New view of chemical engineering to help serve society

Article by Amanda Jasi

Sees discipline as three interconnected layers

RESEARCHERS have presented a new view of chemical and biochemical (C&B) engineering, which sees the discipline as three interconnected layers of activity. They say the view helps to show how well equipped the field is to tackle current and future challenges, to serve society.

Currently, society is facing formidable challenges, including climate change, global population growth, and resource limitation. These require innovative solutions which chemical and biochemical engineers could help to provide.

The multi-layered view, published in Chemical Engineering Research and Design, involves an inner layer which deals with fundamental principles –  such as thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, transport phenomena – and their application; a middle layer that deals with combining science and technology to develop sustainable technologies; and, an outer layer which deals with knowledge integration and collaboration with other disciplines to help achieve a more sustainable society.

Through this view, the authors highlight activities in the practice, research, and education of C&B engineering.


The authors write that industry translates the discipline of C&B engineering to value, and offers interesting and challenging careers. In the outer layer, value creation is observed through identifying grand challenges to address to achieve sustainable industrial development and improve circularity. Drawing on skills from the inner layers it can help to ensure sustainable development.

According to the paper, combining science and engineering to help develop commercially successful technology, and maintaining existing operations, are essentially the definition of industry’s remit. It adds that all industrial practices, including manufacturing, engineering, equipment, software, and consulting, should aim to achieve sustainable development and/or circularity.

This article is adapted from an earlier online version.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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