They work creatively, using their special knowledge of processes from laboratory studies through to large-scale production. To this end, they use mathematics, physics, chemistry and the art of engineering to solve technical problems safely and economically, while minimizing the environmental impacts caused by the process. Chemical engineers are increasingly working in other areas of knowledge in partnership with professionals from a variety of areas both within and outside the exact sciences.
Graduates’ generalist training allows them to become involved in the various stages of an industrial process, from its initial conception, through equipment design, process operation, process control and product quality control, to safety and environment, sales and marketing, the technical/economic analysis of processes, technical assistance and the development of new products and applications. Chemical engineers’ professional activities also involve aspects related to the mathematical modeling and simulation of processes, which are an essential part of the procedures for optimizing processes from the point of view of, for example, reducing consumption of raw material and energy, reducing the amount of effluents generated and maximizing profits, while always seeking ways of producing better quality products and operating more efficient processes at lower cost.
Chemical engineers’ activities intrinsically involve scientific, economic and social issues. Chemical engineers can also work in government or corporate research centers developing new products and technologies and as lecturers in higher education institutions.