An Intro to Chemical and Materials

Kia Ora!

I’m Cassie from part 2 chemical and materials 2022 and welcome to my blog. Bit about me: I studied physics for a year before switching to engineering when I looked at jobs for physicists (they’re bad). I wasn’t sure what spec I wanted to do until sem 2 when I discovered I quite liked chemmat121. It was quite a shock for me because I absolutely hated chem in high school. Outside of studies, I work as a math tutor at Number’Works’n’Words, primarily teaching younger kids. I also enjoy crochet and other crafts, as well as baking and gardening.

So what do we actually do in chemmat? There’s a lot more to it than what you do in chemmat121. In sem 1 we did quite a bit more on steel and fracture mechanics (chemmat 204), basic-ish chemistry (similar to high school chem), and industrial chemical processes. There are a lot of mass and energy balances which I quite like, but that seems to be an unpopular opinion. If you’re not too thrilled about math and coding I would highly recommend chemmat. We get to do some cool labs (if we’re not online), like making conductive polymers, which also means a lot of lab reports. I’ve really been enjoying the chemmat course, and seeing what the other specs are doing I know I made the right choice for me. I’ll go into more about what each course is like another time, but if you like chemistry and didn’t like enggen121 chemmat might be for you.

Okay, but what do chemical engineers actually do? Currently, I’m applying for internships, so I hope I know. One of the benefits of chemmat is you have heaps of industries to choose from. Energy, water, food production, breweries, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, the ethically questionable oil and gas, this list goes on. We also have the materials side of things which opens you up to way more fields. If you like product design that’s an option. There’s also the process engineering option; that’s what I think I want to do. They work on things like the industrial process to make milk powder, sugar, drugs, water treatment, anything you can think of.

Last year I started thinking about what spec to choose around week 7 of sem 2. It wasn’t too tricky for me to pick chemmat; it’s what I’m good at and enjoy. I think that’s the best way to pick, don’t get stuck on what you thought you wanted to do at the start of the year. I thought I wanted to do biomed, I never even considered software which was my second choice.


Let me know if you have any questions or requests for future posts! Here’s my linked in.

– Cassie

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