Chemical engineering is the term that describes the practice of experimenting, producing, transforming, and applying chemicals to various applications and formulating them to achieve desired outcomes and effects. However, discovering these formulas requires extensive research and development. Luckily, chemical engineers are experts at doing just that and have been able to aid and benefit other businesses with such expertise. Here are some examples of research and development in chemical engineering.
No matter the industry, specialty chemicals can be created to fit the needs of any business or purpose. When some of the more common chemicals with standardized formulas don’t suit the needs of a business, it can turn to chemical manufacturers and hire from their chemical research and development branch to devise a formula of chemicals that will achieve the goals set by the clients. The chemical manufacturer will be responsible for experimenting with chemicals until they’ve found a suitable mixture that meets a client’s needs and can be produced in a usable quantity.
Another example of research and development in chemical engineering is composites. Composites are materials made up of two or more parts that are either categorized as a matrix or a reinforcement. This allows the different materials to work together and create materials greater than the sum of their parts. Chemical R&D works to innovate upon existing composites or create new ones for mechanically demanding applications.
Polymers are comprised of molecules that are joined together into long chains. Natural examples of polymers include our own DNA and silk, while some man-made polymers include PVC pipes and siloxane. The largest polymer in the chemical industry, however, is plastics, as they make up approximately one-third of the chemical industry’s dollar value.
As chemical engineering continues to thrive and grow in the modern era, the industry often gets a bad reputation because many people don’t understand it, and dangerous chemicals have influenced our environment in the past. Green chemistry is the response to try and reduce or eliminate the negative effects the chemical industry has caused. Chemicals still play a critical role in the 21st century, so it’s an important endeavor to eliminate their side effects and even find ways to improve the environment.