Skillful and creative applications of the principles of chemistry, biochemistry, biology, mathematics, and physics are needed to solve the problems now confronting society. Whether these problems involve energy, food, health, materials or environmental quality, the modern chemical engineer is the professional concerned with finding economically and socially acceptable solutions. The program includes specific tracks relating to energy and climate solutions, data analytics in the chemical engineering domain, and human health. The program prepares graduates for employment in a great variety of industries including specialty chemicals, petroleum, pharmaceutics, paper, fibers, plastics, food, electronics, consumer products, and environmental remediation and lays a strong foundation for those who choose to pursue higher education, whether in chemical engineering or other disciplines such as business, medicine, or law. Students may customize their academic program around an industry of interest by judiciously selecting electives. Courses in chemistry, polymers, biotechnology, marketing, and green engineering are common choices.
The objective of the undergraduate program is that within five years of completing their BS degrees, graduates will be successful in a variety of professional careers, including those outside of traditional chemical engineering fields as evidenced by one or more of the following achievements:
The curriculum has been developed to meet the department goal and the objectives for the graduates. The curriculum is demanding and a GPA of at least 3.0 is recommended for transfer into the program at the sophomore level. An average GPA of at least 2.00 in all CHE courses attempted (except CHE 4144 Business and Marketing Strategies for the Process Industries) is required for continued enrollment in the department. The department has specific grade policies for continuation in the program and for graduation. For further information on these policies, please contact the department.
The chemical engineering curriculum integrates studies in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, mass transfer, process control, reaction kinetics, plant and process design, verbal and written communications, and reaction kinetics, along with professional ethics and environmental awareness. Throughout this curriculum students learn the fundamentals of chemical processing equipment design and operation. In addition, students gain hands-on experience with the equipment during the summer Unit Operations Laboratory. The experience culminates in participation in either a national senior-level design contest or a design project with a local industrial mentor. The laboratory and the senior design courses are recognized as two of the high points in the undergraduate program. The computer is a necessary tool in all the courses and the same software used in industry is used in the design courses.
In addition to the basic undergraduate program outlined here, more sophisticated and specialized programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering also are offered (see Graduate Catalog).
The department participates in the Cooperative Education Program whereby qualified students may alternate periods of study with periods of professional employment.
A total of 130 semester credits are required for graduation.
The graduation requirements in effect during the academic year of admission to Virginia Tech apply. Requirements for graduation are listed on checksheets. Students must satisfactorily complete all requirements and university obligations for degree completion. The university reserves the right to modify requirements in a degree program.
Please visit the University Registrar's website at https://www.registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/checksheets.html for degree requirements.
The following are special Tracks of study that students can pursue through judicious selection of technical and chemical engineering electives. Lists of approved courses for these tracks are available in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
As part of progress toward a degree, students must maintain an in-major GPA of 2.0 or above (not including CHE 4144 Business and Marketing Strategies for the Process Industries). If the in-major GPA drops below 2.0 at any time, students will be placed on departmental probation. Students cannot remain on departmental probation for more than two consecutive semesters. In the case that a student has not achieved an in major 2.0 or better after two semesters, the student must transfer out of the department, is prohibited from registering for CHE courses for at least one semester and, after that, only with permission of Chemical Engineering department head. All CHE credits (except CHE 4144 Business and Marketing Strategies for the Process Industries) are used to calculate in-major GPA. Questions concerning progress to degree should be directed to Dr. Whiting.
Students who plan to co-op should talk with Dr. Whiting of the Chemical Engineering department.
For additional information about the Chemical Engineering curriculum, please contact Dr. Goldstein.
The B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org.
Head: S.P. Wrenn
Alumni Distinguished Professor and Frank C. Vilbrandt Professor: Y.A. Liu
Robert E. Hord Jr. Professor: P. Rajagopalan
Fred W. Bull Professor: C. Lu
Professors: L.E.K. Achenie, R.M. Davis, W.A. Ducker, and E. Kiran
Associate Professors: M Bortner, S. Deshmukh, A.S. Goldstein, A.M. Karim, S.M. Khatib, S.M. Martin, H. Xin, and A.R. Whittington
Assistant Professors: R. Tong
Joseph H. Collie Distinguished Professor: G. Whiting
Adjunct Professors: R. Colberg, E.H. Cwirko, R. Eisinger, C. McDowell, and B. McSheehy
Emeritus Professors: D.F. Cox and S.T. Oyama
Alexander F. Giacco Professor Emeritus: D.G. Baird
Career opportunities and current topics of interest in the Chemical Engineering profession.
Stoichiometric and composition relationships, behavior of gases, vapor pressures, solubility, mass balances, recycling operations, energy balances, first law of thermodynamics, thermophysics, thermochemistry, fuels and combustion, application to chemical operations.
First and Second Laws, properties of fluids, properties of homogeneous mixtures; phase equilibria, chemical-reaction equilibria. Grade of C- or better required in prerequisite CHE 2114.
3015: Common process measurements; applications to theory and practice of automatic control of chemical processes; 3016: Design and laboratory practice underlying the automatic computer control of chemical processes.
One and two dimensional conduction, convection, and diffusion of thermal energy; heat transfer rates, steady state and unsteady state conduction, convection; design of heat exchangers; forced and free convection boiling and condensation.
Fluid statics, surface tension, fluid dynamics, Newtons Law of viscosity, momentum transport, laminar and turbulent flow, velocity profiles, flow in pipes, flow around objects, non-Newtonian fluids, design of piping systems, pumps and mixing.
Development of strategies to pose and numerically solve sets of algebraic and differential equations that describe chemical engineering systems and processes. Iterative root finding and optimization approaches to solving non-linear equations, analyze data, and determine best-fit model parameters. Numerical strategies to integrate and differentiate models and data. Approaches to solve ordinary and partial differential equations that describe reaction kinetics, process control, and transport of momentum, heat and mass. Algorithm development, coding, and graphical representation of solutions. (3H,3C)
Binary separations and multicomponent separations, distillation, batch distillation, extraction, absorption, McCabe-Thiele and Ponchon Savaret methods, short cut methods, design of plate columns, plate and column efficiencies.
Multidimensional molecular diffusion and convection of single and multi-component systems; mass transfer rates; steady state, quasi-steady state and transient mass transfer; effect of reactions on mass transfer; convective mass transfer coefficients; design of stage and continuous gas/liquid contractors, membrane, liquid-liquid and liquid-solid separation processes, artificial kidney and drug delivery systems.
Power-law rate expressions, kinetic data, rate constants, Arrhenius equation, design of reactors, reactor behavior.
Practical experience in the planning of experimentation, gathering of experimental data, interpretation of data, and the preparation of written and oral reports. Use of small scale processing equipment. Applications include momentum transfer, heat transfer, mass transfer, and chemical reaction. Use of automatic control and data acquisition. Grade of C- or better in all CHE prefix courses and in-major GPA of 2.0 or better are required.
Research of a chemical process unit, design of experiments, analysis and interpretation of experimental data, and scale-up of the unit to meet specific objectives. Teamwork, oral communication, and appropriate use of published information. Consideration of safety, and the societal and environmental impacts of an engineering design. Pre: In-major GPA of 2.0 or better is required.
Basics of materials science as it relates to the interest of the chemical engineer. The course emphasizes the three fundamental areas of material science being polymer materials, metallics, and ceramic/inorganic glasses. The general molecular structure property - application behavior of each area will be presented but with a focus when possible on topics related to the field of chemical engineering.
Fundamentals of energy production technologies, alternative and renewable energy sources, electrochemical energy storage, direct carbon capture technologies, negative emissions technologies, and chemical process that use CO2 as a feedstock. Fundamentals of water purification technologies, the water cycle, and the impact of climate change on water resources and demands. Discussion of carbon and water economics, and how geographical, societal, and environmental factors affect energy and water management policies. Techno-economic analysis of solutions based on chemical technologies, and the communication of those solutions in the context of policy development.
Business strategies and industrial marketing concepts, and their application in the chemical, pharmaceutical and related process industries. The course is designed for engineers and other students planning a career in the process industries. Junior standing required.
Chemical process synthesis and plant design, economic analysis of alternative processes, process equipment design and specifications, computer-aided process design and simulation, design case studies, application of scientific and engineering knowledge to practical design problems. Grade of C- or better in all CHE prefix courses and in-major GPA of 2.0 or better is required.
Chemical process synthesis and plant design, economic analysis of alternative processes, process equipment design and specifications, computer-aided process design and simulation, design case studies, application of scientific and engineering knowledge to practical design problems. Grade of C- or better in all CHE prefix courses and in major GPA of 2.0 or better is required.
Basics of polymeric materials including description and categorization of macromolecules; characterization; mechanical properties; rubbery, glassy, crystalline, and viscous flow behavior.
Basic principles of momentum and heat transfer applied to the analysis of polymer processing operations. Introduction to polymer rheology.
Engineering analysis and predictive modeling of heat and mass transport in biological systems (e.g., tissues, organs, organisms, and biomedical devices). Examination of processes that involve conduction, convection, diffusion, generation/ consumption. Application of analytical and computational methods to solve differential equations that describe unsteady and/or multi-dimensional transport. Topics include oxygen transport, pharmacokinetic analysis, kidney function, blood perfusion, burns, and cryopreservation.
Properties and behavior of colloidal systems, primarily in liquid environments. Size characterization and description, Brownian motion, interparticle forces, dispersion stability, and experimental techniques for characterizing these systems.
Development and application of data-driven computational models. Focus on applications in chemical sciences and engineering (e.g., materials discovery, property prediction, anomaly detection, process optimization). Preprocessing, data management and visualization, clustering, classification, and regression algorithms, and common pitfalls and practices in training and evaluation of data-driven models. Pre: 3124
Concepts, principles and applications of various unit operations used in protein separations. Properties of biological materials, such as cells and proteins, and their influences on process design. Design of processes for protein purification based on the impurities to be eliminated. Concepts and principles of scale-up of unit operations. Case studies in practical protein recovery and purification issues, with a focus on enhanced protein purification by genetic engineering. Protein purification process simulation and optimization using process simulation software.