Chemical Engineering concerns the science and technology related to manufacturing products from raw materials in a safe, sustainable, environmentally benign and cost-effective way. The primary physical laws underlying chemical engineering design are conservation of mass, conservation of momentum and conservation of energy. Chemical engineers model physical and chemical processes mathematically to understand and predict how and why they happen. They devise innovative methods of manipulating materials more effectively, cheaply and safely to create the diverse range of products that modern society needs. This involves understanding thermodynamics, fluid dynamics and chemical reaction kinetics and requires the ability to work with complex equations. Experiments range from manipulating tiny amounts of substances in high-tech laboratories to working with huge industrial scale processes and extreme pressures and temperatures.
Chemical engineers work at the boundary between science and engineering, striving to solve technical problems and design processes that are as sustainable as possible. Computers and electronics have made a huge difference to our ability to measure and model processes - calculations that once took months or even years can now be carried out within minutes. Technology itself is changing, with the focus moving away from traditional large scale processing to understanding processes on a molecular level, exploiting biotechnology and nanotechnology. From medicines to textiles to transport to food and drink to energy production, chemical engineers impact every aspect of modern life.