June 21, 2021, 03:16:13 AM
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Topic: How much do practicing chemical engineers really use thermodyamics, etc.?  (Read 8818 times)

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  • Guest
So do practicing chemical engineers really use thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, or even stat mech and quantum mechanics? I'm interested, because from the chemistry side I can say without qualification that the number of chemists, and physical chemists are not an exception, who really understand thermodyanmics is almost zero. They talk it, but it is only hand waving.

« Last Edit: April 08, 2006, 04:34:19 PM by triethanolamine »


  • Guest
Are there any practicing chemical engineers on this site? If so please see question above. What you're taught in school and what you do on the job often have little or no connection don't you know.


  • Guest
As a chemical engineer I've NEVER user thermodynamics. Once when i tried to use it, results were awful.

PS sorry for my poor English

Offline Donaldson Tan

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As a chemical engineer I've NEVER user thermodynamics. Once when i tried to use it, results were awful.

PS sorry for my poor English

"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006


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I am a ChemE and I use thermodynamics.  Whether or not a particular job will require using thermodynamics is highly dependent on the job requirements.  For example, if you need to deal with recycling solvents, predicting the VLE behavior might be important.


Offline eugenedakin

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My work is in the middle of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering....  Last week I needed to use thermodynamics twice ... once for a petroleum refinery plant, and the other for a petroleum production heater-treater....  Usually, I use it at least once per week ...

There are 10 kinds of people in this world: Those who understand binary, and those that do not.

Offline mbeychok

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It depends upon what type of chemical engineering one does.  Many chemical engineers go into marketing (i.e., plant equipment, engineering services, etc.) and have little if any need for using thermodynamics.  Other chemical engineers go into plant operations and also have little need for using thermodynamics.

However, chemical engineers who go into process design must use thermodynamics and fluid mechanics on a daily basis.  Such engineers are using thermodynamics or fluid mechanics when:

-- Determining friction factors to be used in sizing piping runs.
-- Reading and using steam tables.
-- Making heat balances using enthalpies of process streams
-- Calculating compressor horsepowers using isentropic or polytropic compression equations.
-- Calculating the steam required by a steam turbine by calculating the isentropic expansion involved.
-- Calculating adiabatic flashes of single component liquids for vapor compression refrigeration systems or for flashing multicomponent hydrocarbon liquids in process plant material balances.
-- Calculating the flow rates through orifices.
-- Using specific heats in heat balances and heat transfer calculations.

and a multitude of other design tasks.

Milton Beychok
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