What is Chemical Engineering?
Chemical engineering is concerned with the ways in which raw materials are changed into useful and commercial end products. This involves the research of raw materials and their properties, design and development of equipment and the evaluation of operating processes.
These skills are combined to extract raw materials which can then be refined and manufactured to produce such things as food, petrol, plastics, paints, paper, ceramics, minerals and metals. Often these processes are carried out at large scale plants – the safe operation of these plants is also part of chemical engineering.
Extracting raw materials without harming the environment is also a major area of work for chemical engineers. For example, new types of fuels which can be used safely to provide the energy we need, without having an adverse effect on the environment, are currently being developed and tested.
Chemical engineers are also involved in the production of pharmaceutical products as diverse as penicillin and shampoo.
Chemical engineers may work in companies involved in the production of such things as food, plastics, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, metals and glass. Many chemical engineers also find employment in environment protection and the reclamation or clean up of contaminated sites, or in research laboratories, chemical plants and petroleum refineries.
Other major employers of chemical engineers include manufacturers of basic iron and steel products, organic industrial chemicals and the mining industry.
Engineers working in this field may specialise as combustion engineers, petroleum engineers, principal chemical engineers, smelting engineers, water treatment engineers or environmental engineers (see section on environmental engineering).
There is also scope for chemical engineers to move into related areas including biotechnology, food engineering and mineral engineering.
About the Chemical College
The Chemical College represents members working within the very broad chemical engineering field.
Our members include chemical engineers, metallurgists, materials scientists, bioprocessing engineers, food technologists, water specialists and many other disciplines. The key tasks of the College include:
- Maintain, develop and promote the body of knowledge broadly associated with chemical engineering.
- Develop and audit accreditation standards for tertiary degrees and chartered status.
- Provide expert advice for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
- Contribute towards national and international standards and policies relevant to the field.
- Consult with Engineers Australia staff and members on matters related to Chemical Engineering.
Chemical College branches
Chair: Nicholas Bates
Chair: Joann Kirby
South Australia Branch
Chair: Kate Jennings
Chair: Nicky Eshtiaghi
Western Australia Branch
Chair: Ming Ang
Chemical engineering groups
Related groups and societies
Professional Association Memberships
- The Australian and New Zealand Federation of Chemical Engineers (ANZFChE) with IChemE , SCENZ and RACI
- Asian Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineers (APCChE)
- World Chemical Engineering Council (WCEC)
University Chemical Engineering Contacts
- University of Adelaide
- Curtin University of Technology
- James Cook University
- The University of Melbourne
- Monash University
- The University of Newcastle
- The University of NSW
- The University of Queensland
- Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
- The University of Sydney
- University of Western Australia
Chemical College awards
- Chemeca Medal
- The Caltex Award
- The Rio Tinto Award
- The Fonterra Award
- The Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions medal & prize
- John A Brodie Medal
For any enquiries regarding the Chemical College please contact:
11 National Circuit
Barton ACT 2600
To contact Member Services please call 1300 653 113