Chemical Engineering

Fireworks Forever: The Story and Engineering of Fireworks

2020-01-31T11:42:16-08:00 January 31st, 2020|Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Entertainment, Issue I, Volume XX|

Abstract When you look at a firework sparkling in the night sky, you may wonder how this phenomenon occurs or how fireworks became a staple for special occasions. The creation of the modern firework underwent much experimentation to become the spectacle it is today. With gunpowder, fire, and “stars,” fireworks can range from sparklers to [...]

DNA Computing – The World’s Best Computers Already Exist and We Didn’t Make Them

2018-10-31T12:35:32-07:00 October 30th, 2018|Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Health & Medicine, Issue III, Volume XVIII|

Abstract DNA has been introduced to the computer science field as one of the newest materials used for computer construction and computational mechanics. Its unique chemical properties make it faster and smaller than traditional computers– able to perform parallel operations on enormous amounts of data. Since Leonard Adleman’s first experiment with this media,  others have [...]

Engineering Ice Cream

2017-11-29T17:24:25-08:00 March 1st, 2017|Chemical Engineering, Food & Drink, Health & Medicine, Issue I, Lifestyle, Material Science, Volume XVIII, Water|

When you put a spoonful of your favorite ice cream into your mouth, you are enraptured by blasts of flavor, its creamy texture, and coolness on your tongue. Ice cream makers have the same qualities in mind when they are formulating the recipe to their next frozen creation. But, more specifically they are mulling over [...]

Dealing With Our Bacterial Neighbors: Engineering Deodorants and Antiperspirants to Prevent Malodor

2018-09-18T20:12:13-07:00 May 4th, 2016|Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Energy & Sustainability, Environmental Engineering, Food & Drink, Health & Medicine, Issue II, Lifestyle, Volume XVII, Water|

This paper investigates the physiological production of sweat, and how humans have developed strategies involving deodorants and antiperspirants to prevent the bacteria in our body from producing foul-odor chemicals. Well-known mechanisms of sweat production, from eccrine and apocrine glands, are described to introduce the topic. Biochemical explanations of the four main production pathways axillary bacteria [...]

Engineering Gave the World More Tofu

2017-10-26T18:50:37-07:00 April 30th, 2014|Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Food & Drink, Health & Medicine, Industrial Engineering, Issue I, Recycling, Volume XVII, Water|

When you look at a block of tofu, one may wonder how the white, spongy mass was made or even why. Although tofu has been around for hundreds of years, it was not until the 21st century that the process started to become mechanized. Seeing as that the process was traditionally both labor and time [...]

SCENTsory Entertainment: The Engineering Behind Smell-o-vision

2017-11-03T17:43:03-07:00 November 26th, 2012|Chemical Engineering, Entertainment, Food & Drink|

The technology for creating scents in television is in the near future. Researchers from the University of California San Diego are currently working with engineers at Samsung to develop a device that makes the smell-o-vision --smell with television-- a reality. This compact device will be an odor-generating component for TVs and will even be small [...]

Engineering Test-Tube Meat: Out of the Lab and onto the Dinner Plate

2017-11-03T17:17:49-07:00 May 1st, 2012|Chemical Engineering, Food & Drink, Industrial Engineering, Issue II, Volume XV|

What if we could produce and sell animal-free meat? Though it may sound like an oxymoron, this may be completely possible within the next few decades. With new technologies that allow scientists to create masses of muscle cells in a petri dish, engineers must step up to convert this technology to the production plant. By [...]

Rail Guns: From Sci-Fi to Reality

2017-11-10T18:42:13-08:00 April 23rd, 2012|Aerospace Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Energy & Sustainability, Issue III, Physics, Security & Defense, Transportation, Volume XIV|

A rail gun uses magnetic and electric forces to accelerate a projectile. Parallel rails extend along the length of the firing chamber of the rail gun powered by capacitors. With the power generated by the magnetic fields contained in rail guns, objects can be launched at incredible speeds. The result is a destructive force. The [...]

Follow Your Nose: Engineering in Perfumes

2017-11-10T18:38:11-08:00 April 23rd, 2012|Chemical Engineering, Health & Medicine, Issue III, Lifestyle, Volume XIV|

Most people view perfumes as delicate works of art, created with a meticulous hand and applied with a careful touch. However, the introduction of engineering into the analysis and creation of fragrances has mechanized the process more than ever before. The consequences of these new methods, both intended and unintended, have changed the industry irreversibly [...]

Thorium Reactors: Solving the Global Energy Crisis

2017-11-03T18:02:26-07:00 July 7th, 2011|Chemical Engineering, Energy & Sustainability, Issue I, Material Science, Volume XIV|

As global demand for energy increases and access to fossil fuels decreases, we face a crisis. Nuclear power offers ecologically sound energy, but it is costly to produce and maintain. In the wake of the tragedy at the Japanese nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi, nuclear energy seems less safe in the eyes of the public, [...]

Refrigerator

2018-11-07T16:32:23-08:00 March 27th, 2011|Chemical Engineering, Issue II, Volume VII|

The refrigerator is an important instrument of food preservation for modern society. The refrigeration cycle is the chemical process that drives the refrigerator and generally consists of four main steps: 1) compression of ammonia refrigerant; 2) cooling of ammonia refrigerant; 3) expansion of ammonia refrigerant; and 4) drawing in of heat from the core of [...]

Where Does My Decaf Come From?

2017-11-11T17:19:49-08:00 December 10th, 2010|Chemical Engineering, Food & Drink, Issue I, Volume XIII|

Decaffeinated coffee is a popular beverage in cafes and homes throughout the world. There are several different methods used to decaffeinate coffee, including the direct method, indirect method, carbon dioxide method, and the Swiss Water Process. While the first three methods involve chemical treatment of the coffee beans, the last one—Swiss Water Process—does not involve [...]

Diesel Engines: Is Old Technology Actually Green Technology?

2017-11-12T23:05:14-08:00 November 10th, 2010|Chemical Engineering, Energy & Sustainability, Issue III, Transportation, Volume XI|

Unbeknownst to many, the familiar diesel engine has potential for the implementation of clean diesel technology for use in the same way that hybrids are used today. From development and historical use of the diesel engine to the engineering principles by which the engine functions, diesel technology has evolved to meet the needs of a [...]

Microbial Fuel Cells: Generating Power from Waste

2017-11-11T16:45:47-08:00 May 4th, 2010|Chemical Engineering, Energy & Sustainability, Issue II, Recycling, Volume XII|

Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) use bacteria to convert organic waste material into electrical energy. This environmentally-friendly process produces electricity without the combustion of fossil fuels. MFCs have various practical applications such as in breweries, domestic wastewater treatment, desalination plants, hydrogen production, remote sensing, and pollution remediation, and they can be used as a remote power [...]

Chewing Gum

2017-11-11T06:03:27-08:00 November 7th, 2009|Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Food & Drink, Health & Medicine, Issue I, Volume X|

Chewing gum, the most popular snack in America, can be traced back to ancient Greece. Over the past two centuries, gum manufacturers have embraced materials science to produce a product that has a wide variety of benefits, from cavity protection to enhanced mental concentration. However, this treat is also polluting streets, sidewalks, and buildings around [...]

The Power of Pond Scum: Algae Biofuels

2017-11-03T17:17:18-07:00 May 1st, 2009|Chemical Engineering, Energy & Sustainability, Issue I, Volume XI|

Our world is facing a global energy crisis. As we continue to deplete non-renewable energy resources, we must seek to develop alternative renewable resources to meet our energy demands. Scientists and engineers are currently researching algae as a potential source of biofuel that might replace fossil fuels as a main source of energy. Compared to [...]

NASA Brings Clean Water Back Down to Earth

2017-11-11T06:08:15-08:00 March 7th, 2009|Aerospace Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Issue I, Space, Volume X|

Getting enough water is one of the greatest challenges in human spaceflight. As its mission objectives have become increasingly more ambitious, NASA has been at the forefront of water purification technology. Designers of water purification systems for space travel face many of the same challenges as designers of systems for use in developing nations, and [...]

From the Vine to the Table: Winemaking Explained

2017-11-11T06:05:13-08:00 March 8th, 2008|Chemical Engineering, Food & Drink, Issue I, Volume X|

Wine has been enjoyed for over 7,000 years and through the centuries it has been the preferred drink of the Egyptians, Romans and Mesopotamians. It has played a key role in religion and cross-cultural trade, but only in the past 150 years has science and technology become a part of the winemaking process. Louis Pasteur's [...]

From Chemistry Labs to the Kitchen: Molecular Gastronomy

2017-11-11T03:58:39-08:00 December 7th, 2007|Chemical Engineering, Food & Drink, Issue III, Lifestyle, Volume IX|

In 1980, the science behind cuisine, formerly known as molecular gastronomy, was introduced into the culinary world. Cooking experts in some of the top restaurants from London to New York City have demonstrated how understanding the science behind simple foods — such as French fries and mayonnaise — can add new dimensions to taste by [...]

What Makes Antibacterial Soap Antibacterial?

2017-11-03T11:00:23-07:00 December 1st, 2007|Chemical Engineering, Health & Medicine, Issue I, Volume IX|

Germs are everywhere, so it's no surprise that antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, and lotions are as well. Despite this, consumer knowledge of Triclosan (the active ingredient in many antibacterial products) remains vague at best. A biochemical explanation of how Triclosan disables bacteria will give consumers a more scientific understanding of a product they use so [...]

A Chemical Engineer’s Guide to Cleaning Just About Anything

2017-11-11T03:01:23-08:00 September 5th, 2005|Chemical Engineering, Issue II, Lifestyle, Volume IX|

When people kneel down to scrub the stains out of their bathtubs or struggle to remove the coffee grounds from their kitchen counters, they are probably not thinking about the complicated chemical reactions that are happening just beneath their hands. The cleaning supplies that we all use, from simple soaps to detergents to vinegars and [...]

Shampoo Formulation: Perception and Reality

2018-11-07T16:47:57-08:00 September 1st, 2005|Chemical Engineering, Issue II, Lifestyle, Volume VII|

Billions of dollars are spent by consumers on hair care products every year, mostly on shampoo. Consumers are bombarded every day by advertising that promises stronger, shinier, healthier hair. Actually, differentiating additives, such as vitamins, account for small percentages of shampoo ingredients. The consumer may be shocked to hear that many advertised promises fall flat [...]

The Chemistry Behind Moisturizers

2019-01-10T10:59:53-08:00 December 4th, 2003|Chemical Engineering, Issue V, Lifestyle, Volume V|

The skin is a complex organ with many layers. Its structure is designed to minimize moisture loss from the body while preventing foreign materials from entering. To accomplish these functions, the skin must have a protective covering of lipids, or oil-soluble molecules. Exposure to everyday conditions can strip the skin of its protective lipid covering. [...]

The Engineering of Beer

2019-01-10T11:01:54-08:00 May 3rd, 2003|Chemical Engineering, Food & Drink, Issue IV, Volume V|

Beer has existed for thousands of years. During its long history its popularity has changed considerably in response to technological advancements and social pressures. Although beer was created before the science behind it was understood, the process of making beer can be thought of as a series of chemical engineering tasks that includes separation processes [...]

Phytoremediation

2019-01-10T11:09:39-08:00 May 3rd, 2003|Chemical Engineering, Energy & Sustainability, Environmental Engineering, Issue II, Volume V|

The natural environment is very easily polluted by the toxic compounds contained in oil. In the past, methods for restoring contaminated areas have been expensive but largely inadequate. A recently developed decontamination process called phytoremediation uses plants along with the bacteria that live in their roots to break down the toxins directly, or to absorb [...]

Chemical Engineering Your Dinner

2017-10-30T11:12:41-07:00 August 15th, 2002|Chemical Engineering, Food & Drink, Issue I, Lifestyle, Volume III|

The field of chemical engineering has existed since World War I, yet many may have trouble describing what a Chemical Engineer actually does. Chemical Engineering has allowed Americans to enjoy a higher quality of life through the benefits of the products these engineers produce. In fact, industrial processes used by Chemical Engineers are so widespread [...]

A World of Petroleum

2017-11-12T22:33:50-08:00 July 1st, 2001|Chemical Engineering, Issue III, Lifestyle, Volume I|

The enriched lifestyle that many Americans enjoy is largely dependent on petroleum. Oil and natural gas provide 65% of our energy needs and 97% of our transportation fuels. Everyday items such as ink, heart valves, telephones, rubbing alcohol, sports car bodies, shampoo, and cosmetics are all products of petroleum. These products are produced through a [...]

Fuel Injection

2017-10-26T18:51:40-07:00 March 1st, 2001|Chemical Engineering, Issue IV, Transportation|

The introduction of fuel injection to the automobile has been a major factor in increasing the power available to engines in recent years. However, its introduction was initially slow due to the inherent complexities of the system. Computer integration revolutionized the design of this automotive subsystem and has become the onboard controller of the fuel [...]

The Engineering Behind the Perfect Cup of Joe

2017-10-30T11:40:37-07:00 September 16th, 2000|Chemical Engineering, Food & Drink, Issue II, Mechanical Engineering, Volume III|

From perfecting the coffee bean preparation process to creating the various machines used to brew the java, it has taken hundreds of years of scientific knowledge and engineering to bring the process of coffee making to the state it is in today. Creating new systems for roasting coffee beans requires that many chemical and mechanical [...]