What is Chemical Engineering
Chemical engineering is a multi-disciplinary branch of engineering intimately linked with the fundamental subjects of chemistry, biology, mathematics, and physics – and in close collaboration with fellow engineering disciplines like materials science, computer science, and mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering. It is one of the most broadly based engineering disciplines, creating a high demand for chemical engineers across various industries and professions. Traditionally, chemical engineering has been associated with fuel combustion, energy transfer, and reaction systems. While it continues to be essential to these areas, chemical engineering technology has also found its way into new developments in microelectronics, textiles, medicine & healthcare, biotechnology, pulp & paper products, synthesis of advanced materials such as sophisticated devices based on MEMS, and many other days to day consumer goods. This wide range of applications is made possible only due to the intricate relationships of chemical engineering principles with basic sciences like chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, and materials science. Chemical engineering holds the key to a healthier, cleaner, and the more efficient world and a better tomorrow for all.
Chemical Engineers work to solve major societal challenges in energy, human health, manufacturing, and sustainability. Currently, graduate chemical engineers are spearheading new developments in medicine, biotechnology, molecular simulations, medical devices, microelectronics, advanced materials, energy, efficient equipment design, consumer products, manufacturing, and environmental solutions.
Chemical Engineers are easily the most highly sought-after engineers from an employment perspective as they aid in design, supervision, construction, installation, operation, and most importantly, in optimizing any system. Chemical engineering offers unparalleled opportunities to do great things.
Broad research areas of chemical engineering include:
Biotechnology & Biosystems Engineering: Disease and Health, Biomaterials, Development of Tools for Bioengineering, Biocatalysis and Bioseparation, Bioenergy, Data/Systems Analysis
Catalysis and Reaction Engineering: Catalysis, Multiphase Reaction, Reaction Engineering, Reactor Modelling, Process Design, Optimization, Biofuels
Energy, Climate and Sustainability: Climate Change, Coal Gasification, Energy Integration, Fuel Cells, Green Engineering, Pollution, Renewable Resources, Water purification, climate and environment, Sustainability, Carbon capture systems.
Materials Engineering: Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, Food Engineering, Microscopy, Molecular Simulations, Nano-composites, Nanoparticles, Polymer Physics, Polymer Processing, Product Development, Supercritical Fluids, Surface Science, Thin films, Graphene
Process Systems Engineering: Data Analysis, Identification, Modelling, Optimisation, Artificial Intelligence Applications, Supply Chain Management & Logistics, Process Control, Process Safety Analysis, Process Safety and Risk Management, Process system engineering, State estimation, Process and Product Development
Thermodynamics, Transport, Colloids, and Interface Science: Chemical Thermodynamics, Adsorption, Aerosols, Coatings, Colloids, Computational Flow Modelling (CFD), Electrohydrodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Heat and Mass Transfer, Porous Media, Rheology, Membrane BioPhysics, Turbulence, Microfluidics
Chemical Engineering research at IITs
Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have always strived to be at the forefront of engineering education and research. The institutes place a strong emphasis on high-impact education to prepare students for current and future engineering. This has been reflected in the active engagement of their academic faculty and research staff with graduate and research students in respect to introduction to chemical engineering and in cutting-edge research spanning numerous areas of engineering and robust, mutually rewarding collaborations with the industries. A unique feature of IITs is their relentless commitment to nurturing students to be future leaders in research, engineering practice, industry, government, and entrepreneurship.
IITs offer world-class undergraduate and postgraduate education, research guidance, professional consultancy, outreach and manpower training, and leadership in chemical engineering. The chemical engineering departments at IITs provide a world-class and design-centric curriculum with strong local relevance synergized with a global outlook for the students. The departments offer a vibrant, conducive, and supportive learning environment. Numerous overseas exchange programs are available to equip the students with the all-important integrative skills, global experience, and personal network developments. All these are designed to prepare students for lifelong enriching career and leadership opportunities.
Many IITs offer BTech, Dual Degree, MTech, and Doctoral/Ph.D. programs in chemical engineering. These departments at IITs have extremely dynamic faculty and well-experienced support staff having strong research interests in traditional and emerging areas of chemical engineering. The departments have state-of-the-art experimental and computational facilities through funding from the Ministry of Science and Technology and research projects from other sources. The Departments have been prolific in technology areas of energy, environmental protection, novel materials, and healthcare, with focused research programs networked with industry, institutions, universities, and government agencies. A vibrant research profile is maintained, emphasizing problem-solving through interdisciplinary research that crosses barriers across chemistry, physics, biology, and materials science.
In addition to the chemical engineering degrees at IIT Kharagpur, Bombay, Madras, Kanpur, Delhi, Guwahati, Roorkee, Ropar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Jodhpur, Patna, Varanasi, Dhanbad, Jammu, various other departments such as chemistry, biology, mathematics, physics, materials science, computer science, and mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering at different IITs also offer research programs in chemical engineering.