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 chemical engineering one hundred and one series. I'm a senior Chemi in college and I'm really 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 chemical engineer did. I had taken an engineering class in high school, but I knew that that still wasn't going to give me the full picture. So and this episode I'm going to break down what classes I took by year and tried to explain what we did in each one. This is definitely going to be a little bit of an Info Dump, so feel free to pause and process as you need. My Freshman Year in college I took two general chemistry classes with labs calculus one and two, an introduction to chemical engineering, the biology course, chemical engineering problem solving, the principles of engineering materials, a career orientation and a learning community course. The General Chemistry courses will probably the most useful in my opinion, and Kemmy. We primarily set up reactions and mole balances, but it's also really important to consider things like Ph and general reactivity and selectivity when we design systems. I also want to note that if you get to college and you hate your Gen Ken labs, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be a chemy. Jen Ken labs always stressed me out because it felt like 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 with that class. So it's really important to be able to separate your feelings about a class from your feelings about a subject. The next class that I thought was really useful is calculus. The Calculus course are important because everything we do in engineering is based in calculus at least somewhat, even if it's just the methodology. So it definitely helps to understand...

...calculus. We don't usually do anything to fancy with it, but we do do a decent amount of simple derivatives and integral so it is nice to kind of have that shove back away so you can pull it out later. The introduction to chemical engineering course and the learning community kind of went hand in hand. The introduction to chemical engineering was essentially a crash course of everything we'd see over the next few years. It overwhelmed me, but it was helpful because I was able to get excited about chemical engineering. The learning community shove me in a class with half of the other freshman chemmy's and made us socialize at work on projects together. I wasn't a huge fan of the mandatory socializing at the time, but looking back on it, I really do appreciate it. It's set the foundation for my class as relationships for the next few years. We didn't really jump into major specific classes until sophomore year, so if not for this class, I probably wouldn't have known too many people in my major at first. The chemical engineering problem solving course was essentially a course on how to use Matt Lab. One of my professor's routinely says that Matt Lab is strong and stupid, and he's not wrong. Matt Leb can do a large variety of calculations, but you have to 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 almost like learning a programming language, but instead of writing a program for a website, you're writing a program to solve equations. I use Matt Lab at least once a year, so it's definitely a necessity. But there are a lot of online forums and stuff to look at, so you're not totally screwed if you don't know it exactly to the dot, but you will be at a lot of time. I should know. The principles of engineering materials class was important because it showed us how materials were chemically structured, how they deformed through heat and stress and a lot more.

This class is definitely useful. I do wish that I had taken this class my sophomore year because as a freshman, I wasn't aware of how important this class would be and even though I really liked it, I didn't retain much information from it. I regretted that when I took an advanced materials class a few years later. The career orientation class is a class I've affectionately dubbed how not to be awkward as an engineer. 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 gotten quite 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 class is useful, but in really obscure ways. If you want to go into the medical industry or on to med school, it is absolutely necessary and it will feed into a lot of classes. Otherwise, it really only feeds into one biochemical engineering course that most universities require. For me, biology was a definition of a wheat out course. I took it twice because the first semester I had thought that it should be difficult so that biology and premed majors could reconsider their career choices early. She sped through her slides, got annoyed any 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 she taught the class in a much better tone. She was super friendly and never made students think that their questions were waste of time. That second professor actually really improved my overall opinion of biology and I'm very thankful for that. So if you struggle in a course, want...

...sometimes it is you. I will admit this was partially me, but also some types of professor. Really doesn't help, and it's totally okay to say that this professor is not for me and to take it again with a different professor. My Sophomore year I took organic chemistry one and two, Physics with the lab, LINEAR Algebra, differential equations, engineering, their moodynamics and mass and energy balance is one and two. This was definitely one of my hardest years, just in terms of the amount 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 occur is extremely useful. Some problem statement you'll run into expect you to build a formula from the name, and once you get into the design classes, you might be asked to show how a reaction happens inside a reactor. Organic chemistry can be intense. I love doing it when I had time to sit down and 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 so that I could focus on classes that I deemed more important, mass and Energy Balances One and two. Sum Up what Chem he's do? We determine what goes into a system and what comes out of it, and it's also where the infamous squiggle is introduced. Squiggle is a symbol we use to account for the reactions that take place inside a reactor. This allows us to make sure that all of the masks that enters a system leaves the system. We also have to account for the energy used in a system. If you do not like these classes, you really should think about why you're becoming a chemy this concept 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 to consider a different major. There's also no shame if you love the class but you're not good at it. Some of the smartest people I know have had to retake these classes. It happens, and as long as you learn the material, 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 for anything else, but I didn't mind taking it. I love physics and the professor was one of my favorites. I have a lot of respect for US willingness to sit down and explain the smallest of details of both his class problems and his research and terms that I could understand. Engineering thermodynamics is one of the building blocks of engineering. The theory and thermodynamics lay the foundation for almost every class you take in your junior and senior year. For Kemmy's, the most important part, aside from the theory, is how energy is transferred within a cooling and heating system. Once this concept comes up it really never goes away, so it's really important to make sure you understand it. LINEAR ALGEBRA has some useful concepts that can be applied to different equations, and the chemical engineering modeling class that you'll take later. I can't really speak on this too much 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 very sorry, 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 nice to have a baseline understanding of what's happening. The most important topic of this class is a laplace transform because they will be used for modeling process controls later on. My junior year I took phase equilibria, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, analytical chemistry, mass transfer, basic...

...electrical engineering, advanced topics and material science, chemical engineering, modeling and Applied Calculus, and Chemical Reaction Engineering, which some schools call kinetics. Heat transfer is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. 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 them a little more on a future podcast. My favorite part of this class was learning about and designing heat exchangers. It was fun and I felt like it was the easiest to apply and an industry scenario. Phase Equilibria focuses primarily on how to determine the composition of a vapor or liquid and multicomponent compositions. The temperature, pressure and mole fraction of the component and each phase can be used to create diagrams that can predict the behavior of the mixture for a wide range of 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 as you 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 teach new theories or calculation, but it's hot a different way of how to apply them. So we were modeling what happened in a reactor using various methods from our engineering courses in our math courses, and this class really brought everything we had learned a full circle and prepared us for all the modeling and process designs we have to do in our senior year. Fluid mechanics revolves around how different factors affect of fluid in the process. The density of the fluid, a height change, the type of piping,...

...the velocity of the fluid and the efficiency of the pump or turbine used can all affect how the fluid travels through a system and how much energy is used. Mass transfer focuses on the methodology and the equipment used to separate components from a mixture. That equipment should be chosen based on the face of the mixture, the desire face of the product and the efficiency and completeness of the separation. Reaction Engineering talks about the different types of reactors that are used in industry. The type of reactor, size of the reactors and the reaction order can all affect how quickly and completely a reaction will take place. Analytical Chemistry isn't a required course, but it's one that I really liked. The class focused on how to accurately and precisely run an experiment, the statistics use in a lab and electric chemistry. I love the lab for the this class. It wasn't as intense as Jen Ken labs and I was really able to Orient Myself and conduct the experiments in a more relaxed fashion. That isn't to say that we weren't a time crunch, but having 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 to write them for Unit operations labs and I can appreciate the fact that I no longer have to do them alone. Advanced topics and material signs was an optional course that went more in depth they and the materials class that took us a freshman. 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 of a material from an engineer's point of view. I was really obsessed with a lecture static dissipating materials because of a previous internship, so I was really excited that 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, but it was a required class to graduate, so I took it. The class pretty 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 I quote, my brain hasn't thought of this in fifteen years. This semester is the first semester of my senior year. I'm taking professional and ethical issues, unit operations, lab one, chemical process control, chemical engineering, process design one, applied cell and molecular biology and atmospheric chemistry. Professional and ethical issues feels like a common sense class, but it is important to think about it can 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 in this class. Unit operations. Love one is a mix of actual lab work and Statistics. The lab work is great because you finally get to work with the 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. For example, one of my lab partners were shorts instead of long pants on our first day in the lab and he had to run home and change. So now it's a running joke that any time we go to the lab we drop a message in the group chat to remind everyone to wear pants. I even hid a note in one of our lab reports as we were typing it up and he found it during his proofreading and left me a little message and I will post that a message on my instagram because I still think it's one of the funniest things. Chemical process control is a class that really focuses on how to operate an industrial process. So far...

...we've discussed how alarms and fil safe valves work, we've modeled the process controls and Matt Lab and we've taken a closer look at how to efficiently and safely monitor and control a system. Chemical engineering 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 the products cost to make and how safe the products and the reactions are. I really enjoy modeling and can catch so this class can be a lot of fun applied. 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 trials must go through. To ensure that they're safe. There is a decent amount of biology there, but it is kind of Nice because if you're not superfluent in biology, you can still do very well in the class. Atmospheric Chemistry isn't a required course, but I decided to take it because I really want to get into the safety side of chemical engineering and there are a lot of safety jobs that include managing the environmental impact. This class focus has a lot on how we model how much pollution is in the air, how much is omitted from a certain area and how long it takes to lower the level of pollution. Through are all of these courses, I've had to complete essaycche certificates through the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, which is also called Aiicche. These training certificates focus primarily on different types of plant safety. They do take a lot of time to complete, but a lot of them are genuinely useful in the 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 out because they're free to students with an eedu email. Next Semester I have to take unitdops lab to chemical engineering,...

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

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (4)