This paper derives from an undergraduate course in chemical product design which we first taught in 1998/9 and are still in the process of developing. We are in the process of writing a text book to accompany such courses. We explain our approach to chemical product design and why the subject is important. The distinctive features of product design (particularly in contrast to process design, a more familiar topic for chemical engineers) are outlined in Section 1. The emphasis is on decisions which are required before chemical process design can be started. Our chemical product design course is a response to major changes in the chemical industry which have occurred in recent decades. These changes, described in Section 2, involve a move in the industry away from the manufacture of commodity chemicals and towards speciality chemicals and other high added value products. The former is well served by traditional process design, the latter benefits also from product design. Section 3 describes the product design procedure that we use. It is a simplification of procedures already used in business development and manufacturing engineering. Such a simplification clarifies the sequence of ideas involved and also forces us to consider in detail the technical questions implied in specific products. Our approach is aimed at those with training in engineering and chemistry, but may also be a beneficial challenge for those whose training is largely in business.
- Chemical products
- Product design