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Episode 113 — Chemical Engineering

chemicalplantChris Welch joins Adam, Brian, Carmen, and Jeff to talk about the field of chemical engineering.

  • Jeff believes in unicorns, even though he’s never seen one!
  • From his childhood, Jeff recalls watching a DuPont film about “Better Living Through Chemistry.”
  • Our guest for this episode is Chris Welch, a chemical engineer from New Brunswick, Canada, who works in the water treatment industry.
  • Branches of chemistry include (but are not limited to): physical chemistry, organic chemistry, and analytic chemistry.
  • Biological scrubbing uses bacteria to remove Hydrogen Sulfide (and volatile organic compounds) from a gas stream.
  • Chemical engineers concentrate on facilitating chemical reactions, thereby allowing for large scale production, while chemists focus on developing innovative materials and processes.
  • In the mid-1900s, it was possible to buy kids’ chemistry sets containing cyanide, uranium, and ammonium nitrate.
  • Chemical engineers sometimes make use of process simulators, such as Aspen Plus, ChemCad, and PRO/II.
  • Thermal management is an important part of controlling many chemical processes.
  • Plant shutdowns can be very expensive, especially when the shutdown is unexpected.
  • A chemical reactor is a vessel that contains (and facilitates) a chemical reaction.
  • Solids are removed from a liquid through sedimentation in a clarifier.
  • In Canada, licensed engineers carry a “P.Eng.” designation.
  • Our guest is a drummer in local pipe band.
  • Listners can reach Chris via email: cwelch -+= at =+- unb dot ca.

Thanks to Grey World for use of the photo titled “colourful chemicals.” Opening music by John Trimble, and concluding theme by Paul Stevenson.