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What is chemical engineering?
    The well known Encyclopaedia of Science and Technology (Mc-Graw-Hill, 1994) describes chemical engineering as "A branch of engineering dealing with designing and operation of plants of chemical, foodstuff and pharmaceutical industries, refineries of crude oil etc. In these industrial branches, chemical engineers work in the sectors of production, research, design, in development of processes and products, exploration of market, assembling of technical data, in sale departments, and almost always they can also be found in top management. Chemical engineering together with electrical engineering, civil engineering and mechanical engineering represent the four most fundamental engineering branches."
 
Brief history
    The Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Pardubice, was established in 1954, i.e. soon after establishing of the Institute of Chemical Technology (VŠCHT) Pardubice (1950). Its first head, Prof. RNDr. Antonín Pilař, who can rightfully be called founder and pioneer of chemical engineering in Pardubice, faced the problem of constituting a department, which relatively soon included further branches besides chemical engineering. It was necessary to take great pains to ensure teaching in the basic courses, as well as to provide teaching aids and laboratory rooms for education of students majoring in "Chemical engineering" (specialisation established in 1962): the first students majoring in it graduated in 1964.
Následující tabulka podává stručně chronologický přehled událostí a vedoucích kateder:
 
1954
Formation of Department of Chemical Engineering - section of chemical engineering and automation and mechanical engineering
Department head - Assoc. Prof. Antonín Pilař
1963 
The section of automation became independent. Formation of section of Physics of Explosion
Department head - Prof. Antonín Pilař
1966
 Department head - Prof. Jaroslav Pantoflíček
1973
The section of Physics of Explosion became independent department
1976
Department head - Prof. Zdeněk Lecjaks
1990
Department head - Assoc. Prof. Jiří Stejskal
1995 until now
Department head - Assoc. Prof. Zdeněk Palatý
 
Educational programs of Department
    The present educational program of Department of Chemical Engineering is realised in the first step of MSc studies for the students majoring later in "Chemistry and technological chemistry", and in the second step of MSc studies for those majoring in "Chemical engineering", "Environmental engineering" that are involved in the study program of "Chemistry and technological Chemistry".
The aim of the courses in the first step of MSc studies and BSc program "Chemical and process engineering" - section "Control of chemical processes" is to acquaint the students with theoretical principles of processes and operations forming the elements of manufacturing processes in chemical technology. The main emphasis is put on good mastering of balance calculations, hydrodynamic operations, heat exchange operations, and diffusion operations.
In the second step of MSc studies for the students majoring in "Chemical engineering", the students become acquainted with reactor engineering, heat flow and transmission, diffusion processes, system engineering, bioengineering, and membrane processes. The students in this study program are trained to be able to precisely identify the nature of individual processes, to carry out engineering analysis and synthesis of whole process systems, and to master the methods enabling effective transfer of individual operations from laboratory scale to industrial scale.
The specialisation "Environmental engineering" represents a synthesis of "Chemical engineering" and "Protection of environment" (the latter program is guaranteed by Institute of Environmental Protection, University of Pardubice). Majoring in this specialisation, the students have the possibility to become acquainted with the fundamental subjects "Chemical engineering" and others oriented to creation and protection of the environment.
The graduates that had majored in both these specialisations have the advantage in looking for a job, because their education is not connected with any particular technology, it is versatile. By their specialisation, these experts represent an important linking element between the activities of a chemist, a chemical technologist, a chemical mechanical engineer, and an economist in control of production, choice of the optimum way of manufacturing, preparation of new technologies, and the creation and protection of the environment.
            In the context of research program of Department, we have also included a more detailed treatment of membrane separation processes into education in the accredited specialisations. These represent modern and promising separation procedures, whose indisputable advantage is low energy consumption following from the fact that the separations are not connected with phase changes. The basics of some membrane processes (particularly pressure processes) are taught as early as in the first step of MSc study programs in "Chemistry and technological chemistry" and "Evaluation and analysis of foodstuffs" at the Faculty of Chemical Technology.
      The course in "Membrane processes" (in the extent of four hours a week) is also presented to the students of the second step of MSc studies majoring in "Chemical engineering" and "Environmental engineering"; however, also students majoring in other specialisations can take it. The course covers the principles, the physical and physico-chemical theoretical basics and mathematical models, the preparation and properties of membranes, description of membrane separation elements and whole apparatuses. Attention is also given to applications of membranes in chemical, foodstuff and pharmaceutical industries, biotechnologies, and technical aspect of creation and protection of the environment.
            In the course "Bioengineering", the students majoring in the above-mentioned specialisation become acquainted with special membrane processes used in biotechnologies, and with functions, designs and calculation of membrane bioreactors.
            The courses in theoretical disciplines are complemented by laboratory training and elaboration of diploma assignment, where the students become acquainted with a number of membrane units of high technical standard.
            The teaching in the accredited study programs is realised by the Department's pedagogical staff members comprising two full professors, two associate professors, and four assistant professors. In its short history, the Department has provided education for more than 400 graduates in majoring in "Chemical engineering" and "Environmental engineering".
 
Scientific-research activities of Department
The scientific-research orientation of Department was changing during its development depending on its personnel and way of control of scientific research. Much attention was paid to problems of stirring, pressure drop during flow of fluids, absorption, intensification of heat exchange, mixing of liquids, and flow of non-Newtonian liquids. At present, the Department's scientific focus involves two main areas:
  1. Research on membrane separation processes
  2. Study of flow of non-Newtonian liquids through layers of particles
            The Department's team has been dealing with studies of membrane processes since 1983. The first phase of research was directed to testing of membranes for micro- and ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis and diffusion dialysis, and description of mechanisms of pressure membrane processes and diffusion dialysis. In cooperation with Slovak Technical University Bratislava and universities at Torun and Wroclaw (Poland), the Department's workplace obtained a grant from European Community for three years beginning from academic year 1992/1993 designed for development of membrane processes in countries of Middle and Eastern Europe. Another six universities from EC countries also participate in this project. By obtaining a grant from the TEMPUS program and other four grants from the Czech Grant Agency, and by involvement of the Department in research project "New promising chemical materials and technological processes" of Faculty of Chemical Technology, the University of Pardubice, the team of Department has made good use of their more than ten-year activities: at present, this team is the most coherent one among those dealing with problems of membrane processes in the Czech Republic.
            At the beginning of 2003 an agreement was entered into by MEGA PLS, Stráž pod Ralskem, and the University of Pardubice: it concerned establishing of Joint Laboratory of Membrane Processes of MEGA PLS and the University of Pardubice. Its aim is to ensure better availability and exploitation of unique instruments and apparatuses and improve contacts between Academe and Industry. It can be presumed that this step has created better conditions for further development of membrane processes in this country.
            The present program of experimental studies of flow of non-Newtonian liquids through layers of particles forms a continuation to the activities in this field (almost traditional for the Department) realised earlier. The aim of these studies, at present realised within a project sponsored by the Czech Grant Agency and a Barrande project, is to determine effects of properties of system (above all the rheological properties of the liquid) upon the basic engineering characteristics of flow of liquids through layers of particles. The results are exploited for verification of theoretical models of flow and for formulation of predictive equations of the flow characteristics, such as pressure drop, threshold velocity of fluidisation, expansion of fluidised bed, fall velocity of particle, and rate of sedimentation of sets of particles. The fact that the Department has at its disposal the rotational rheometer enables also useful cooperation with the institute SYNPO Pardubice in the field of rheometry of coating compositions, and with Paramo Pardubice in the field of rheometry of asphalts.
      In connection with the scientific-research activities of the Department it should be mentioned that there exists cooperation with a number of research institutions and factories, such as: BIOTECH PLC Prague, EiIDOS Ltd. Zlín, EKOL Ltd. Ledeč nad Sázavou, GREEN-TECH PLC Valašské Meziříčí, MEGA PLC Stráž pod Ralskem, MIKROPUR PLC Hradec Králové, OSTAKOLOR PLC Pardubice, PARAMO PLC Pardubice, SYNPO PLC Pardubice, VÚOS PLC Pardubice-Rybitví, W.P.E. PLC Prague, SYNTHESIA PLC Pardubice. This cooperation makes it possible not only to better learn the needs and problems of Industry but also to obtain necessary financial means.
          
Areas in which the graduates can find jobs
    The graduates that had majored in "Chemical engineering" and "Environmental engineering" can find jobs in a wide variety of fields because they are prepared to deal with problems of apparatuses and processes in various technologies, both in development and designing of such plants and in optimisation of existing equipment and processes. The knowledge acquired by studying the engineering disciplines combined with basics of chemistry and mathematics can also form a good starting point for managerial work in significant firms. A number of graduates also work in design offices and business organisations. Moreover, the graduates from the interdisciplinary "Environmental engineering" can find jobs in the area of activities aimed at making the chemical processes and production more environmentally friendly.