Chemicals and Gases

What Chemical Lab Equipment is Most Popular Among Engineers?

22 May 2017

Figure 1 - Forced circulation evaporator and schematic. Images courtesy of Buflovak LLC. Figure 1 - Forced circulation evaporator and schematic. Images courtesy of Buflovak LLC. I asked my wife, who has a degree in chemical engineering, “What’s the most popular chemical lab equipment being used by engineers?”

Her response was as I expected, “Chemical engineers do not really use chemical lab equipment. Sometimes we evaluate processes on pilot scale equipment, but bench top chemical laboratories are for chemists and chemical research.”

Non-technical people do not really understand the difference between a “chemical engineer” and a “chemist." Chemical engineers do not develop or engineer chemicals per se. Most chemical engineers do not really use “chemical lab equipment." Chemical engineers typically run experiments to develop and improve chemical processes on pilot scale equipment or even production scale systems.

Figure 2 - - ASME, PED, CRN, GOST Custom Pressure Vessels - 100 - 15,000 psig. Image Courtesy GENERON. Figure 2 - - ASME, PED, CRN, GOST Custom Pressure Vessels - 100 - 15,000 psig. Image Courtesy GENERON. Even in college, chemical engineering laboratory equipment often consists of pilot scale systems where budding ChemEs learn about unit operations and chemical process steps such as distillation, separation, crystallization, evaporation, filtration, polymerization, mixing, homogenization, cooling, heating, polymerization and chemical reactions. Practicing chemical engineers generally work with larger scale equipment in a pilot facility or in a production plant where they can evaluate how equipment and system changes impact physical and chemical transformations. Chemical engineers receive training and develop understanding of fluid flow, heat transfer, mass transfer, thermodynamics, chemistry, physics, advanced mathematics and control theory, which they use to optimize and design chemical processes.Figure 3 - Primary Gyratory Cone Crusher. Courtesy Metso.Figure 3 - Primary Gyratory Cone Crusher. Courtesy Metso.

Chemical engineers typically work at chemical, oil & gas, petrochemical, biotech, pharmaceutical, and food & beverage plants where they may:

  • Design next generation processes and equipment for large-scale manufacturing (Process Engineers)
  • Plan and test production methods to optimize yield and minimize waste and by-products (Production Engineers)
  • Control pollution and environmental impact by monitoring and developing processes to treat, contain or re-use waste and by-products (Production and Environmental Engineers)
  • Manage and direct facility operations (Production Engineers, Engineering Managers)

The table below provides a list of equipment categories of interest to chemical engineers and their descriptions. The categories links to are industrial directory, which provides more detailed product categories as well as SpecSearch® parametric search forms to quickly filter and find the specific process components and equipment required for process engineering projects.

Chemical Process Equipment Category

Description

Air Quality (3,093 suppliers)

Instrumentation and equipment used to control the properties and degree of purity of air. These types of equipment include dust collectors, oxidizers, scrubbers and adsorption equipment.

Environmental Equipment (5,544 suppliers)

Equipment involved in the remediation of environmental factors. Specific aspects covered include water and wastewater treatment, air and groundwater quality analysis, waste processing, and pollution control.

Filtration and Separation Products (5,092 suppliers)

Processing equipment such as centrifuges, clarifiers, and several filter technologies used to filter or separate media of different materials or sizes.

Flow Sensing (2,642 suppliers)

Flow measurement instruments are used to determine flow rate by monitoring the amount of media passing during a specific time. Devices within this category can monitor liquids, gases or solids, and measure in units of mass, velocity or volume.

Fluid Processing Equipment (3,351 suppliers)

Any piece of equipment used to monitor, distribute and store process and industrial fluids.

Gas Handling Equipment (1,008 suppliers)

Any piece of equipment used to monitor, distribute, generate, compress and store process and industrial gases.

Heating and Cooling Equipment (13,466 suppliers)

Ovens, furnaces, induction heaters, welding equipment, heat exchangers, fans, blowers, refrigerators, baths and other equipment for heating or cooling materials.

Hose, Pipe and Tubing (4,820 suppliers)

Hose, pipe and tubing covers the broad spectrum of fluid transfer lines.

Hose, Pipe, and Tubing Accessories (4,518 suppliers)

Hose, pipe, and tubing accessories make up the infrastructure necessary to convey all manner of materials in a process line.

Industrial Heaters and Heating Elements (2,520 suppliers)

Electrical resistance heaters or their internal elements; designed to provide an integrated thermal source for products or systems.

Industrial Machine Safeguarding (1,510 suppliers)

Components or systems that protect industrial machinery, operators or moving parts from injury or damage from electrical, mechanical or other potential hazards.

Materials Processing Equipment (3,617 suppliers)

Extruding, casting, forging, compacting, heat treating, molding, rolling or other processing machines and components used for metals, polymers or other materials.

Pressure Regulators (1,249 suppliers)

Pressure regulators are used to maintain a constant outlet pressure or flow.

Process Controllers (4,849 suppliers)

Instruments for monitoring and automatically revising process parameters such as temperature, pressure, force, humidity, level and flow.

Pumps (5,243 suppliers)

Machines and devices used for the raising, compression or transference of a variety of materials.

Safety and Personal Protective Equipment (3,655 suppliers)

Safety equipment guards personnel or areas from hazardous conditions or mitigates damage. Personal protective equipment protects individuals from personal injury.

Safety Sensors and Switches (733 suppliers)

Safety sensors and switches are used in machines and other industrial applications to safeguard equipment and prevent personal injury.

Tanks and Vessels (2,241 suppliers)

Equipment used to contain or store materials prior to, during, and after their processing.

Vacuum Equipment (2,530 suppliers)

Vacuum equipment is used for degassing, welding, and the manufacturing of thin films, semiconductors, optics and specialty materials.

Valve Actuators and Positioners (946 suppliers)

Devices designed to automatically control and monitor the position of valves, in relation to their open or closed positions.

Valves (6,133 suppliers)

Devices that regulate the flow of gases, liquids, or loose materials through piping by opening, closing, or obstructing ports or passageways.

Viscosity Sensing (210 suppliers)

Instruments and sensors for measuring the viscosity (resistance to flow) or viscoelastic properties of liquid or molten glass and plastic.

Web Handling and Processing Equipment (1,157 suppliers)

Equipment for handling, processing and converting continuous webs of textiles, paper, plastic films, metal sheet or other materials.


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Discussion – 2 comments

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Re: What’s the Most Popular Chemical Lab Equipment Being Used By Engineers?
#1
2017-May-23 6:45 PM

Thanks Gary, well put together!

Re: What’s the Most Popular Chemical Lab Equipment Being Used By Engineers?
#2
2017-Jun-15 7:59 AM

A green tank, apparently.

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