One can claim that chemical engineering was practiced even by the ancient Greeks and Romans when they were making soap or wine, or treating ores in Lavrion or Sicily.
- Nikolaos A. Peppas
Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that applies the physical sciences (e.g., chemistry and physics) and/or life sciences (e.g., biology, microbiology and biochemistry) together with mathematics and economics to processes that convert raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms. In addition, modern chemical engineers are also concerned with pioneering valuable materials and related techniques – which are often essential to related fields such as nanotechnology, fuel cells and biomedical engineering. Within chemical engineering, two broad subgroups include 1) design, manufacture, and operation of plants and machinery in industrial chemical and related processes ("chemical process engineers"); 2) development of new or adapted substances for products ranging from foods and beverages to cosmetics to cleaners to pharmaceutical ingredients, among many other products ("chemical product engineers").