The most natural career for a graduate in this Course of Studies is that of a Chemical or Materials Engineer.
Function in a workplace context:
The main functions of a Chemical and Materials Engineer are related to the ability to manage complexity, to formulate judgments on the basis of limited or incomplete information, to design and conduct analytical investigations, through the use of models and complex experiments, to critically evaluate the data obtained and draw conclusions; the ability to investigate the application of new technologies as solutions to complex and interdisciplinary problems.
Therefore, the Chemical and Materials Engineer can work in design studios and research and development laboratories, both public and private, covering the role of designer-researcher and, after having acquired the necessary experience, also as a manager.
The Chemical and Materials Engineer can perform the typical functions of both the chemical engineer and the materials engineer, which include the selection and design of processes and materials. However, the skills he possesses, spanning these two disciplines and accompanied by a particularly sound fundamental knowledge in physics and chemistry, make this figure particularly versatile and adaptable, and ensure that it is very much valued in industrial or research contexts characterized by a high degree of interdisciplinarity.
Skills associated with the function:
The skills of the Chemical and Materials Engineer are associated with the ability to engineer industrial products and processes, and with the capability to understand the complex relationship between synthesis and manufacturing processes, the consequent structure of materials from the atomic-molecular to the macroscale, and the final properties of the materials and products themselves. Particularly strong are the skills in the field of nanotechnologies and biotechnologies, as well as in technologies for sustainability (for example life cycle analysis, or the design of materials and processes with sustainability criteria or for sustainable technologies).
These skills harmoniously blend with those traditionally possessed by Materials Engineers and Chemical Engineers:
The skills of the Materials engineer are mainly associated with both scientific and technological knowledge of the most diverse materials: metals and metal alloys; other inorganic materials such as glasses, semiconductors and ceramic materials; natural and synthetic polymers; biological tissues. The Materials Engineer is able to study and understand the micro-nano-scopic properties of materials, and to relate them to their macroscopic behavior and functional and structural engineering properties. From this knowledge a specific competence emerges in the systematic and optimal selection of materials for specific applications, as well as the ability to design innovative materials required by specific applications – in line with the concept that advanced materials work as Key Enabling Technologies in European and global development strategies.
The skills of a Chemical Engineer can essentially be divided into two broad categories: Process and Principles. In the first case, the skills acquired are used for the optimization and control of already existing chemical plants or for the design of new plants. The various plants include the classic petrochemical plants, those relating to fine chemicals and all that vast range of plants dedicated to energy recovery and the treatment of polluted fluids and soils. In the second case, however, the skills acquired are used to study and model various physical phenomena (such as, for example heat, mass and energy transport) which can play a very important role in various technological and research devices such as, for example , biotechnological systems, pharmaceutical systems for the controlled release of drugs. In other words, the “Principles” chemical engineer devotes himself to the physical principles underlying the operation of many equipment / devices. Therefore, in general, the Chemical Process Engineer has a more “practical” cut while the “Principle” chemical engineer has a greater theoretical vocation.
Employment opportunities exist for many roles and tasks: in chemical, food, pharmaceutical and process industries; in companies that produce, transform, transport and conserve energy, substances and materials; in industrial laboratories; in technical structures of the public administration responsible for managing the environment and safety; inpublic and private research centers.