Chemical engineering

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The chemical engineering or chemical engineering is concerned with the implementation of materials or chemicals on an industrial scale. The chemical engineer makes use of scientific and mathematical knowledge in order to arrive at a functioning, but also economical, safe and environmentally friendly process for converting substances. Chemical engineering is closely related to process engineering .


At the beginning of the 20th century, chemists and mechanical engineers worked together in the chemical industry. B. in the construction of reactors and boilers, some of which were exposed to considerable loads (600 ° C and 100 bar). At this interface, the new discipline of chemical engineering developed, the graduates of which dominate the chemical industry today.

Basic tasks

The basic tool in chemical engineering is the balancing of material and energy flows. By applying the laws of mass and energy conservation to entire systems, system parts ( basic operations ) or individual components, the data necessary for the construction and operation of these parts can be calculated. In addition, laws and knowledge of thermodynamics , heat and mass transfer and reaction kinetics are applied.

Since a system should not only work economically, but also meet high safety requirements, considerations of the mechanical and chemical-corrosive load capacity of the materials used are essential.

In recent years, the focus of chemical engineers has increasingly shifted from the process itself to tailor-made product development. The aim here is to achieve completely new product properties through the targeted choice of process parameters. Chemical engineers also use numerical methods to simulate complex processes.

Course content

The degree in chemical engineering is oriented towards technical and natural sciences and imparts the necessary knowledge in the subjects of mathematics , chemistry and physics with a focus on technical implementation and operational conditions ( plant safety , fire protection , explosion protection , business administration , law , ergonomics, etc.). The standard period of study is 10 semesters.

The main areas of study or directions vary between individual training centers. At many universities, students are trained in the engineering part of their training together with mechanical engineers, while in chemical subjects they take the same subjects with natural science students. The course places high demands on mathematical and physical knowledge. Nationwide admission restrictions do not exist. The student must not be particularly sensitive to common laboratory chemicals and must be able to work standing for several hours. In contrast to studying chemistry , due to the priority of technical training, most of the laboratory internships usually take place during the lecture-free period.

In the basic course, the mathematical, scientific and technical basics are taught. In addition to lectures and exercises, the chemical internships are an essential part of the course. The basic course generally comprises the following courses and usually lasts four semesters:

In addition, the students should also be enabled to meet their economic, social and ecological responsibility. Therefore, in addition to the natural sciences and technical subjects, the course also includes compulsory and elective subjects in the areas of environmental protection, technology assessment , engineering ethics and energy and raw material savings:

The main course is divided into two sections, each comprising 2 semesters; The internship semester lies between these sections. The first section of the main course focuses on the special engineering and natural science basic subjects that are important for chemical engineering (mechanical, thermal, chemical process engineering , automation technology, technical biochemistry, technical-chemical internship, etc.).

In the second part of the main course (advanced study) the scientific and engineering basics are deepened. The focus is on methodical and typical approaches to solving tasks. Recognizing and solving extensive tasks is taught, including economic, ecological and societal and application-related problems. As is customary in engineering disciplines, two study projects (project work and large receipt) are to be completed in the main course.

As part of the conversion of the diploma courses to Bachelor and Master, it is becoming apparent that the diversity of the Bachelor courses is increasing and thus a change of study location is made more difficult. It is also assumed that more than 90% of students complete their studies with a master’s degree.


Chemical engineering disciplines are:

Professional use

In the economy there is an increasing need for interdisciplinary trained engineers who have both chemical-material and engineering expertise. The chemical engineer will primarily be employed in product development and in the application of goods that are mainly manufactured using process engineering methods. Chemical engineers will primarily begin their professional activities in the following branches of industry:

Graduates can work in the industrial and commercial sector as well as in administration, research and (provided that the additional requirements and qualifications are acquired) in teaching, training and further education.

Chemical engineering organizations

Important organizations for chemical engineers in Germany are:


The Chemical Engineering course is offered as an undergraduate course or specialization at the following universities in Germany:

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Compulsory subjects in basic studies at TU Dresden ( Memento from February 15, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  2. Official website for the course at TU Dresden ( Memento of November 18, 2007 in the Internet Archive ).
  3. Official website for the course at the TU Dresden: Process of the main course ( Memento from November 18, 2007 in the Internet Archive ).