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What Is Chemical and Materials Engineering?

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  • Written By: Andrew Kirmayer
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Chemical and materials engineering generally involves the selection of compounds, and their development from things mined, manufactured, or otherwise processed, to produce a range of products made by various industries. Raw materials can be altered through processes designed around knowledge typically possessed by chemical engineers. Such scientists often design, manage, and continuously improve such processes. Materials engineers, however, are often able to select the proper materials and figure out how to make finished products out of them. Both disciplines are sometimes combined in college and university programs and in careers focused on industrial production.

Knowledge of materials science is typically important in understanding how various compounds behave under certain stresses such as extreme temperatures or pressures. Experience with metals, ceramics, polymers, and composite materials can also help with modifying their properties and applications. This often adds to the product’s capabilities, and influences how it performs under various circumstances. The function of machinery and even large architectural structures can also be improved by chemical and materials engineering.

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Biocompatible materials, polymers, products for casting, as well as components for nanotechnology are often developed through chemical and materials engineering also. A background in both disciplines can prepare one for a career in industrial production. Such work can take place in the food and beverage industry, as well as in paper, iron and steel, and aluminum production. Materials scientists often know which compounds are suitable for what purposes, but can also understand their chemical makeup and how to alter things on a molecular scale.

Chemical and materials engineering is an area that is often applied to energy production. Petroleum, biochemical, and other kinds of natural resource development are generally dependent on such engineering practices. The ability to design and implement new technologies is one example of how chemical and materials engineering can be beneficial. Professionals often work for local or regional agencies as well as consulting companies; one can also seek to develop materials that are considered safe for the environment.

Various colleges and universities offer programs in chemical and materials engineering. It is a field in which one generally needs a solid background in science, in order to work with materials used by people in daily life. Such materials can be used in transportation and communication as well as recreation; products used in sports and computing require engineering skills to produce, for example. Chemicals and materials development are often integral with electronics and magnetic science, so modern technology is generally dependent on expertise in both subjects.

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