Cooperative Education Opportunities in Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineers create and design products and improve processes that affect our everyday life. Always considered to be one of the most diverse fields of engineering, the Chemical Engineering field includes plastics, environmental engineering, food processing, specialty chemicals, and petroleum. Chemical engineering students work in many areas of the field from testing, designing and producing consumer goods and the emerging biotechnology industry. Read below to discover the opportunities that exist for you in:

  • Polymer and Plastics Engineering
  • Oil Refineries
  • Bioremediation and Laboratory Research Settings
  • Food Industries and Consumer Products

Polymer/Plastics Engineering

The polymer and plastics industry is in the midst of unprecedented growth. Chemical Engineering co-op students usually work in laboratory settings to develop durable, high performance polymers. Chemical Engineers who work in Polymers and Plastics may learn the following laboratory skills:

  • Extruder Compounding
  • Injection Molding
  • Tensile testing
  • Spectroscopic Techniques

Major Accomplishments:

  • Ensured safe disposal of hazardous waste in the production of new materials
  • Studied the feasibility of strengthening Nylon 6 with small amounts of organic clay
  • Blended and tested polymer materials, molded and tested samples, and reported results
  • Performed mechanical property and analytical testing clay/polymer composites

Oil Refineries

Chemical Engineers may learn the following skills in an oil refinery:

  • Knowledge of a process units such as a catalytic dewaxing unit
  • Experience with commercial scale equipment such as pumps, compressors, heat exchangers, field heaters

Major Accomplishments:

  • Supplied technical support for both a catalytic dewaxing unit and a catalytic reforming unit
  • Performed vessel and heater inspections
  • Maintained and distribute daily process data
  • Compiled process data for HAZOP and TCPA reviews

Bioremediation and Laboratory Settings

Chemical Engineering co-op students can work in research and development settings to improve existing chemical processes or to create new ones. One area of chemical laboratory research the Stevens co-op students are particularly active in is bioremediation. Chemical Engineers may learn the following skills while working in bioremediation:

  • Laboratory Skills: Toluene Distillation, Filtration, Biological cultures
  • Testing Equipment: Reactor, Porometer, Goniometer

Major Accomplishments:

  • Designed and operated physical and biological treatment experiments of contaminated soil
  • Extracted and inoculated bacteria from soil
  • Analyzed experimental data for weekly and monthly reports

Food Industries & Consumer Products

Chemical Engineering students who work in food industries and consumer product corporations develop and test a variety of products that we use in our everyday lives. Other students assist engineers in scale up procedures so that a product can be produced in bulk. Chemical Engineering co-ops in food industries and consumer product corporations may learn the following:

  • Titrators
  • Mojonnier Method and Soxlet Method of fat extraction
  • Melvern Particle tester
  • Asceptic processing and pasteurization
  • Testing of viscosity and rheometry

Major Accomplishments:

  • Operated an image analyzer for particle analysis for factorial experiments
  • Upgraded weekly aging readings (viscosity & pH) for stability studies
  • Tested food samples for moisture content and performed sugar analyses using HPLC
  • Investigated and tested separation units to develop a process to improve the quality of ready to eat products