Chemical engineer

Chemical and Materials Engineers research, design and develop specifications of materials to create products or investigate chemical interactions. They may modify materials such as ceramics, chemicals, composites, metals, plastics and rubber to improve the performance of their intended use and increase cost-effectiveness. They may work in chemical plants, in the industrial processing of objects going through chemical change and in testing various materials to find new uses for them. They must understand the properties and behaviours of substances from raw materials to finished products.

Duties and tasks

  • Able to implement critical thinking in developing hypotheses, conducting experiments and altering experiments multiple times to achieve desired results
  • Design experiments to test the chemical process of mixing different components and their outcomes
  • Ensure that products comply with legal and quality standards and recommend procedures for inspections, maintenance and safety
  • Fabricate new designs to make products more efficient, safe and cost-effective according to the needs of the company
  • Monitor operations and industrial conditions as well as material reactions while in use
  • Operate at high level of alertness and safety at all times and identify when a chemical or material process or malfunction requires additional safety precautions
  • Strong knowledge of materials and chemical components and be able to identify the best materials and combinations for particular product uses

Skills required

  • Ability to Adhere to Strong Health and Safety Standards
  • Good Hand Eye Coordination and Manual Dexterity
  • Innovative and Strong Critical Thinking Skills
  • Scientific Knowledge
  • Strong Attention to Detail

Working conditions

Chemical and Materials Engineers work with a variety of materials and chemicals. They may work with potentially harmful substances or mixtures and must operate at high levels of safety and alertness. They typically work Monday through Friday and may work in commercial chemical plants, industrial processing factories, offices and experimental laboratories.

Professional associations / Industry information

Engineers Australia: Engineers Australia is the national forum for the advancement of engineering and the professional development of our members. 

National Engineering Registration Board: 

Related jobs and job titles

  • Chemist
  • Civil Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Materials Engineer
  • Metallurgist
  • Process Engineer

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