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Powerful Potions

From beverages to biofuels, useful formulas often start in a lab. Turning them into high-quality products takes someone who understands both chemistry and manufacturing: a chemical engineer. Find out who dreamed up Starbucks' caramel cappuccino. Explore the controversy over oil-spill dispersants. Learn how a high school class neutralized snake venom and how a tattoo can help diabetics.

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Students in grades 4-12 conduct a simple experiment that demonstrates how a familiar chemical -- liquid soap -- can be used to break the surface tension of water and propel a toy boat. Older students move into further inquiry of chemical dispersants and their use in combating oil spills.

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A high school junior's keen interest in snakes leads to contact with university researchers and a chemistry project with life-saving possibilities.

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Spurred by concerns that American students lack the skills to compete in a global economy, lower schools nationwide are packing engineering lessons into already crowded schedules, giving priority to a subject that was once left to after-school clubs and summer camps.

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All the Right Elements

Out of the lab and into the world: Explore the eGFI Chemical Engineering card to learn more about this diverse field.

Did you know? Chemical engineers produce hypoallergenic makeup, products made from recycled plastic, lifesaving drugs, and flavored coffee.

Make a difference: They strive to ensure cleaner and healthier living, from cleaning up toxic spills to developing sustainable biofuels.

Where Do They Work? Environmental, health, and safety agencies employ chemical engineers. They're also engaged with pharmaceuticals, food, energy, and all sorts of manufacturing.


© 2010 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
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