Chemical engineers design the complex plants needed to convert a laboratory or pilot-scale experiment into an industrial operation capable of producing tons of material daily. Chemical engineers supervise the construction of these plants, and are also involved in running and maintaining them. These activities call for a thorough understanding of chemistry, physics, mathematics and many other skills.
The chemical engineer must understand the physics and mathematics behind the problems of heat and mass flow when large quantities of reacting material must be heated or cooled, and moved from one section of the plant to another. The chemical engineer must understand the properties of the materials available to build the plant; how they tolerate high pressures and temperatures; and how they resist corrosion and wear. In the design and operation of biotechnology or environmental protection processes, the chemical engineer also needs to understand basic biological principles.
Students study the fundamentals of chemistry, physics, and mathematics, then learn engineering science and design. Selecting appropriate electives allows students to specialize in oil sands engineering, nanoscale engineering, mineral processing and extractive metallurgy, and polymer materials. See below and Program and Technical Electives for more details.
Graduates are equipped to embark on careers in the chemical, petrochemical, food processing, forest products, pharmaceutical, and semiconductors industries, or work for a government agency.
Computer Process Control Option in Chemical Engineering
With increased use of distributed digital computer control systems in the process industries and microprocessor-based analyzers and instruments, a need exists for process engineers with a background in areas that have traditionally been in the domain of the electrical engineer and computing scientist. This program, which retains all the core chemical engineering courses, provides the necessary background for engineering positions concerned with applying computers to the control of process systems.
Enrolment is limited.
Biomedical Option in Chemical Engineering
The application of engineering principles to biomedical sciences has been gaining significant momentum since the 1980s. Exploring a biomedical problem from an engineering perspective provides unique solutions to biomedical problems. Utilizing established chemical engineering principles, such as thermodynamics, mass transfer and reactor design, enables significant advances in human health and facilitates establishment of an industrial activity based on bioengineering principles. The Biomedical Option retains all of the core courses of the Chemical Engineering program. It then adds courses specific to the biomedical sciences to provide students with the necessary background for employment in the biomedical field. See Biomedical Engineering for more details. Enrolment is limited.
Oil Sands Engineering Elective Pattern in Chemical Engineering
With over 1.7 trillion barrels of oil in place, the oilsands of Alberta are an enormous resource to supply Canada's energy needs and support oil exports for many years in the future. Extracting the bitumen and upgrading it to synthetic crude oil presents exciting engineering challenges, including increasing yield and energy efficiency, reducing environmental impact and improving the quality of the oil product. The Oilsands Engineering Program retains all of the core courses of the Chemical Engineering program. It then adds courses specific to the oilsands to provide students with the necessary background for employment in the industry.
Enrolment is limited.
Elective Streams in Chemical Engineering
In addition to the required courses, students in Chemical Engineering may study certain fields in depth by choosing appropriate program elective courses. The following lists elective streams that are currently available in Chemical Engineering:
Note: The following elective streams apply to Chemical Engineering Traditional Program and Co-op Plan II. Due to course scheduling difficulties, these elective streams do not apply to Co-op Plan I.
- Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy: This Elective Stream is offered in collaboration with Materials Engineering. Metallic and nonmetallic materials such as gold, copper, iron (steel) and ceramics are extracted from mineral resources. Mineral processing and extractive metallurgy is therefore an important engineering field that contributes to Canada's economy. The Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Elective Stream will introduce students to the fundamental theories of mineral processing, hydrometallurgy, electrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy, and current practices of unit operations of these processes. The graduates from this elective pattern will be able to find employment in Canadian resource sectors, especially in oil sands, coal, base metal, precious metal, potash and diamond ore processing industries. The recommended courses for this elective stream are CME 421 , CME 422 and CME 472 .
- Nanoscale Engineering: The Nanoscale Engineering Elective Stream consists of 4 courses which are taken in the four program elective slots available in the Chemical Engineering program. The recommended courses for this stream are: MAT E 211 and three of CH E 487, CH E 583 , CH E 584 and MAT E 495 . These courses expose Chemical Engineering students to topics in which understanding of the small-scale structures of materials are necessary for understanding the macroscopic processes associated with these nanostructures. It also provides the students with an introduction to the tools available for probing the properties of these nanostructures.
- Polymer Materials: This Elective Stream is offered in collaboration with Materials Engineering. The Polymer Materials Elective Stream is designed for students who are interested in acquiring a basic knowledge in the field of polymers: structure-property relationships, polymerization reactions and polymer processing so that upon completion of the Stream, they will have the knowledge to embark on graduate level research in polymer science and engineering and will be employable by polymer manufacturers and polymer processing industry. The recommended courses for this elective stream are CME 482 , CME 484 and CME 485 .