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Profiles Of Scientists And Engineers: Chemical Engineer

7 minutes

(Describer) A young woman walks down a hall and puts on gloves.

(woman) The model predicted this would take 75 minutes at the large scale, right? What makes soap soap?

(Describer) Alone:

I takes a huge amount of people to launch a product and get that on the shelf.

(Describer) She walks past shelves of cleaning products. Title: Chemical Engineer Anita Kalathil. She sits in a meeting.

(Kalathil) I realized that being a chemical engineer didn't just mean chemistry or math. It meant creating things on so many different levels, for so many different kinds of products.

(male narrator) Chemical engineers like Anita combine the principles of chemistry and engineering to scale up the production of materials and consumer products. They work in teams with other engineers, designing and adapting production methods from the small scale in the lab to the large scale at the manufacturing plant. Everything that touches your life, a chemical engineer had to make it happen. Just knowing I could be part of that...

(narrator) Chemical engineers work in numerous fields: energy, pharmaceuticals, the environment, biotechnology, consumer products, and a lot more. It's taking a product and making it for everyone.

(narrator) Anita is a chemical engineer with Proctor & Gamble. I work in fabric care engineering on the liquids-making side.

(Describer) She works at a laptop.

I work on designing and putting in new equipment in the plant, or modifying old equipment to make new products. Somebody in the products research side or somebody that talks to consumers will have an idea.

(Describer) Bottles of fabric softener sit on the meeting table as Anita and colleagues smell fabrics.

(woman) What they love is for the product in the bottle to smell great. They also talked about when going to their laundry room, they love smelling that fresh scent, and pulling it from their dryer and smelling it. As we're investing more in the project, we want to make sure we're doing what the consumer wants.

(Describer) In a lab, glasses and gloves go on.

(narrator) Chemical engineers are instrumental early on in the process, especially during the research and development phase.

(Describer) Anita:

(Kalathil) You've made it in a beaker, but we need to make it into thousands of bottles we can get to consumers daily. So how do we scale that up?

(Describer) Watching a monitor...

With our computer modeling tools, what we've done, we're simulating the injection of this material into our product. We're showing that it's well mixed now. That's gonna be important for us making our design requirements, that we'll ensure success.

(Describer) The image is replicated in a beaker.

(man) We can see agitator's rotational movement drawing the fluid down, just like the model predicts. I can see it getting mixed. Right. We can see the strands are breaking up and being drawn down into the fluid. In minutes, we should see the material dissolve.

(Describer) She walks outside past a large building.

(narrator) When Anita's not meeting with R and D colleagues in Cincinnati, she's working at one of Proctor & Gamble's manufacturing sites.

(Describer) She walks around a factory.

Anita brainstorms with Lauren, another chemical engineer, planning the scale-up of a new product.

(Lauren) This tank is free.

(Describer) Lauren:

Probably have to do some changes inside. What kind of material properties does this have? We're thinking this will be thick material to inject back into our formulas. and it should be homogenous. Top mounted or side-mounted agitator? It looks like we want the top mounted one. It's how we avoid phase separation now.

(Describer) Alone, Lauren Skoog:

I picked chemical engineering because it's the most versatile. I can work in product supply, environment, the energy sector, or chemical production. I have so many options. You work all day and produce these things, but then you see it on the shelf, you're like, "See, I made that." My mom calls me, saying, "Did you make this? It's awesome." I'm like, "Yeah, I did."

(Describer) A woman approaches shelves of dish soap in a store. Anita:

(Kalathil) By day I'm a chemical engineer, but at home I like to do other things too. I've learned how to cook. I try different recipes out, sharing them with my friends. I like different types of art. I paint and draw. An exciting thing about my work is it's not just one project. They might be in different phases.

(Describer) In a meeting...

(woman) After several months of options analysis, we have gotten alignment from our GM on a base plan for this project.

[cheering, applauding]

(Describer) They applaud, and a couple guys high-five.

(narrator) As chemical engineers design their projects, they take into account consumer preferences, implementation costs, and especially plant safety.

(Describer) Back in the meeting, Anita:

We're working on a noise study. We measured the sound using the site's official decibel meter, because we wanted to get that recorded. We had it custom made for sound proofing.

We need noise cancellation. (man) I would research that.

(narrator) Chemical engineers also ensure their designs are environmentally sustainable.

(Kalathil) We're thinking the batch cycle time

(Describer) With Lauren:

is 75 minutes after unload.

(Skoog) We want to get that reduced as much as possible if they can.

(Describer) Alone:

Everything in life is about chemistry. We need to understand how to control it and make it clean, green, and efficient. Sustainability is a huge thing now.

(narrator) Chemical engineers typically have a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering. Some go on to receive a master's degree in Chemical Engineering. Being an engineer isn't just about math and science. You want to have a good basis in history and English and being able to communicate well. You have to think outside of the box. The most rewarding thing about being a chemical engineer is that you can see what you make.

(Describer) Anita consults with Lauren and watches the solution in the beaker.

Being creative is being an engineer.

(Describer) She sketches out in the sun.

(Describer) Titles: Produced by Post Modern Company for the National Science Foundation.

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Anita Kalathil shows some of the latest chemistry projects taking place at Proctor & Gamble and what her typical day is like inside and outside the lab. Find out what it’s like to be a chemical engineer.

Media Details

Runtime: 7 minutes

Profiles Of Scientists And Engineers
Episode 1
10 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Profiles Of Scientists And Engineers
Episode 2
6 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Profiles Of Scientists And Engineers
Episode 3
7 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Profiles Of Scientists And Engineers
Episode 4
6 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Profiles Of Scientists And Engineers
Episode 5
8 minutes
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Profiles Of Scientists And Engineers
Episode 6
6 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Profiles Of Scientists And Engineers
Episode 7
8 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Profiles Of Scientists And Engineers
Episode 8
7 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Profiles Of Scientists And Engineers
Episode 9
8 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Profiles Of Scientists And Engineers
Episode 10
7 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12