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What is Chemical Process Design?

Christine Hudson
Christine Hudson

Chemical process design is the design of process or chemical transformation within materials. This change may be in the form of creating new materials or simply the modification of existing ones. Chemical design is central to fields like chemical engineering, and usually begins with a concept and ultimately ends in fabrication.

The applications of chemical design may not seem immediately apparent to the general public. In most cases, design is used to make a current product better, or to create an entirely new product to address a current problem. For example, advances in gasoline have been made due to chemical process design. Even something as simple as creating better lawn fertilizer may require chemical transformations.

Scientist with beakers
Scientist with beakers

This type of design differs from the typical equipment design. Chemical process design tends to be more intellectual than physical. Many types of documentation are involved in chemical process to test theories, display results, and organize data. When designing a particular piece of equipment, an engineer may be able to build and model replica to deal with the design three dimensionally. This is not a luxury typically available in chemical process design.

As with any type of design, chemical processing has to maintain a balance between objectives and limitations. While the entire process is meant to address a certain issue, certain trade-offs may be required to achieve a suitable final product. With more concern being shown towards products and companies which are environmentally friendly, engineers need to be able to create a product which does as little harm to the environment, and produces as little waste as possible.

Chemical process design should also form a sustainable activity. Creating improved fertilizer doesn't mean much if the raw materials used will be depleted quickly. This falls under making products which are economically friendly, as well as creating products which are cost effective and profitable for the industry.

Above all, chemical process is intended to improve people's quality of life. Creating new or better products for consumers to use is beneficial to companies, and creating those products as safely as possible benefits consumers. This is especially true in products which are used in the home, such as cleaners, or in medicine. New medications are often created through chemical process design, and it is important that these new treatments do not cause users more harm than good.

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      Scientist with beakers