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Question about chemical engineering specialties -> future

  1. Aug 3, 2011 #1
    I love chemistry and math (have taken through calc 3). I was planning on working in the energy field after I graduate, but I have an honest question: does it utilize electricity and magentism? I, frankly, hated that class. I LOVED physics I, which was much more applicable to me. Should I think of doing a nanoscience or biomolecular concentration instead of energy? I find biochemistry also fascinating, but I am mainly interested in working with alternative energy sources like hydrogen and solar power.

    I realize this might not be a clear description, but I really don't know what the day-to-day work of an energy field engineer is. What concepts do they utilize? (A link would be a fine explanation).
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 4, 2011 #2
    I'll give this a shot....

    As far as I'm aware, magnetism and electricity are not used for ChemE, beyond gradation requirements for your university (for me physics 2). I would think that E&M is for more of an electrical engineer, although electric motors (i.e. electricity and magnetism) can be attributed to the alternative energy sector. But that shouldn't have anything to do with a ChemE degree unless your taking a class as an elective. Even then, it would probably more practical than theoretical.

    I'm not entirely sure what you mean by an [alternative] energy field engineer. Within the energy sector, you've got refineries (a big recruiter of ChemEs), chemical manufacturers (3M and DOW). There's also the BioChemE aspect too. There are a lot more industries than the ones I mentioned, but these are the major recruiters.

    What year are you going into? If I were you, I would stick with ChemE. It is one of the most versatile degrees out there...that's why I picked it.
  4. Aug 4, 2011 #3
    Thanks for the response. I get wishy-washy answers about E&M...people say chemE is a lot of physics but don't seem to want to tell me (or don't know) what aspects of physics are used in each aspect.

    By alternative, I mean alternative from the widely used petrol and

    I'm going into sophomore year. That's also a reason I picked it. :)
  5. Aug 4, 2011 #4
    They are right about some physics, I've heard this as well. I'm going into my Junior year taking Fluid Mechanics and ChemE Thermodynamics in the fall. I've heard that Fluids is a lot of Physics 1, dealing with Bernoulli's principle, lots of forces, etc. I doubt thermo is related to E&M, but I could be wrong. I personally hated E&M (sorry physics majors :biggrin:), glad it's over.

    I'm also planning to go into alternative energy. I just wasn't sure what you meant by when you said field engineer as alternative energy is usually done in labs and at facilities. To me, field work involves working on oil platforms or visiting various stations in the tundra/desert.
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