A reader left a comment yesterday about careers in polymer engineering. Not really sure of what a polymer engineer is I did some digging and found the following at Penn State’s Department Of Chemical Engineering. Perhaps someone in the field might offer an article more specific to the job opportunities in the field.
WHAT DO POLYMER ENGINEERS DO?
Polymers are the most rapidly growing sector of the materials industry. As long ago as 1981, polymer production exceeded 24 million metric tons per year. No wonder–polymers are found in everything from compact discs to high-tech aerospace applications. As polymer production has grown, so has the number of people who work in this field. Today, it’s estimated that 50 percent of the chemical engineers and chemists in the United States work in the polymer industry.
Polymer engineers need to apply the traditional skills of chemical engineers, such as plant design, process design, thermodynamics, and transport phenomena, to various problems involving the production and use of polymers. Many of the engineers currently working in industry trying to solve thes problems have background in either chemical engineering or polymers. The Polymer Engineering Option in Chemical Engineering is designed to produce engineers with both sets of skills.
More than half the chemical engineers in the world work with polymers in one form or another. As a graduate of the Polymer Engineering option, your knowledge of polymers can give you an advantage when competing for chemical engineering jobs including:
- Process engineering in polymer-producing chemical companies
- Process engineering in polymer processing or fabrication
- Scale-up of new synthetic chemistry from laboratory development to pilot plant and large-scale production
- Research and product development in polymer synthesis (current hot topics include biodegradable polymers and compatibilizers for recycling polymers)
- Research and process development in polymer processing
- Learn the fundamentals of polymer technology from the basics of polymer chemistry, structure, synthesis, and processing to more advanced topics, including structure-property relationships and end-use polymer design
- Learn about polymer mechanical properties, the applications of polymeric materials, and how to choose the correct polymer for a particular application
- Learn about polymer rheology and processing–where transport phenomena enter into the polymer field
- Prepare for internships with polymer companies that have strong ties to the Polymer Science and Engineering program and the Department of Chemical Engineering
- Receive highly personalized instruction in courses with low student to faculty ratios
- Participate in the activities of the Polymer Science Club