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.

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:

  1. Function successfully in a variety of fields in chemical engineering or in advanced study that uses the problem-solving skills taught in chemical engineering.
  2. Identify problems, collect necessary information, and analyze data to draw appropriate conclusions and to make informed decisions.
  3. Function effectively in a diverse workplace using interpersonal and communicative skills gained from their chemical engineering training.
  4. Recognize an economic, environmental, health and safety, or sustainability situation in need of improvement, then make suggestions that improve this situation.

The faculty of the chemical engineering program is committed to providing a practice-oriented education through active 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. Cooperative education offers students the opportunity 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 successful students for industrial careers; graduate programs; or professional medical, law, and business schools.

Through faculty expertise and scholarship, a rigorous set of academic courses, and real-world cooperative education experiences, the chemical engineering program seeks to enable students to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering in the general field of chemical engineering; design and conduct engineering experiments, as well as analyze and interpret data; design a system, component, or chemical process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability; function on teams, including multidisciplinary teams; identify, formulate, and solve chemical engineering problems; understand professional and ethical responsibility, including protecting the public and the environment by performing work in a safe and environmentally conscious manner; communicate effectively; understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context; recognize the need for and the ability to engage in lifelong learning; understand professional behavior, culture, expectations, and contemporary issues; and use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary to chemical engineering practice.

The chemical engineering curriculum is periodically evaluated and revised 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 fundamental principles of processes in which mass, energy, and momentum are transported. Emphasizes momentum transport for incompressible and compressible fluids (fluid flow) and energy transport. The concepts are continued in CHME 3312 with emphasis on heat and mass transport with separation processes. 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 and simulation to explore the principles of momentum and heat 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 and simulation to explore the principles of mass transport and 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 Laboratory 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 3330. Chemical Engineering Process Analysis. 4 Hours.

Covers methods of mathematical analysis applied to chemical engineering problems. Includes use of computational software developed especially for the chemical engineering discipline. Develops linear and nonlinear problems for various chemical engineering applications. Demonstrates numerical and analytic solution methods. A number of examples are based on separation applications encountered in various chemical engineering specialties.

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 Laboratory 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; control valve sizing, 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 4626. Special Topics in Process Safety Abroad. 4 Hours.

Covers special topics unique to the host country as related to chemical process safety. Includes chemical plant visits, review of specialized testing methods used in process safety, as well as national and international compliance requirements. May be repeated without limit.

CHME 4634. Nanomaterials: Thin Films and Structures. 4 Hours.

Explores the applications and processing of electronic materials in nano-scale films and nanostructures. Stresses nanotechnology as an important field of chemical engineering that has applications in a variety of fields, such as material processing, drug delivery, semiconductor devices, and catalysis. Emphasizes the basic properties of electronic materials and the fundamental kinetic and transport principles in the manufacturing of thin films and nanostructures. Discusses the fundamentals in terms of the latest research in multifunctional devices and nanotechnology.

CHME 4699. Special Topics in Chemical Engineering. 4 Hours.

Focuses on topics related to chemical engineering to be selected by instructor. 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 4721. Projects 1. 4 Hours.

Offers individual research related to some phase of chemical engineering. Open only to students selected by the department head on the basis of scholarship and proven ability. Requires lab fee.

CHME 4722. Projects 2. 4 Hours.

Continues CHME 4721. Builds upon the previous course. Requires lab fee.

CHME 4970. Junior/Senior Honors Project 1. 4 Hours.

Focuses on in-depth project in which a student conducts research or produces a product related to the student’s major field. Combined with Junior/Senior Project 2 or college-defined equivalent for 8 credit honors project. May be repeated without limit.

CHME 4971. Junior/Senior Honors Project 2. 4 Hours.

Focuses on second semester of in-depth project in which a student conducts research or produces a product related to the student’s major field. May be repeated without limit.

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 4993. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers theoretical or experimental work under individual faculty supervision. May be repeated without limit.

CHME 4994. Internship. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity for internship work. May be repeated without limit.

CHME 4996. Experiential Education Directed Study. 4 Hours.

Draws upon the student’s approved experiential activity and integrates it with study in the academic major. Restricted to those students who are using the course to fulfill their experiential education requirement. May be repeated without limit.

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

Provides graduate students from undergraduate studies outside traditional chemical engineering with 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 5204. Heterogeneous Catalysis. 4 Hours.

Explores design principles of gas-solid catalytic reactors. Covers heterogeneous catalysts, adsorption surface area and pore structure of catalysts, and mass and heat transport in porous catalysts. Studies catalyst preparation and industrial catalytic processes.

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 5260. Special Topics in Chemical Engineering. 4 Hours.

Covers topics of interest to the staff member conducting this course for advanced study. A student may not take more than one special topics course with any one instructor. May be repeated without limit.

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 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 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 5899. Biotechnology. 4 Hours.

Introduces biotechnology to students who are not majoring in biological sciences. The goal is to cover fundamental concepts, principles, and technologies central to the modern biotechnology industry. Topics range from, but are not limited to, recombinant DNA technologies; genomics, proteomics, and epigenetics; viruses, vaccines, and gene therapy; stem cell biology; genetically modified organisms (GMOs); synthetic biology; drug discovery and development; and regulatory issues in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries.

CHME 5976. 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 5978. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers theoretical or experimental work under individual faculty supervision. May be repeated without limit.

CHME 5984. Research. 1-4 Hours.

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