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The Chemical Engineer Article Series: Tips and Insights

Genesis AEC’s Chief Process Engineer, Stephen Hall, PE, writes Rules of Thumb, a monthly column for The Chemical Engineer magazine.

With over 40 years of experience, Steve provides practical advice and guidance on a variety of topics related to chemical engineering.

Each Rules of Thumb article covers a specific topic, such as heat transfer, fluid flow, safety, or process design. The articles are typically short and to the point, and they provide easy-to-understand explanations of complex concepts. The column also includes practical tips and shortcuts that can help chemical engineers save time and improve their work.

Here are some of the topics that have been covered in Rules of Thumb:

  • Pressure drop due to friction
  • Flammable liquids: Open or closed systems?
  • Chromatography systems
  • Heat exchanger selection
  • Process safety
  • Scale-up of chemical processes
  • Design of distillation columns
  • Material selection for piping
  • Pump selection
  • Corrosion prevention

Rules of Thumb is a must-read for any chemical engineer who wants to stay ahead of the curve. The column is a valuable resource for information, advice, and guidance.


  1. Heat Transfer: The movement of thermal energy from one thing to another thing of different temperature. These objects could be separated by a solid wall or be in direct contact.
  2. Fluid Flow: The science of fluid (liquid and gas) movement. It’s essential in the design of pipelines, water supply networks, and fluid transport in processes such as oil refineries and chemical plants.
  3. Process Design: The design of processes for desired physical and/or chemical transformation of materials. It involves designing equipment, installing controls, scaling up production, and managing by-products and waste.
  4. Pressure Drop: A decrease in fluid pressure that occurs as the fluid moves through a pipe or conduit due to losses caused by friction.
  5. Chromatography Systems: A technique used for the separation of a mixture by passing it, in a stream of gas or liquid, through a system that separates the mixture into its individual components.
  6. Heat Exchanger: A device used to transfer heat between two or more fluids. They are used in both cooling and heating processes.
  7. Scale-up of Chemical Processes: The act of increasing the size of a chemical plant process from laboratory or pilot scale to an industrial level.
  8. Distillation Columns: An essential part of many industrial processes where mixtures need to be separated into their components.
  9. Corrosion Prevention: Techniques used to protect metal substances from the chemical action of environment substances that can lead to corrosion, a natural process that converts a refined metal into a more chemically stable form.

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