Sounder SIGN UP FOR FREE
Cassie's Creative Catalyst
Cassie's Creative Catalyst

Season 2, Episode 1 · 1 year ago

ChemE College Rundown

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, I give a bullet point rundown of what college courses you will take as a chemical engineer! There's a lot of info here, so pause and breathe as needed!

Note: Chemical Engineering Podcast

Hey guys, this is Cassie,the host of CASSIE's creative catalysts. This week I'm going to start my chemicalengineering one hundred and one series. I'm a senior Chemi in college and I'mreally excited to share at the knowledge I've gained over the last four years.I remember being a senior in high school and not really knowing what a chemicalengineer did. I had taken an engineering class in high school, but Iknew that that still wasn't going to give me the full picture. So andthis episode I'm going to break down what classes I took by year and triedto explain what we did in each one. This is definitely going to be alittle bit of an Info Dump, so feel free to pause and processas you need. My Freshman Year in college I took two general chemistry classeswith labs calculus one and two, an introduction to chemical engineering, the biologycourse, chemical engineering problem solving, the principles of engineering materials, a careerorientation and a learning community course. The General Chemistry courses will probably the mostuseful in my opinion, and Kemmy. We primarily set up reactions and molebalances, but it's also really important to consider things like Ph and general reactivityand selectivity when we design systems. I also want to note that if youget to college and you hate your Gen Ken labs, that doesn't mean youshouldn't be a chemy. Jen Ken labs always stressed me out because it feltlike we had so much to do and such a short period of time.However, I still love chemistry. I just hated a stress that came withthat class. So it's really important to be able to separate your feelings abouta class from your feelings about a subject. The next class that I thought wasreally useful is calculus. The Calculus course are important because everything we doin engineering is based in calculus at least somewhat, even if it's just themethodology. So it definitely helps to understand...

...calculus. We don't usually do anythingto fancy with it, but we do do a decent amount of simple derivativesand integral so it is nice to kind of have that shove back away soyou can pull it out later. The introduction to chemical engineering course and thelearning community kind of went hand in hand. The introduction to chemical engineering was essentiallya crash course of everything we'd see over the next few years. Itoverwhelmed me, but it was helpful because I was able to get excited aboutchemical engineering. The learning community shove me in a class with half of theother freshman chemmy's and made us socialize at work on projects together. I wasn'ta huge fan of the mandatory socializing at the time, but looking back onit, I really do appreciate it. It's set the foundation for my classas relationships for the next few years. We didn't really jump into major specificclasses until sophomore year, so if not for this class, I probably wouldn'thave known too many people in my major at first. The chemical engineering problemsolving course was essentially a course on how to use Matt Lab. One ofmy professor's routinely says that Matt Lab is strong and stupid, and he's notwrong. Matt Leb can do a large variety of calculations, but you haveto type in your formulas and commands exactly. If you were missing one period,that program is not going to work, at least not correctly. It's almostlike learning a programming language, but instead of writing a program for awebsite, you're writing a program to solve equations. I use Matt Lab atleast once a year, so it's definitely a necessity. But there are alot of online forums and stuff to look at, so you're not totally screwedif you don't know it exactly to the dot, but you will be ata lot of time. I should know. The principles of engineering materials class wasimportant because it showed us how materials were chemically structured, how they deformedthrough heat and stress and a lot more.

This class is definitely useful. Ido wish that I had taken this class my sophomore year because as afreshman, I wasn't aware of how important this class would be and even thoughI really liked it, I didn't retain much information from it. I regrettedthat when I took an advanced materials class a few years later. The careerorientation class is a class I've affectionately dubbed how not to be awkward as anengineer. It goes through how to write a resume and a cover letter,how to set up a linkedin and use it to network and how to interview. Well, at the time I thought the class was a waste of time, but once I started applying to internships. I really appreciated it. I've gottenquite a few compliments on the skills that I picked up from that class, so I guess it has paid off. Finally, there's biology. This classis useful, but in really obscure ways. If you want to gointo the medical industry or on to med school, it is absolutely necessary andit will feed into a lot of classes. Otherwise, it really only feeds intoone biochemical engineering course that most universities require. For me, biology wasa definition of a wheat out course. I took it twice because the firstsemester I had thought that it should be difficult so that biology and premed majorscould reconsider their career choices early. She sped through her slides, got annoyedany time someone asked a low level question and just generally made life miserable.My second professor understood that non biology majors had to take the class and shetaught the class in a much better tone. She was super friendly and never madestudents think that their questions were waste of time. That second professor actuallyreally improved my overall opinion of biology and I'm very thankful for that. Soif you struggle in a course, want...

...sometimes it is you. I willadmit this was partially me, but also some types of professor. Really doesn'thelp, and it's totally okay to say that this professor is not for meand to take it again with a different professor. My Sophomore year I tookorganic chemistry one and two, Physics with the lab, LINEAR Algebra, differentialequations, engineering, their moodynamics and mass and energy balance is one and two. This was definitely one of my hardest years, just in terms of theamount of homework I had, but I did genuinely enjoy all of these classes. I was just constantly overwhelmed. We don't use organic chemistry too much outright. However, knowing how to name organic compounds and understanding how the reactions occuris extremely useful. Some problem statement you'll run into expect you to build aformula from the name, and once you get into the design classes, youmight be asked to show how a reaction happens inside a reactor. Organic chemistrycan be intense. I love doing it when I had time to sit downand think about it and that I actually found it really relaxing. However,as a semester got busier and busier. Organic chemistry slowly got shoved decide sothat I could focus on classes that I deemed more important, mass and EnergyBalances One and two. Sum Up what Chem he's do? We determine whatgoes into a system and what comes out of it, and it's also wherethe infamous squiggle is introduced. Squiggle is a symbol we use to account forthe reactions that take place inside a reactor. This allows us to make sure thatall of the masks that enters a system leaves the system. We alsohave to account for the energy used in a system. If you do notlike these classes, you really should think about why you're becoming a chemy thisconcept comes up in a lot of various forms and if you don't enjoy it, there's no shame and saying hey,...

I hate this, I need toconsider a different major. There's also no shame if you love the class butyou're not good at it. Some of the smartest people I know have hadto retake these classes. It happens, and as long as you learn thematerial, it really doesn't matter if it takes to a little longer than others. Physics helps with the understanding of engineering thermodynamics. It's not really needed foranything else, but I didn't mind taking it. I love physics and theprofessor was one of my favorites. I have a lot of respect for USwillingness to sit down and explain the smallest of details of both his class problemsand his research and terms that I could understand. Engineering thermodynamics is one ofthe building blocks of engineering. The theory and thermodynamics lay the foundation for almostevery class you take in your junior and senior year. For Kemmy's, themost important part, aside from the theory, is how energy is transferred within acooling and heating system. Once this concept comes up it really never goesaway, so it's really important to make sure you understand it. LINEAR ALGEBRAhas some useful concepts that can be applied to different equations, and the chemicalengineering modeling class that you'll take later. I can't really speak on this toomuch because it's really just a bunch of matrices. So if you like matrices, that's not really about thing. If you don't like matrices, I'm verysorry, but I promised. Most professors are really willing to work with you. Differential equations pop up and a lot of the theory and chemy courses.Usually we are told that we can use a simplified version of the equations,so you don't have to solve it with differential equations, but it is niceto have a baseline understanding of what's happening. The most important topic of this classis a laplace transform because they will be used for modeling process controls lateron. My junior year I took phase equilibria, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, analytical chemistry, mass transfer, basic...

...electrical engineering, advanced topics and materialscience, chemical engineering, modeling and Applied Calculus, and Chemical Reaction Engineering,which some schools call kinetics. Heat transfer is pretty much exactly what it soundslike. The entire class is about how heat transfers from one object to another, what conditions affect this heat transfer and how to model the heat transfer.My favorite projects actually came from this class and I'll try to talk about thema little more on a future podcast. My favorite part of this class waslearning about and designing heat exchangers. It was fun and I felt like itwas the easiest to apply and an industry scenario. Phase Equilibria focuses primarily onhow to determine the composition of a vapor or liquid and multicomponent compositions. Thetemperature, pressure and mole fraction of the component and each phase can be usedto create diagrams that can predict the behavior of the mixture for a wide rangeof parameters. These diagrams can then be used to help understand and designer process. This class is a lot of theory, especially at the beginning, but asyou get into it the ball starts rolling and it does become extraordinarily useful. Chemical Engineering modeling and Applied Calculus was a class that didn't really necessarily teachnew theories or calculation, but it's hot a different way of how to applythem. So we were modeling what happened in a reactor using various methods fromour engineering courses in our math courses, and this class really brought everything wehad learned a full circle and prepared us for all the modeling and process designswe have to do in our senior year. Fluid mechanics revolves around how different factorsaffect of fluid in the process. The density of the fluid, aheight change, the type of piping,...

...the velocity of the fluid and theefficiency of the pump or turbine used can all affect how the fluid travels througha system and how much energy is used. Mass transfer focuses on the methodology andthe equipment used to separate components from a mixture. That equipment should bechosen based on the face of the mixture, the desire face of the product andthe efficiency and completeness of the separation. Reaction Engineering talks about the different typesof reactors that are used in industry. The type of reactor, size ofthe reactors and the reaction order can all affect how quickly and completely areaction will take place. Analytical Chemistry isn't a required course, but it's onethat I really liked. The class focused on how to accurately and precisely runan experiment, the statistics use in a lab and electric chemistry. I lovethe lab for the this class. It wasn't as intense as Jen Ken labsand I was really able to Orient Myself and conduct the experiments in a morerelaxed fashion. That isn't to say that we weren't a time crunch, buthaving three weeks to do a lab is definitely better than having three hours.This class also taught me how to write lab reports, which I absolutely hated, but it's a skill that I'm glad I've learned because now I have towrite them for Unit operations labs and I can appreciate the fact that I nolonger have to do them alone. Advanced topics and material signs was an optionalcourse that went more in depth they and the materials class that took us afreshman. We talked about the properties of steel, the optical properties of materials, how fiber orientation affected the strength of a material and so much more.For our final project, we had to write a paper about the application ofa material from an engineer's point of view. I was really obsessed with a lecturestatic dissipating materials because of a previous internship, so I was really excitedthat I could research something I was interested in and get a grade for it. I'm honestly not entirely sure what I...

...needed basic electrical engineering for, butit was a required class to graduate, so I took it. The classpretty much revolves around solving circuits and circles. My Dad is an electrical engineer,so I really enjoyed not only being able to ask him for help,but being able to watch him struggle with the same problem because, and Iquote, my brain hasn't thought of this in fifteen years. This semester isthe first semester of my senior year. I'm taking professional and ethical issues,unit operations, lab one, chemical process control, chemical engineering, process designone, applied cell and molecular biology and atmospheric chemistry. Professional and ethical issuesfeels like a common sense class, but it is important to think about itcan be really easy to get lost in the process of making the best product, in saving the most money, but that doesn't mean you should put corners. The challenger incident is a great example of some of the issues discussed inthis class. Unit operations. Love one is a mix of actual lab workand Statistics. The lab work is great because you finally get to work withthe equipment you've been learning about four years. I really enjoy the hands on experience. It's also produced a few of my favorite memories this year. Forexample, one of my lab partners were shorts instead of long pants on ourfirst day in the lab and he had to run home and change. Sonow it's a running joke that any time we go to the lab we dropa message in the group chat to remind everyone to wear pants. I evenhid a note in one of our lab reports as we were typing it upand he found it during his proofreading and left me a little message and Iwill post that a message on my instagram because I still think it's one ofthe funniest things. Chemical process control is a class that really focuses on howto operate an industrial process. So far...

...we've discussed how alarms and fil safevalves work, we've modeled the process controls and Matt Lab and we've taken acloser look at how to efficiently and safely monitor and control a system. Chemicalengineering process design one is a class that teaches us how to design industrial processes. We have to determine how a process should be designed, how much theproducts cost to make and how safe the products and the reactions are. Ireally enjoy modeling and can catch so this class can be a lot of funapplied. Cell and molecular biology is basically the engineering and regulation side of biology. I've really enjoyed exploreing the FDA regulations and learning the processes that medical trialsmust go through. To ensure that they're safe. There is a decent amountof biology there, but it is kind of Nice because if you're not superfluentin biology, you can still do very well in the class. Atmospheric Chemistryisn't a required course, but I decided to take it because I really wantto get into the safety side of chemical engineering and there are a lot ofsafety jobs that include managing the environmental impact. This class focus has a lot onhow we model how much pollution is in the air, how much isomitted from a certain area and how long it takes to lower the level ofpollution. Through are all of these courses, I've had to complete essaycche certificates throughthe American Institute of Chemical Engineers, which is also called Aiicche. Thesetraining certificates focus primarily on different types of plant safety. They do take alot of time to complete, but a lot of them are genuinely useful inthe industry. My college requires them, but I know that others don't.However, if your school doesn't require them, I would still recommend checking them outbecause they're free to students with an eedu email. Next Semester I haveto take unitdops lab to chemical engineering,...

...design, to and a few classesof my choice. At the end of next semester I'll do another podcast totalk about those classes. Remember that these are very, very, very briefoverviews of what classes you will encounter as a chemical engineering major. Each schooloffers slightly different courses with different requirements to get into those courses, but thebase of the engineering major is the same. Thanks for listening. If you've enjoyedthis podcast and have any questions, comment or suggestions, I'd love tohear from you. You can contact me on instagram at cassie's underscore creative underscorecatalyst, or by email at cassie's creative catalyst at gmailcom.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (4)