Chemical Engineering Interview Questions
Chemical engineering is an exciting career choice and one in which qualified candidates are in high demand. The role of a chemical engineer involves taking materials and designing processes to change certain properties to give them another purpose. A wide range of industries relies on chemical engineers to produce new materials so a role in the sector can lead to many different opportunities.
Production using chemical engineering is right at the forefront of human development. In this multibillion-pound industry candidates will work in fast paced environments solving problems on a daily basis whether you are in a production environment or working behind the scenes in R & D.
Which Sectors Are Popular For Chemical Engineers
Chemical Engineers have skills and knowledge in many fields including chemistry, biological sciences, physics and maths. The role of the chemical engineer is common in a range of sectors which include oil and gas, energy, food and drink manufacture, toiletries, plastics, consumable goods and many more.
Currently, the industry is seeing growth and there a number of chemical engineering jobs available in the market. Once you have passed the job application stage it is time to face the dreaded interview stage but all you have to do is prepare yourself well to succeed.
Chemical Engineer Job Interview Format
Chemical engineering interviews will typically ask both technical and competency based questions, often fusing the two criteria into the same question.
You should expect a panel of two or more people with time to ask your questions at the end. Furthermore, if the role you are applying for involves added responsibility such as leadership and supervision then expect to be asked questions on competencies such as people management and motivation.
How Should You Prepare For Your Engineering Interview?
Before you get started interview preparation is vital. Prepare by analysing the Job Description, Job Advert and Person Specification to gain an understanding of the aspects of chemical engineering covered in the role.
Your next step should be to consider the types of behavioural question you could be asked for each aspect of the role. In competency based interviews past performance is the greatest tool for predicting future results so questions will be focussed along the lines of “Tell us about a time you have…..”. For each aspect of chemical engineering you have identified, it is worth preparing examples of when you have delivered relevant behaviours.
The best method for answering competency questions would be using the STAR model. With the STAR model, you would state first the Situation to provide context, describe the Task, which needed to be undertaken in order to progress, outline the Actions you took and finish off by tangibly describing the Results.
Tip – Sometimes you can demonstrate your knowledge of a technical question by providing a competency-based answer.
20 Technical Chemical Engineering Questions and Keywords
1. What is entropy?
Your answer should include these keywords: Disorderliness, Equilibrium.
2. What is an isochoric process?
Your answer should include these keywords: Thermodynamics, Constant Volume, Isovolumetric
3. List the advantages and disadvantages of a PFR.
Your answer should include these keywords: Operations, Costs, Conversion Rates, Temperatures
4. What is global warming?
Your answer should include these keywords: Temperatures, Surface Temperatures, Greenhouse Gases, Heat Radiation
5. What is carbon sequestration?
Your answer should include these keywords: Carbon Dioxide, Global Warming
6. How does a Spray Condenser work?
Your answer should include these keywords: Condensation, Water Vapour, Dew Point, Air
7. What is Viscosity?
Your answer should include these keywords: Fluid, Resistance, Stress
8. Describe pneumatic conveying?
Your answer should include these keywords: Movement, Solids, Gas, Carrying, Pressure Flow
9. How does a catalytic converter work?
Your answer should include these keywords: Harmful Compounds, Hydrocarbons, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxides, Conversion, Carbon Dioxide, Water
10. How does paint dry?
Your answer should include these keywords: Solvents, Evaporation, Solidifying
11. What is Quicklime?
Your answer should include these keywords: Calcium Oxide, Moisture, Absorb, Polyurethane
12. How should you extract hydrogen from water?
Your answer should include these keywords: Electrolysis, Palladium ‘Sponge’, Compounds
13. Describe additives and how they are used?
Your answer should include these keywords: Raw Materials, Added, Final Product, Enhancer, Detergents
14. Based on two pressure measurements how can you estimate gas flow?
Your answer should include these keywords: Weymouth Equation, Favourable And Unfavourable Operating Conditions
15. What are the implications of the minimum flow required by a pump?
Your answer should include these keywords: Shutoff, Work, Heat, Vaporisation, Damage
16. What problems are associated with large temperature differences in boilers?
Your answer should include these keywords: Heat Exchange, Vaporisation, Thermal Conduction, Film Boiling
17. Describe a Condensate lift.
Your answer should include these keywords: Pressure, Steam, Valve, PSI, Condensate Pump
18. Describe the characteristics of a good quality water cooling tower.
Your answer should include these keywords: PH 6-8, Chloride Content, Sulphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Maximum Temperature
19. What characteristics of bulk solids can affect their ability to flow properly?
Your answer should include these keywords: Moisture, Sticky, Temperature, Compacting
20. What compounds are responsible for the foul smells from wastewater plants?
Your answer should include these keywords: Hydrogen Sulphide, Methyl Mercaptan, Dimethyl Sulphide, Dimethyl Disulphide