Chemical Engineering

Website

Thomas J. Webster, PhD
Professor and Chair
Art Zafiropoulo Chair in Engineering

Ronald J. Willey, PhD
Professor and Vice Chair

313 Snell Engineering Center
617.373.2989
617.373.2209 (fax)

The chemical engineering program offers students a broad education built on fundamentals in science, mathematics, and engineering, which are then applied to a variety of contemporary problems using modern tools, such as computational software and computer-aided design. Chemical engineers have traditionally been employed in chemical, petrochemical, agricultural chemical, pulp and paper, plastics, cosmetics, and textiles industries and in consulting and design firms. Today, chemical engineers also play an integral role in emerging biological and advanced materials fields, including nanotechnology. For example, chemical engineers are creating new materials needed for space exploration, alternative energy sources, and faster, self-powered computer chips. In biotechnology and bioengineering, chemical engineers are working to understand human diseases, developing new therapies and drug delivery systems, and producing new medicines through cell culture techniques. Chemical engineers employ nanotechnology to revolutionize sensors, security systems, and medical diagnostics and treatments. In addition to creating important products, chemical engineers are also involved in protecting our environment by exploring ways to reduce acid rain and smog; to recycle and reduce wastes; to develop new sources of environmentally clean energy; and to design inherently safe, efficient, and “green” processes. The role of chemical engineering is to develop new products and to design processes while reducing costs, increasing production, and improving the quality and safety of new products.

Mission of the Department

The faculty of the chemical engineering program are committed to providing a practice-oriented education through project and problem-based learning and drawing connections between classroom learning and co-op experiences. The educational curriculum provides fundamentals in mathematics, physical sciences, and engineering science as well as real-world design and laboratory experiences. Through the university’s academic core requirements, NUpath, students gain awareness of the impact of engineering decisions in a broader societal and ethical context. Cooperative education enables students to integrate practical workplace knowledge with classroom learning so the educational experiences are synergistic and deepen the learning process. The chemical engineering community encourages professional development through active participation and leadership in student organizations, professional societies, and departmental activities. As a result, the chemical engineering program prepares students for industrial careers, graduate programs, or professional medical, law, and business schools.

Overview of Programs Offered

Please see the programs tab for a list of the department's academic programs.

The program educational objectives are as follows. Within a few years after graduation, graduates of the chemical engineering program are expected to obtain the ability to function successfully in a variety of fields in chemical engineering or in advanced study that uses the problem-solving skills taught in chemical engineering; identify problems, collect necessary information, and analyze data to draw appropriate conclusions and to make informed decisions; function effectively in a diverse workplace using interpersonal and communicative skills gained from their chemical engineering training; recognize an economic, environmental, health and safety, or sustainability situation in need of improvement, then make suggestions that improve this situation.

The program's student objectives are as follows. When a student graduates from the chemical engineering program, they will have an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex chemical engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics;  an ability to apply chemical engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, and global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors, as well as identifying and mitigating the hazards associated with that design to promote health and safety; an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences; an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts  including protecting the public and the environment by performing their work in a safe and environmentally conscious manner; an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives; an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions; and an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

The faculty of the chemical engineering program are committed to providing a practice-oriented education through experiential learning and by drawing connections between classroom learning and co-op experiences. The educational curriculum provides fundamentals in mathematics, physical sciences, and engineering science, as well as real-world design and laboratory experiences. Through the university’s general education requirements, students gain awareness of the impact of engineering decisions in a broader societal and ethical context.

Other Programmatic Features

By participating in our cooperative education program, our graduates will have an opportunity to explore what career objectives fit their own skills and interests. The goal of this component of our program is to offer students valuable professional experience and contacts that will help get them started in their professional career, as well as to develop career management skills. The co-op program parallels the academic program in level of responsibility and sophistication.

The department also offers significant research opportunities throughout all fields of chemical engineering, including participating in research centers based in our department and college, as well as new interdisciplinary graduate and professional master's programs.

The chemical engineering community creates opportunities for professional development through active participation and leadership in student organizations, professional societies, and departmental activities. As a result, the chemical engineering program prepares students for successful industrial careers; graduate programs; or professional medical, law, and business schools. The chemical engineering curriculum is continuously evaluated and improved to ensure that graduates of the program are given every opportunity for future success as professional chemical engineers and are prepared for graduate or professional school.

Chemical Engineering Courses

CHME 1990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

CHME 2000. Introduction to Engineering Co-op Education. 1 Hour.

Offers students an opportunity to prepare for their first co-op experience. Focuses on preparation skills including resumé construction, interviewing techniques, networking, and job selection using the Northeastern online database. Facilitates a basis for successful co-op engagement including expectations and requirements, self-assessment and goal setting, professional behaviors and values, and decision making during the job search process and while on the job. .

CHME 2308. Conservation Principles in Chemical Engineering. 4 Hours.

Examines the applications of fundamental laws of mass and energy conservation to chemical and physical processes. Emphasizes material and energy balances on chemical processes. Offers students an opportunity to develop skills in applying chemistry, physics, and mathematics to identify and solve chemical engineering problems.

CHME 2310. Transport Processes 1. 4 Hours.

Covers the fundamentals of transport of incompressible and compressible fluids (fluid flow) along with energy transport. Concepts are continued in CHME 3312 with emphasis on heat transport. The methods taught are relevant to the analysis of engineering processes in a number of industries, including chemical, pharmaceutical, food, energy, biotechnology, and materials. .

CHME 2311. Lab for CHME 2310. 2 Hours.

Accompanies CHME 2310. Uses experiment to explore the principles of momentum and energy transport. Offers students an opportunity to obtain practical laboratory experience and to develop technical writing and oral presentation skills. Students are asked to both design and perform experiments in the context of current fields of chemical engineering, to discover fundamental transport principles, and to develop engineering solutions through experiments using the fundamental transport principles.

CHME 2320. Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics 1. 4 Hours.

Covers the first and second laws of thermodynamics and their application to batch and flow systems, heat effects in chemicals, and physical properties/real fluids. Applies basic principles and mathematical relations to the analysis and solution of engineering problems.

CHME 2322. Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics 1 Abroad. 4 Hours.

Covers the first and second laws of thermodynamics and their application to batch and flow systems, heat effects in chemicals, and physical properties/real fluids. Applies basic principles and mathematical relations to the analysis and solution of engineering problems. Taught abroad. May be repeated without limit.

CHME 2949. Introductory Directed Research in Chemical Engineering. 4 Hours.

Offers first- and second-year students an opportunity to pursue project and other independent inquiry opportunities under faculty supervision. The course is initiated with a student-developed proposal, including expected learning outcomes and research products, which is approved by a faculty member in the department. Requires permission of instructor.

CHME 2990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

CHME 3000. Professional Issues in Engineering. 1 Hour.

Offers students an opportunity to reflect on both academic and co-op experiences in the context of planning for their senior year and beyond. Focuses on developing advanced skills in preparation for graduation including job searches, professional resumés, cover letter writing, career portfolios, negotiations, and corporate culture. Reviews the prospect of graduate school training. Discusses issues around safety and ethical challenges; resolving ethical conflicts; awareness of engineers as professionals in a diverse world; strengthening decision-making skills; and lifelong learning needs, goals, and strategies. Explores leading-edge chemical engineering topics through presentation and case studies. Examines the role of different work and learning styles and diverse personal characteristics in the workplace and the classroom.

CHME 3312. Transport Processes 2 and Separations. 4 Hours.

Continues CHME 2310. Presents the fundamentals and applications of energy transport, mass transport, and simultaneous energy/mass transport. Emphasizes separation processes using these principles. The methods taught are relevant to the analysis of engineering processes in a number of industries, including chemical, pharmaceutical, food, energy, biotechnology, and materials. .

CHME 3313. Lab for CHME 3312. 2 Hours.

Accompanies CHME 3312. Uses experiment to explore the principles of mass and energy transport as well as separation processes. Offers students an opportunity to obtain practical laboratory experience and to develop technical writing and oral presentation skills. Students are asked to both design and perform experiments in the context of current fields of chemical engineering, to discover fundamental transport principles, and to develop engineering solutions through experiments using the fundamental transport principles. .

CHME 3315. Chemical Engineering Experimental Design 1. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to obtain hands-on laboratory experience and to develop safety, teamwork, problem-solving, organizational, technical writing, and oral presentation skills. Focuses on fundamental momentum transport principles and skills to develop and design engineering solutions through experiments in the context of the current fields of chemical engineering. Emphasizes the hazards associated with those chemical engineering experiments.

CHME 3322. Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics 2. 4 Hours.

Continues CHME 2320. Covers thermodynamic properties of mixtures; fugacity and the fugacity coefficients from equations of state for gaseous mixtures; liquid phase fugacities and activity coefficients for liquid mixtures; phase equilibriums; the equilibrium constant for homogeneous gas-phase reactions; and extension of theory to handle simultaneous, heterogeneous, and solution reactions.

CHME 3990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

CHME 4315. Chemical Engineering Experimental Design 2. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to obtain hands-on laboratory experience and to develop safety, teamwork, problem-solving, organizational, technical writing, and oral presentation skills. Focuses on the discovery of fundamental heat and mass transport principles. Those fundamentals are used to develop and design engineering solutions through experiments in the context of the current fields of chemical engineering. Focuses on the hazards associated with these chemical engineering experiments and the materials handled during laboratory.

CHME 4510. Chemical Engineering Kinetics. 4 Hours.

Covers fundamental theories of the rate of chemical change in homogeneous reacting systems, integral and differential analysis of kinetic data; design of batch and continuous-flow chemical reactors; and an introduction to heterogeneous reactions and reactor design.

CHME 4512. Chemical Engineering Process Control. 4 Hours.

Covers Laplace transform and its use in solving ordinary differential equations; modeling liquid-level, temperature, and composition dynamics; linearization of nonlinear systems; first- and second-order system transfer functions; and PID control; computer simulation of open- and closed-loop systems; control system stability; and feed-forward and cascade control.

CHME 4624. Chemical Process Safety. 4 Hours.

Introduces students to important technical fundamentals as applied to chemical process safety. Demonstrates good chemical process safety practice through chemical plant trips, visiting experts, and video presentations.

CHME 4625. Chemical Process Safety Abroad. 4 Hours.

Introduces important technical fundamentals as applied to chemical process safety internationally. Demonstrates good chemical process safety practice through chemical plant visits, visiting experts, and video presentations in the international setting in which the course is offered. May be repeated without limit.

CHME 4701. Capstone Design 1: Process Analysis. 4 Hours.

Focuses on the design of a chemical process with a particular emphasis on separation technologies. Topics include computer simulation of steady-state processing conditions, selecting process operations, reactor design, preparing flow sheets and stream tables, and evaluating the economics of a chemical process design.

CHME 4703. Capstone Design 2: Chemical Process Design. 4 Hours.

Continues CHME 4701. Requires each student to solve a comprehensive chemical process design problem. Topics include heat and power integration in chemical processing, design and scheduling of batch processes, sequencing separation operations, and safety considerations in process design.

CHME 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

CHME 4991. Research. 4 Hours.

Offers an opportunity to conduct research under faculty supervision. May be repeated up to two times.

CHME 4992. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor. May be repeated without limit.

CHME 5101. Fundamentals of Chemical Engineering Analysis. 4 Hours.

Offers graduate students from undergraduate studies outside of traditional chemical engineering an opportunity to obtain a practical understanding of the core principles behind the chemical engineering discipline. Topics include vector and tensor calculus, continuum mechanics and thermodynamics, macroscopic and microscopic analyses of mass, momentum, and energy conservation; the fundamental principles of processes in which mass, energy, and momentum are transported; consequences of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the principles governing phase and chemical reaction equilibrium; the fundamental theories of chemical reaction kinetics and reactor design; and the mathematical formulation and solution of the underlying equations involved in all these topics.

CHME 5137. Computational Modeling in Chemical Engineering. 4 Hours.

Builds on chemical engineering fundamentals to introduce computer programming to allow simulation of physical, chemical, and biological systems. Covers numerical experiments (e.g., Monte Carlo, global sensitivity analysis) to analyze the significance of parameters and model assumptions. Offers students an opportunity to work on a research or design project throughout the course.

CHME 5160. Drug Delivery: Engineering Analysis. 4 Hours.

Focuses on engineering analysis of drug delivery systems, demonstrating the application of classic engineering principles to a nontraditional field for chemical engineers. Presents quantitative analysis of transport of a drug through the body and its control by physical and chemical drug and drug delivery device properties. Emphasizes the influence of biological tissue composition and structure on these processes.

CHME 5185. Multidisciplinary Immersion in Responsible and Ethical Research (MIRER). 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to develop the thought processes, skills, and strategies required for originating and performing high-impact bio/chemical research that broadens scientific knowledge in the targeted field of study. Multidisciplinary immersion in responsible and ethical research (MIRER) is an innovative and comprehensive approach to introducing interdisciplinary bio/chemical engineering research. Emphasizes ethical and design considerations in conducting research. Topics include case studies in conflict of interest, bioethics, laboratory safety, scientific misconduct, authorship and publication, literature and peer review, structure and dissemination of oral and written research findings, grant composure and review, research design, laboratory techniques, and contemporary issues. Meets the National Institutes of Health (NIH) requirements for responsible conduct of research (RCR).

CHME 5240. Introduction to Polymer Science. 4 Hours.

Introduces basic concepts of polymers and polymer properties. Designed for both undergraduate and graduate students, and requires no prior knowledge of polymers. Covers macromolecular structure from both theoretical and experimental viewpoints, polymerization processes and kinetics, polymer/solvent thermodynamics, crosslinking and network dynamics, thermal and phase behavior of polymers, viscoelasticity and mechanical behavior, diffusion in polymers, and selected advanced topics.

CHME 5510. Fundamentals in Process Safety Engineering. 4 Hours.

Introduces the basic concepts in process safety engineering as applied to the process industries as well as various terms and lexicon. Reviews the fundamentals involved in the prediction of scenarios and covers the assumptions involved as well as the range of these predictions. Emphasizes toxicology, industrial hygiene, sources models, toxic releases, and dispersion models, as well as fire and explosion prevention.

CHME 5520. Process Safety Engineering—Chemical Reactivity, Reliefs, and Hazards Analysis. 4 Hours.

Reviews chemical reactivity hazards. Introduces relief methods and sizing estimation to prevent overpressurization vessel damage. Covers methods of hazards identification and risk assessment. Offers students an opportunity to obtain the ability to lead hazards analysis in any organization at any level.

CHME 5621. Electrochemical Engineering. 4 Hours.

Introduces fundamental concepts of electrochemical thermodynamics, kinetics, and mass transport and places them in context for applications such as batteries, fuel cells, and electrochemical sensors. Additional topics include porous electrode theory, cyclic voltammetry, Pourbaix diagrams, and the structure of the electrochemical double layer.

CHME 5630. Biochemical Engineering. 4 Hours.

Focuses on topics relevant to the design of cell culture processes for the production of pharmaceuticals. Topics include an overview of prokaryotic vs. eukaryotic cells; enzyme kinetics; overview of cellular processes (DNA replication, transcription, translation, primary metabolism, and regulation of protein synthesis at the transcriptional, posttranslational, and metabolic levels); overview of genetic engineering methods (for bacteria, mammalian, and plant cells); kinetics of cell growth (growth models, growth kinetic parameters); kinetics of product formation; bioreactor design and optimum operating conditions; scale-up; and overview of product recovery and purification methods.

CHME 5631. Biomaterials Principles and Applications. 4 Hours.

Offers a broad overview of the field of biomaterials (materials used in medical devices that interact with living tissues). Begins with introductory lectures on biomaterials and their translation from the laboratory to the medical marketplace and progresses to discussions of important biomaterials terminology and concepts. Basic materials science lectures then emphasize material structure-property-function-testing relationships. Concludes with introductions to topics in the field such as biomaterials-tissue interactions, tissue engineering, regulatory requirements, etc. Considers principles of device design as related to the selection and application of biomaterials throughout this course.

CHME 5632. Advanced Topics in Biomaterials. 4 Hours.

Addresses several important topics in biomaterials, specifically, materials used in medical devices that communicate with living tissues. Topics that may be addressed include biomaterials: past, present, and future; tissue engineering: scope, status, promise, challenges; biomaterials-tissue interactions; regulated medical device design, fabrication, and testing; strategies for translating medical products from concept to the marketplace; and medical device disasters. Some topics are covered in more depth than others depending on their value and interest to the students.

CHME 5683. Introduction to Polymer Science. 4 Hours.

Introduces basic concepts of polymers and polymer properties. Covers macromolecular structure from both theoretical and experimental viewpoints, polymerization processes and kinetics, polymer/solvent thermodynamics, crosslinking and network dynamics, thermal and phase behavior of polymers, viscoelasticity and mechanical behavior, diffusion in polymers, and selected advanced topics. Designed for both undergraduate and graduate students. No prior knowledge of polymers is required.

CHME 5699. Special Topics in Chemical Engineering. 4 Hours.

Focuses on topics related to chemical engineering to be selected by the instructor. May be repeated up to two times.

CHME 5984. Research. 1-4 Hours.

Offers an opportunity to conduct research under faculty supervision. May be repeated without limit.