Engineering has been called applied science. The various disciplines of engineering focus on the design and construction of structures, machines, apparatus, or processes to solve problems. This requires an in-depth knowledge of the properties of materials and a broad knowledge of science and mathematics.
Although engineers use scientific principles in their designs, they must also consider economics and safety issues as well as efficiency, reliability, and ease of construction. In many cases, the best choice of materials for design may not be economically feasible and compromises must be made. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) lists 28 different areas of engineering in their 2012–13“CriteriaforAccreditingEngineeringPrograms.”These range from Chemical, Biochemical, Biomolecular Engineering, which use chemical principles on a daily basis, to Systems Engineering, which is typically not directly involved with chemical principles.
ROLE OF CHEMISTRY IN ENGINEERING
In between these two extremes are disciplines that require a basic knowledge of chemistry, materials science, and/or environmental science to fully understand the problems they are to solve. Even those areas of engineering that do not use chemical principles directly are involved with them indirectly because chemical principles dictate the properties and behaviourChemistry in engineering of materials, electrical systems, and electronic devices, as well as energy production and environmental impacts.
An engineer uses the macroscopic properties of materials such as the hardness, strength, malleability, or conductivity to determine the appropriate choice of materials for a specific project.
Many times, these macroscopic properties are experimentally measured. Chemistry is the study of the properties and behaviour of matter on the microscopic or the atomic/molecular scale. This description of matter on the microscopic scale lays the foundation for the underlying reasons for the properties and behaviour of materials observed on the macroscopic scale. By understanding the atomic and molecular forces that lead to the basic properties of materials, their macroscopic properties and their reactions to external stresses can be better understood and predicted.