means they're all rubbish?

Quote
I do agree that most chemist do not know enough about process design, reaction calorimetry and safety but the answer is training chemists in those things rather than asking a chemical engineer how to spend big bucks to screw up the process and plant.

This is exactly the problem: minimizing the abilities of the other group. I've never made any remarks saying I can do a chemist's job. I can't and don't pretend that I can. But don't pretend that just by taking a process course that a chemist can suddenly do a ChemE's job. There's a reason the load for both is heavy: because it's hard.

And nobody said "limited", we said specialized. There is a difference, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. Chemists are needed for that as we do not have enough chemical training to take over design projects in most cases. I have a decent chemistry background, but I certainly don't know enough outside of the basics. And yes, chemical engineers are versatile, no matter how much you want to disagree. At every one of my jobs I've had to be a mechanic, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, and computer engineer in addition to my chemical duties. That's what is expected of us. It's not an attempt to "pat ourselves on the back", it's just a simple truth about what we are asked to do.

Sorry, but I get a little angry when a chemist tries to discount the hard work I've put into my own career. We have different contributions to projects; I respect yours, you should respect mine.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: DrCMS on October 30, 2012, 09:46:11 AM
So far I've heard a lot of chemical engineers patting themselves on the back for how versatile they are and how limited chemists are. 

My opinion is the exact opposite in my experience chemical engineers think they are gods who are all brilliant chemists and expert engineers while in actual fact they know just enough about each to be a huge pain in the arse. 

I'd take a chemist and an engineer over a chemical engineer every time and I have yet to meet any chemist who has a good opinion of chemical engineers.  Personally in the last 20 years I've only met 2 chemical engineers I'd trust and maybe it's not coincidental they are both German with PhD's. The dozens of other chemical engineers from the UK and USA I've met have been awful truly awful.

So because you've had a bad experience means they're all rubbish?

When every single one of them I've dealt with (except the 2 German ones) have been rubbish and none of the chemists I've dealt with have a good word to say about any chemical engineers then yes they are.

I've had a more than a few customers ask how many chemical engineers we employ and when I give the answer none they have breathed a sigh of relief and then said "lucky you!".  The reason they ask is that when the projects get run past the chemical engineers in their companies the cost of implementation kills the project.  Thankfull that's good news for us because they bring it to us and we work out how to make the correct product without spending a fortune on new equipment.  The default option for chemical engineers given a potential new product to make is to design a new plant to do the job.  That's all well and good if the volume is high enough but for most new products you do not know how much you're going to be making to begin with.  Starting the project with a huge CAPEX bill is not a way to succeed so the project gets dropped.

I've never made any remarks saying I can do a chemist's job. I can't and don't pretend that I can.

Unfortunately most of the chemical engineers I've dealt with have thought exactly that but have made a very poor job of it. 

There is a school of thought, started and perpetuated by chemical engineers, that a chemical engineer is the best of both worlds but in my opinion they are the worst of both.

But don't pretend that just by taking a process course that a chemist can suddenly do a ChemE's job. There's a reason the load for both is heavy: because it's hard.

Designing new reactors/plants no I can not do that but getting the best out of the ones we have yes I can do that very well.


Sorry, but I get a little angry when a chemist tries to discount the hard work I've put into my own career. We have different contributions to projects; I respect yours, you should respect mine.

I get very angry when chemical engineers earn more than chemists but know less and contribute less and I'll respect chemical engineers only when they earn it.  The two German ones I mentioned I have a huge amount of respect for because they are very good at their jobs.  The others I've met I would not piss on if they were on fire and given their incompetence it would probably have been their own fault they were on fire.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: eazye1334 on October 30, 2012, 10:09:18 AM
So again, you're painting all chemical engineers as smug idiots who don't know what they're talking about and only screw things up. I have plenty of anecdotal evidence against self-righteous chemists too, but I can chalk that up to the person, not the profession. I fail to see what pay scale has to do with me knowing what I'm talking about, but I digress. I don't see how anyone can fit your contribution wants when you discount anything we do and insist you can do it better, the exact same thing you're accusing ChemE's of.

Anyway, good to know your feelings, at least I know I can stop respecting any opinion you have; anyone who paints an entire profession with such broad strokes doesn't deserve it.

Enough of the pissing match, sorry this got off-topic.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: DrCMS on October 30, 2012, 11:34:10 AM
So again, you're painting all chemical engineers as smug idiots who don't know what they're talking about and only screw things up.

Yes because as I have said time and time again EVERY single UK or USA trained chemical engineer I have EVER dealt with professionally HAS been a smug idiot.

I have plenty of anecdotal evidence against self-righteous chemists too, but I can chalk that up to the person, not the profession.

If it's some chemists then sure chalk it up to the person but if it was each and every chemist you'd met I'm sure you'd blame the profession.

As my experience is the same for all the chemical engineers I've met then I do blame the profession.  I think that it is the training of chemical engineers that leads to that smugness; they are taught they do know it all when it is plain to see by us chemists that they do not. 

You can disregard my opinion all you want but it will not change my opinion or the same opinions of ALL the chemists I know.  I have yet to meet a chemist working in the chemical industry who has a good word to say about chemical engineers.  Clearly if you do not like that then we must all be wrong.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Sircodekill on November 02, 2012, 10:22:08 AM
I am on last course of chemistry and I share a subject called "industrial inorganic chemistry" (focused on chemistry at industry) with chemical engineers. Week ago, some engineers had to do some kind of exposition about LED's. On the powerpoint there was a chemical structure with a clear "B" on it, which they called it twice: bromine.

When our teacher corrected that big mistake they meant to say that that fail was not so important. f&#$ off, they don't know the f&#^$*@ elements? That is just unbelievable.

Chemical engineers do not know a s#*$ about chemistry. If you like chemistry (as i do) go to the science branch, you won't regret.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: eazye1334 on November 02, 2012, 11:46:01 AM
Yes, because some idiots in your class made a mistake, that must mean no engineers have any clue and can't even name elements.  ::)

The OP made a post questioning which direction is best for him. How about we stick to answers for him instead of listening to some arrogant chemists make disparaging remarks about an entire profession?
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Sircodekill on November 02, 2012, 01:25:00 PM
Yes, because some idiots in your class made a mistake, that must mean no engineers have any clue and can't even name elements.  ::)

The OP made a post questioning which direction is best for him. How about we stick to answers for him instead of listening to some arrogant chemists make disparaging remarks about an entire profession?

don't misinterpret me, i do no take conclusions from a single case.

What i meant to say is if he loves chemistry, if he needs to know how the things are built, why the world is like it is, why the sky is blue or why the blood gets brown when dried... if he feels the curiosity to understand this things i recommend him to be a scientist. Otherwise, if he gets fascinated with human structures or i don't know what chemical engineers get fascinated to, then go for that, but in my opinion chemistry opens (more or less) your eyes, you are able to see the world in a way you couldn't before and that has no price.

I suppose the path we take depends on how are we, the important thing is not choosing the wrong way.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: eazye1334 on November 02, 2012, 02:19:49 PM
I was specifically referring to your comment that ChemE's "do not know a s#*$ about chemistry." I admittedly do not know nearly as much as those in the chemistry field, and any engineer in their right mind would say the same, but I do happen to have a good knowledge base in it.

Thank you, that is actually a pretty good description and I appreciate the civility. My apologies for jumping.

Based on his interests, I would suggest the chemistry route for him as well. To answer your question, I truly love the scale-up process: taking the designs from the chemists and trying to produce it, tweaking processes to make things work, and dealing with all the problems that come along with it. I love having to troubleshoot something on the fly and being put on the spot to fix a problem. I like having the background to understand a goood chunk of the chemistry world, but I'm just not driven to all the details. That's where our differences lie: you are more interested in the what and why, I'm more interested in making the application work. If lab work appeals to you, then chemistry is certainly the route to take.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: vatsalpatel1995 on November 03, 2012, 05:18:43 PM
Hi guys, I want to be a chemical engineer, i live in Canada. I was wondering if ...

1) all they do is labor work?
2) is there good demand for them?
3) i know the pay is good
4) is bachlors enough?
5) some personal experience

Much appreciated
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: vatsalpatel1995 on November 03, 2012, 05:21:13 PM

What would a typical chemical engineer's project look like? I know now that it has to do with designing plants to run chemical reactions - so, to me it sounds like the making of some sort of blueprint which attempts to achieve maximum yield of a product, which essentially another company is selling. This is reminding me of how sea salt is extracted from seawater - I recall watching the extraction process while I was away for vacation. Would that process be something that would be designed by a chemical engineer? What do you guys, as chemical engineers, typically find yourselves working on?




Hi guys, I want to be a chemical engineer, i live in Canada. I was wondering if ...

1) all they do is labor work?
2) is there good demand for them?
3) i know the pay is good
4) is bachlors enough?
5) some personal experience

Much appreciated
In terms of areas, some of the big employers are: Petroleum Refining, Pharma,Plastics,  Bulk Chemicals, Fine Chemicals, Food Processing. 

About types of projects, some types:

*Expanding the capacity of a current process. This can be by changing reaction conditions, optimizing existing equipment or simply buying a larger machine at the bottleneck.

*Designing the Process for a totally new chemical or drug

*Making an existing product via a new route. Deciding the relative feasibility among of several routes. (Can't be left to a Chemist!  :P ). Often, it is not just the yields; but the cost of capital equipment. e.g. Corrosive reagents or high pressures may need Exotic Materials of Construction.

*Safety or pollution oriented changes to existing plant. Complying with the hundreds of regulations and inspectors out there. Documentation. Audits.  ::)  (Sorry, this part isn't very glamorous)

*Changing batch operations to continuous ones. Deciding optimum scheduling and blending operations.

*Scaling up: A chemist might have made 100 gm of the drug in a flask and we get to figure how to make 10 tons in a plant.


Another way to look at it is along the lifecycle of a typical project:
Deciding if a project makes sense monetarily; Then choosing the basic route and reaction conditions (e.g. steps, reagents, temperatures, Pressures, Seperation scheme etc.) This part is where the Chemists are kings and get to boss around.  :)

After that comes a detailed design where every piece of equipment is sized. Suitable control schemes and automation is decided. Followed up by the mechanical and piping design. This is the stage you get to work with many other experts like Mechanical, Civil, Electrical Engineers etc.

Then come the part where equipment is actually ordered; lots of contracts get made.  Project engineers then install and commission all the equipment. Startup can be an exciting time.  >:D

Then comes the routine operation and maintainance of  an ( hopefully ) well-running plant.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: vatsalpatel1995 on November 04, 2012, 10:48:08 AM
I want to know about the future of chemical engineering, their demand, and their pay!
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: eazye1334 on November 05, 2012, 07:40:16 AM
Hi guys, I want to be a chemical engineer, i live in Canada. I was wondering if ...

1) all they do is labor work?
Not sure what you mean exactly. In my experience, I've always worked in industry with a little bit of lab time.

Quote
2) is there good demand for them?
Generally yes, but a lot depends on where you are and what you're willing to do. For example, there is a lot of petroleum-based positions in the southern and western US areas. If you're open to possibly moving, I would pretty much guarantee you'll find something.

Quote
3) i know the pay is good
Usually yes. Some positions more than others, but ChemE's consistently have some of the highest starting and average salaries for bachelor's degrees.

Quote
4) is bachlors enough?
Personal choice based on what you want to do. A Masters in ChemE is really more of a specialization into a certain area. Typically you'll either stay with Bachelors or go all the way to PhD. Personally, I have my Bachelors and will be going back for a Masters in something else because the ChemE Masters really will not help me in my current position.

Quote
5) some personal experience
I have enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm very happy with my choice and have not only enjoyed what I'm doing, but have made a comfortable living for myself as well. You definitely have to be willing to get your hands dirty; chemical engineering is not a desk job. Pilot work, startups, etc., all require your involvement.

One major piece of advice: There's a good chance you'll always be working with technicians in some way. BE NICE TO THEM. Do not treat them as simple workers, treat them as equals. In most cases, they have been there for a long time. Over that time, they've gained a ton of experience and will know their equipment and process inside-out. They are by far your best resource and having them on your side will be a great help to you. It also makes the work much easier as they will respect you if you respect them. Trust me on this.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Bublik on November 05, 2012, 08:22:01 PM
I didn't expect to see all this when I got back  ;D and I didn't mean to spark an argument between the chemists and the chemical engineers on this forum.

Thanks a lot for the input guys, I heard both sides of the argument (literally and figuratively  ;) )

Both careers are very respectable but I would prefer to go to the direction where the most science is, so I am probably going to conclusively choose chemistry as my major.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: vatsalpatel1995 on November 05, 2012, 10:44:10 PM
I want to go to Chemical engineering, but I'm just scared I wont find jobs here in Canada and make decent money! I just want to know if there is good demand for them in the future!

somebody please *delete me*
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: eazye1334 on November 06, 2012, 07:32:39 AM
I want to go to Chemical engineering, but I'm just scared I wont find jobs here in Canada and make decent money! I just want to know if there is good demand for them in the future!

If you want specifics on Canada, then you should probably try asking there. This is an international forum with very few chemical engineers, so the odds of finding a Canadian chemical engineer on here are not good (not impossible of course, but the odds are low). You'd be better off going to a nearby university and asking for information from them.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: zeshkani_usa on November 06, 2012, 09:19:21 PM
I graduated with a BS in chemistry/BA in Biochemistry I thought I would be making some good money, and continue with some sort of lab work, did that happen no

I worked as a Production scientist, pay is anywere from 12/hour to 21/hour max with experience,
i analyzed DNA, did PCR, not chemistry involved at all, i did it for 2 years starting at 15/hour left making 17/hour

right now i' am back in school to get a chemical engineering degree, because A) pays alot more, my friend is a mechanical engineer right out of college making 26/hour working for catapiller, other friend a chemical engineer that left the state is starting at 70K + bonuses
I only made about 36K, now the work was very easy I enjoyed it, but I have a family and with 36K + benefits its just not enough to cover everything

So in my opinion i choose CHE to make more money, you might say i' am after the money, not the science, yes of course i wanna get paid more, plus there is alot more jobs for chemical engineers
just my opinio
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: vatsalpatel1995 on November 07, 2012, 02:16:50 PM
Hey guys, do you know if chemical engineers work in the energy sector except for petroleum?

Do they work in sustainable energy, such as hydro energy, solar energy, wind energy and etc ... nuclear energy etc etc etc
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: eazye1334 on November 07, 2012, 02:45:56 PM
Hey guys, do you know if chemical engineers work in the energy sector except for petroleum?

Do they work in sustainable energy, such as hydro energy, solar energy, wind energy and etc ... nuclear energy etc etc etc

Yes, most definitely. Several courses I took in the process of getting my degree were on alternative energy and green engineering.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: fledarmus on November 07, 2012, 05:33:50 PM
Hey guys, do you know if chemical engineers work in the energy sector except for petroleum?

Do they work in sustainable energy, such as hydro energy, solar energy, wind energy and etc ... nuclear energy etc etc etc

Hydro energy - not so much. This is almost all mechanical and electrical engineering.
Solar energy - some, in the groups that are designing batteries and I believe a couple of groups working with chemical photoreceptors. Most of those technologies aren't at the production stage, however, and bench stage chemistry doesn't involve much engineering.
Wind energy - again, almost all mechanical and electrical.
Nuclear energy - all nuclear engineering, a sort of hybrid between mechanical engineering and particle physics.

However, there is a lot of demand for chemical engineers in the alternative fuels end of sustainable energy, which you seem to have ignored altogether in your list. Biodiesel processes, ethanol production, methane-to-liquid fuel production, fuel cell development, and chemical energy storage (battery) employ quite a few chemical engineers. Any chemical process developed in a lab that is going into production will require intensive chemical engineering.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: alexjordan6 on December 13, 2012, 10:07:19 PM
I didn't realize a bunch of children run/design chemical plants...
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Benzene Martini on March 21, 2014, 11:03:05 PM
So besides working at an oil company or a chemical plant, where do chem engineers work?
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Corribus on March 22, 2014, 12:05:53 AM
The food industry employs a number of them, I believe, because heat transfer is a big part of food processing.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Arkcon on March 22, 2014, 06:08:41 AM
So besides working at an oil company or a chemical plant, where do chem engineers work?

Any time a large batch of anything is made, a chemical engineer's skills are needed.  Again, for food processing, but also for any consumer goods -- from household chemicals, to cosmetics or pharmaceuticals.  Trust me, if you can stir something together in a 4 liter beaker, and expect it to scale to a 10,000 liter tank without chemical engineering knowledge, you can expect disappointment.

Browse the questions in this sub-forum.  If you're not a chemical engineer, are these questions trivial to answer?  And the real world applications are often in the question itself.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Benzene Martini on March 22, 2014, 11:24:02 AM

Any time a large batch of anything is made, a chemical engineer's skills are needed.  Again, for food processing, but also for any consumer goods -- from household chemicals, to cosmetics or pharmaceuticals.  Trust me, if you can stir something together in a 4 liter beaker, and expect it to scale to a 10,000 liter tank without chemical engineering knowledge, you can expect disappointment.

Browse the questions in this sub-forum.  If you're not a chemical engineer, are these questions trivial to answer?  And the real world applications are often in the question itself.

So Chem Engineers are big batch cooks? Got it.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Arkcon on March 22, 2014, 11:51:11 AM

So Chem Engineers are big batch cooks? Got it.

On a level, yes.  Also, they have to understand physics concepts like fluid dynamics, and rates of heating, again, for large batches.  Also, smaller batches that have obscure physical properties, like highly viscous solutions.  Or a better example, a solution that changes viscosity as the reaction proceeds, say the a fluid dispersed polymer.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: DrCMS on March 22, 2014, 02:08:38 PM
Any time a large batch of anything is made, a chemical engineer's skills are needed.

I dispute that statement.  In my experience a good chemist with scale up experience can do that and more.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Arkcon on March 22, 2014, 06:11:14 PM
I dispute that statement.  In my experience a good chemist with scale up experience can do that and more.

That's fair.  On some level, as best I understand it, chemical engineering is a separate degree, that I suppose could, like anything else, be built from experience.  On the other hand, being so much in demand, its more worthwhile to learn the theory before acquiring the practical experience.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: eazye1334 on March 24, 2014, 11:07:02 AM
Saying "batch cooks" isn't really right, as there's more than just batch processes. I've worked on plenty of large continuous processes, say with wiped film evaporators and the like, which is where a lot of the fluid dynamics and heat transfer stuff come into play. I've done some extremely viscous work too, so you're right on that as well.

You'll usually find ChE's around production of all types. Although, a chunk work behind desks and design heat exchangers and process equipment for customers. Also a fair amount are in treatment plants, wastewater and the like.

Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on March 25, 2014, 02:15:40 AM
Here's my take on it: Often in process industries you need skills from disparate areas to make the process work. A Chemical Engineer's key value is that he can be the guy who knows enough to co-ordinate these otherwise distinct skillsets and professionals.

Say you have an electrical engineer wanting to spec out his motors and wiring. The structural guy needs his loads to design his beams. The controls engineer wants to know what exactly to control and what are the alarm settings. The chemist wants to keep the reaction below -10 C but can't be bothered to calculate what size of a chilling plant we need. The Chilling Plant vendor makes pre-packaged skids but his spec. sheet has 20 questions the chemist cannot answer (e.g. floor loads). The Finance guys want a number for how much money this will all cost. EPA and OSHA have compliance checks to fulfill. The Industrial Hygenist will sample the plant but left to himself he'll probably fall into a construction pit or something.

In a mad-house like this the Chem. Engineer is the guy who is NOT an expert in any of these areas but knows enough to talk to the experts and make things work. In principle at least. :)
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on March 25, 2014, 02:21:39 AM
Any time a large batch of anything is made, a chemical engineer's skills are needed.

I dispute that statement.  In my experience a good chemist with scale up experience can do that and more.

I've seen a good operator (High School Ed.) with 40 years experience do more than both. But I think that's besides the point.

Apples for apples, a chemist excels at certain things and a Chem. Engineer at others.  I think of them as complimentary not competing.

It's a fact that the average Chemical Engineer couldn't design an organic synthesis worth crap for you. OTOH it's also a fact that the average chemist cannot spec. out a relief valve or do a pressure vessel code calculation. To each his own. 
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on March 25, 2014, 02:24:57 AM
So besides working at an oil company or a chemical plant, where do chem engineers work?

Semiconductors hires a lot. Tons work at Fabs at Intel / Infinion etc.

Equipment manufacturers and EPC contractors also hire some. Plant and process design. Many somehow find their way into IP law and patent firms. Pharma has a bunch too. Cosmetics, detergents and other consumer goods firms have a bunch too e.g. unilever, P&G etc.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: DrCMS on March 25, 2014, 07:06:35 AM
The chemist wants to keep the reaction below -10 C but can't be bothered to calculate what size of a chilling plant we need

I think you're being a bit too kind I'd say too many would not know how to work it out even though it is a pretty simple calculation.  The training of chemists with regards to process safety is inadequate but that is because the academics in charge of the design of chemistry courses know sod all about the real world their students are going to end up working in.  Thankfully my course did have extra modules on industry and once I was working in process development and scale up I learned more of these important aspects to consider and include in the overall design and scale up work.  If this is not done at this stage it is too late to try to get a chemical engineer to "fix" it later.

In a mad-house like this the Chem. Engineer is the guy who is NOT an expert in any of these areas but knows enough to talk to the experts and make things work. In principle at least. :)

Unfortunately the British chemical engineers I've dealt with thought they were an expert in all those things and more but knew so little that in telling everyone else what to do made it very obvious they were arrogant useless idiots.  Maybe its the UK training of chemical engineers that is the problem as the German ones I've worked with are really very very good.  I've not worked with any US trained chemical engineers only chemists.  We have however the same experience of the Health and Safety / Industrial Hygenist staff.

My experience is fitting a new process into an existing plant with stirred tank reactors.  Here is is important to know the capabilities of the current plant and modify the process to fit within the save operating envelope i.e. changing to a 5 hour feed from a 2 hour one to match the cooling ability of the reactor or increasing the solvent content etc.  Quite often it's not done for safety at the initial pilot plant scale up steps but with an eye on the scale & particular reactor it is expected to operate in regular production.  If you do not make the changes early enough in the development you get "locked" into a particular process by your customers quality and management of change systems. 

I recognise that I do not have anywhere near enough knowledge to design the optimum new plant and especially not a continuous processing plant. 

My experience is that there is a lot more situations in which a new process is being made in an old plant than there are new plants being designed and built to make a new (or old) product. 
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Corribus on March 25, 2014, 09:23:25 AM
the academics in charge of the design of chemistry courses know sod all about the real world their students are going to end up working in.
I'll certainly raise a glass to that!
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on March 25, 2014, 09:26:12 AM
I feel the internal college-to-college variation is strong enough to swamp out any national trends. One thing the German engineers have going for them is the longer course duration (~5 years) in the older Diplom model.

One lingering problem with the top American Chem. Eng. Departments is that they have too little of an industrial focus any more. They are more geared to producing  grad. school researchers than plant engineers.

Sadly the pedigree of faculty has much to do with this. Most are career researchers. Very few have actually worked in a real plant environment.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on March 25, 2014, 09:28:10 AM
the academics in charge of the design of chemistry courses know sod all about the real world their students are going to end up working in.
I'll certainly raise a glass to that!

@Corribus:

Aren't you faculty too? What's the opinion on the other side? What's your idea on what needs to change & how?

Just curious.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Corribus on March 25, 2014, 10:31:20 AM
No, I left academia a few years ago after post-doc. I now work in a gov't lab.

But that doesn't keep me from having an opinion. :)

I think curricula are by and large created by people who have a singular focus on academic research. For that matter, there's no career development offered either. Pretty much all graduate students are educated and then pushed towards careers in academia, because that's all the university people know. If you express an interest in a non-academic job, you're just left by the side of the road.  Why do you think, for instance, that few of the top tier chemistry programs in the US offer courses in analytical chemistry, statistics, and so on? Because these have very little place in basic academic research, that's why.

Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: DrCMS on March 25, 2014, 01:03:38 PM
I think curricula are by and large created by people who have a singular focus on academic research. For that matter, there's no career development offered either. Pretty much all graduate students are educated and then pushed towards careers in academia, because that's all the university people know. If you express an interest in a non-academic job, you're just left by the side of the road.  Why do you think, for instance, that few of the top tier chemistry programs in the US offer courses in analytical chemistry, statistics, and so on? Because these have very little place in basic academic research, that's why.

Much more elegantly put than my earlier post and I agree entirely.   I knew I wanted to work in industry rather than academia which is why I choose a sandwich course (I picked a thin sandwich course deliberately to get more varied experience) and choose a course that had a more applied focus rather than just straight academic chemistry.  Even with all that I do not think my university course trained me enough for working in industry and it should have done.

I feel the internal college-to-college variation is strong enough to swamp out any national trends. One thing the German engineers have going for them is the longer course duration (~5 years) in the older Diplom model.

While it is true that the 2 particular Germans I'm talking about both have PhD's in chemical engineering ALL the UK chemical engineers I've ever had professional dealing with have been arrogant fools.  They must have been trained by multiple different institutions but I would not trust any of them to find their arse with either hand.

One lingering problem with the top American Chem. Eng. Departments is that they have too little of an industrial focus any more. They are more geared to producing  grad. school researchers than plant engineers.

Sadly the pedigree of faculty has much to do with this. Most are career researchers. Very few have actually worked in a real plant environment.

Same problem as the chemistry departments then.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Corribus on March 26, 2014, 11:50:56 PM
I guess professors you can kind of understand. They don't know better, although they are supposed to be mentors so they're not completely blameless.

What I don't get is why accrediting bodies like the ACS don't insist on better career guidance and more expansive, less fundamental-research-oriented curricula as criteria for program accreditation.  Sure, ACS is run in large part by academia, but it's also fundamentally an industry trade society with a lot of representation by industry and government groups.  ACS does a grave disservice to aspiring chemists by letting university professors have sole authority over what goes into a modern chemistry curriculum. What else is the point of having an accrediting body otherwise?  Most of ACS leadership is academic. With such a heavy industry presence, you'd think that'd be different, but I guess industry just doesn't care... or isn't prescient enough to see what a problem the whole thing is.

I mean, why the hell isn't analytical chemistry part of the ACS standard undergraduate chemistry curriculum? If not a requirement, at least insist it be offered. Without this basic knowledge you are automatically excluded for a huge portion of govt and industry jobs. It just makes no sense to me at all.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on March 27, 2014, 01:36:15 AM
Sometimes I almost wonder if the time has come to split the undergrad curriculum into two tracks: an academic versus an industrial. Perhaps at junior year.

There's a disjoint set of skills that industry values versus grad school & perhaps there just isn't time to cram both in a regular course.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Corribus on March 27, 2014, 09:55:58 AM
Sure that'd be great but you'd have to change the way university funding works.  You need professors who can teach that stuff, after all, and the university only hires professors who can bring in their own money, and money is only awarded for basic research. Which gets back to the real fundamental problem of academia: tenure.  Honestly, the whole system is so screwed up at the foundation that it's almost hard to devise a plan to fix it.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on March 27, 2014, 10:57:03 AM
Sure that'd be great but you'd have to change the way university funding works.  You need professors who can teach that stuff, after all, and the university only hires professors who can bring in their own money, and money is only awarded for basic research.

To some extent yes, but I disagree. Many of the Profs. are smart people. Many of the skills needed for an industrial track aren't rocket science.

The same faculty could offer courses a lot more industrially relevant. e.g. current Chem. Eng. curriculum in US has very little focus on stuff like P&ID's or equipment design / selection or HAZOPs Isometrics etc. With a bit of motivation that can be remedied.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Corribus on March 27, 2014, 11:30:35 AM
I don't know where you went to school, but where I went I wouldn't have much confidence in any of the professors teaching quantitative chemical analysis, at least not without a lot of effort and time. As you said, there has to be motivation. What is the motivation under the current tenure system for something like this? It's hard enough to get a lot of professors to teach a subject they know. And in any case, it's all beside the difficulty of getting it put in the curriculum in the first place.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on March 27, 2014, 12:08:18 PM
I don't know where you went to school, but where I went I wouldn't have much confidence in any of the professors teaching quantitative chemical analysis, at least not without a lot of effort and time. As you said, there has to be motivation. What is the motivation under the current tenure system for something like this? It's hard enough to get a lot of professors to teach a subject they know. And in any case, it's all beside the difficulty of getting it put in the curriculem in the first place.

Agree with the motivation critique. OTOH, the average undergrad comes out so clueless in these un-taught areas, that even a marginal effort could improve the situation a lot.

Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: eazye1334 on March 27, 2014, 02:54:51 PM
I don't know where you went to school, but where I went I wouldn't have much confidence in any of the professors teaching quantitative chemical analysis, at least not without a lot of effort and time. As you said, there has to be motivation. What is the motivation under the current tenure system for something like this? It's hard enough to get a lot of professors to teach a subject they know. And in any case, it's all beside the difficulty of getting it put in the curriculem in the first place.

OTOH, the average undergrad comes out so clueless in these un-taught areas, that even a marginal effort could improve the situation a lot.
Agreed. We didn't have any interaction with programs like ASPEN which are so commonly used in industry. I got a lot of funny looks during interview when I said I had never used the program before.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: Nitishajack on April 18, 2014, 11:29:26 AM
Chemists do things generally on a bench scale, working up some reaction to the 1 gram of reactant range could be a big deal. Or, they spend alot of time in front of an instrument running analytical tests for things after doing several hours or a few days of prep to get everything ready for the instrument.

A Chemical engineer is going to be concerned about things on an industrial scale. Ramping up drug production, running a paper mill, things like that.

Engineers in general will manage projects. As a BS or even MS Chemist, you will be the one being managed unless you are the rare consultant or sales person who is given more freedom.

Engineers will have a better understanding of math and thermodynamics. Chemists will know more about the actual guts of chemistry: inorganic, organic, analytical and physical.

You can be creative in either discipline. My advice is don't be a chemistry major unless you plan on getting a PhD or going on to a professional school. Having an ABET accreditted engineering degree opens alot of doors that a straight chemistry degree won't. Where I work, chemists make minimum 20K less per year than the engineers and get treated like the hired help.


Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: kingofxbox99 on May 19, 2014, 03:43:22 AM
I'm off to university next year for engineering, and I've been stuck between mechanical and chemical. I don't think mechanical is right (I'm horrible when it comes to cars and stuff), but chemical engineering really excites and intrigues me. I love math/chemistry and I think I would prefer the real-world applications and implementations of chemistry more than understanding the processes behind the chemistry.

I have a few questions:

Do chemical engineers spend lots of time at a desk/computer?
Do chemical engineers visit plants often and get to see the projects they've worked on get built?
Do chemical engineers inspect plants or other projects they may or may not have been involved in?
Do chemical engineers spend any time in the lab researching or testing new things?
Do chemical engineers have the opportunity to be involved in a project the entire way through, or are they primarily used for certain portions of the design process.

I really like the whole plant design aspect of chemical engineering. I think I'd like to either work in the consumer goods sector or the oil/gas & energy sector. (I live in Alberta, Canada and the oil industry is incredible here).

Thanks! :)
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on May 19, 2014, 03:59:26 AM
chemical engineering really excites and intrigues me. I love math/chemistry and I think I would prefer the real-world applications and implementations of chemistry more than understanding the processes behind the chemistry.


That in itself sounds a perfect match for Chem. Eng. :)

Quote
Do chemical engineers spend lots of time at a desk/computer?

Varies, but yes often. e.g. A design engineer will almost do entirely calculations. Commissioning / erection / troubleshooting gets more plant time. An R&D engineer will get lots of lab  time. A Vendor engineer will often be travelling to customer sites.

Quote
Do chemical engineers visit plants often and get to see the projects they've worked on get built?

Again, it depends but you can always choose a job that let's you do this.

Quote
Do chemical engineers inspect plants or other projects they may or may not have been involved in?

Sometimes.

Quote
Do chemical engineers spend any time in the lab researching or testing new things?

If you get into R&D.

Quote
Do chemical engineers have the opportunity to be involved in a project the entire way through, or are they primarily used for certain portions of the design process.

Certain portions unless you are a team leader / manager etc. Usually initially the Chemists involvement is high then passes on to a Chem. Eng. & finally to mech / structural / control engineers etc.

Quite vague / broad questions & there's no good general answer.

Quote
I really like the whole plant design aspect of chemical engineering. I think I'd like to either work in the consumer goods sector or the oil/gas & energy sector. (I live in Alberta, Canada and the oil industry is incredible here).

Alberta is one of the best places to be a Che. currently.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: kingofxbox99 on May 19, 2014, 06:05:08 AM
Thanks, curiouscat! I think I'm fairly confident I want to go into Chem Eng. :)

I can't wait until next year! :P
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on May 19, 2014, 06:16:11 AM
Thanks, curiouscat! I think I'm fairly confident I want to go into Chem Eng. :)

I can't wait until next year! :P

I'll just caution you, be ready for surprises. :)

Of the people I knew, barely 50% stuck to the major they had planned on while entering college. So, while it's good to know what you want to do, keep an open mind.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: kingofxbox99 on May 19, 2014, 06:18:29 AM
As much as I agree with you, I can't see myself doing anything other than engineering. I've been set on engineering since I was young. They toughest part was deciding which field to go into, but I like the sound of chemical.

Do you take a fair amount of organic chem courses in chem eng?
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on May 19, 2014, 07:41:22 AM
As much as I agree with you, I can't see myself doing anything other than engineering. I've been set on engineering since I was young. They toughest part was deciding which field to go into, but I like the sound of chemical.

Fair enough.

Quote
Do you take a fair amount of organic chem courses in chem eng?

Some. But not as much as a Chem. Major. Depends on the univ. I only took two O. Chem classes & two O. Chem. Labs.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: eazye1334 on May 19, 2014, 11:49:52 AM
Do you take a fair amount of organic chem courses in chem eng?
Just to confirm what curiouscat said, I only had two courses and two labs as well. And really, I didn't have to take the second course, it just depended on the concentration I was interested in.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on May 19, 2014, 01:35:01 PM
Do you take a fair amount of organic chem courses in chem eng?
Just to confirm what curiouscat said, I only had two courses and two labs as well. And really, I didn't have to take the second course, it just depended on the concentration I was interested in.

Yes,  Che. involves a lot less Chemistry than people usually assume.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: kingofxbox99 on May 19, 2014, 05:28:28 PM
I guess people assume that you need to know all specific details and such about chemicals you're working with, but is a lot of that the role of the chemist in the project?

Also, what kind of chemistry DO engineers deal with? Like I know it's not as much of theory stuff.

Thermodynamics? Organic reactions (if you're in oil/gas and pharma)? What other things are primarily chemistry-oriented?
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: curiouscat on May 22, 2014, 01:52:06 AM

Also, what kind of chemistry DO engineers deal with? Like I know it's not as much of theory stuff.


All kinds. Just nowhere as much as a real chemist does.

Quote
Thermodynamics? Organic reactions (if you're in oil/gas and pharma)? What other things are primarily chemistry-oriented?

Yes. Lots of thermo. Organic too.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: eazye1334 on May 22, 2014, 07:25:15 AM
Fluid dynamics and p-chem, too. Process design and process control aren't "chemistry", but you'll see those as well.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: thelastone on June 05, 2014, 04:04:08 AM
The thruth is that a title "chemical engineer" or " chemist" it's just a word in a paper hanging on the wall, you can go for any of them and when you finish your education reinforce wathever field you like the most.

Personally I'm a chemical engineer that has ended up leading a control quality Lab in a pesticide company, so as you can imagine I had to learn A LOT of organic chemistry + Analytical chemistry, which was a pleasure: Actually I'm going to be a chemist also, in one of those distance learning universities.

PS.: I respect and listen to the chemists, and the engineers of other fields mit whom I have to work, and I believe that  I'm not superior to them in nothing, and yes, they usually come to see me when there is a problem with the equipment.
Title: Re: Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering?
Post by: TyPie on July 14, 2014, 07:17:28 PM
I had a professor from India who taught a manufacturing course.  I got the book for the course ahead of time, and read through half of it before summer was over.  It turned out to be one of the hardest classes that I ever had.  We went through the full 1200 pg. book in 1 semester.  At the end of the semester it was all about getting the perfect tools to do the job as efficiently as possible.  At the end of the course, only 1 person made an A.  A lot of the people were failing, but he said if they came by his office for an hour at least each day he would give them a C.

I learned that there are so many small things to save pennies in manufacturing, and that these pennies really begin to add up.