3 Examples of Products Developed Via Chemical Engineering
Chemical engineering is the field responsible for transforming raw materials into manmade products. Essentially, everything we use today has input from a chemical engineer. Their knowledge base includes advanced mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. They use their powers to formulate production procedures that aid the environment and save money. Quite often, we take for granted the products we use without thought of the manufacturing process.
Therefore, we’ve collated three everyday products and explained the chemical engineering behind them.
We rely on washing detergent and powder to keep our clothes smelling fresh. There are two ways of producing washing powder: agglomeration and bath processes. Typically, large manufacturers adopt the agglomeration process (also referred to as ‘continuous process’). The reason for this is that washing powder is used in the thousands. Chemical engineers are responsible for coming up with the agglomeration process. First, they would create the procedure in a lab setting. Then, pilot plants are used to scale the operation for mass production.
Washing detergents are designed using active ingredients known as surfactants. These surfactants contain a hydrocarbon chain alongside a non-ionic group or hydrophilic ionic. Both of these chains help to serve a function. The particles that attach to dirt are the hydrocarbon chain, while the hydrophilic aspect combines with the water. Throughout the process, dirt is removed from materials and dispersed into the water. Alongside these molecules are perfumes and enzymes that help to eradicate any chemical smells.
Toothpaste is essential for looking after our oral hygiene and avoiding issues including tooth decay and plaque buildups. Most importantly, the ingredient fluoride is used as an active ingredient involved in teeth strengthening. Typically, sodium fluoride is used in commercial manufacturing. As well as fluoride, toothpaste contains abrasives to remove dirt and binders to glue the ingredients together. Further, there are flavorings and fragrances in there to keep your breath fresh as a whistle.
Manufacturers use the batch production processes. In that, the ingredients are accurately weighed out before being mixed. Thanks to chemical engineers, this process has been scaled up to a point where 10,000 tubes can be manufactured at a time.
The majority of people use deodorant to keep their armpits smelling fresh. There are different types of deodorant that all serve a different purpose. For example, anti-perspiring deodorants help keep sweat under control. Typically, like toothpaste, deodorants are manufactured in sheared mixers with a 2000L capacity. The exact ingredients and processes will depend on the type of deodorant and the delivery method. However, like toothpaste and washing powder, the production methods were designed and fine-tuned through chemical engineering.
Chemical engineering is the process of taking raw materials and turning them into useable products. The field is versatile and experts have advanced knowledge of biology, mathematics, physics, and chemistry. These days, their focus is on enhancing production procedures to make them greener and more cost-effective. Without chemical engineers, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy basic luxuries in life.