What is chemical engineering?

Modern society relies on the work of chemical, biochemical and process engineers - they help manage resources, protect the environment and control health and safety procedures, while developing the processes that make the products we desire or depend on.

Chemical engineering

Chemical engineering is all about changing raw materials into useful products you use everyday in a safe and cost effective way. For example petrol, plastics and synthetic fibres such as polyester and nylon, all come from oil.

Chemical engineers understand how to alter the chemical, biochemical or physical state of a substance, to create everything from face creams to fuels.

Biochemical engineering

Biochemical engineering is a rapidly developing sector which takes exciting science discoveries and changes them into cost-effective and environmentally-friendly processes. Biochemical engineers use these processes to create products ranging from new medicines through to renewable energy, as well as greener solutions to waste treatment.

Biochemical engineers are responsible for tackling many of today’s global challenges such as the development of vaccines to protect people against pandemic flu, stem cell therapies to cure blindness and biofuels from algae to provide more sustainable energy sources. 

Process engineering

Many chemical engineers become process engineers when they graduate and start their career. Process engineering is essentially the application of chemical engineering principles to optimise the design, operation and control of chemical processes. Since this requires equipment design and selection, mechanical engineers may also be employed as process engineers.