American Institute of Chemical Engineers

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The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) is a professional organization for chemical engineers.[1] The AIChE was established in 1908 with the purpose of establishing chemical engineers as a profession independent from chemists and mechanical engineers.

As of 2005, AIChE had approximately 40,000 members, including members from 93 countries worldwide.[2] Student chapters at various universities around the world have also been established. The student chapters tend to focus on providing networking opportunities in both academia and in industry as well as increasing student involvement locally and nationally.

AIChE's technical divisions and forums

Divisions and forums provide technical information, programming for AIChE’s technical meetings, and awards and recognition to outstanding chemical engineers in their area of expertise. They also provide opportunities for affiliation with top engineers in the general disciplines as well as in emerging fields like biotechnology and sustainability.

This is a list of the divisions and forums:

  • Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division (CRE)
  • Computational Molecular Science & Engineering Forum (CoMSEF)
  • Computing & Systems Technology Division (CAST)
  • Environmental Division (ENV)
  • Food, Pharmaceutical & Bioengineering Division (FP&BE)
  • Forest Products Division (FP)
  • Fuels & Petrochemicals Division (F&P)
  • Materials Engineering & Sciences Division (MESD)
  • Nanoscale Science Engineering Forum (NSEF)
  • North American Mixing Forum (NAMF)
  • Nuclear Engineering Division (NE)
  • Particle Technology Forum (PTF)
  • Process Development Division (PD)
  • Safety & Health Division (S&H)
  • Separations Division (SEP)
  • Sustainable Engineering Forum (SEF)
  • Transport and Energy Processes Division (TEP)

Membership grades

The AIChE has four grades of membership as listed below (ranging from the highest grade to the lowest grade):

  • Fellow
  • Senior Member
  • Member
  • Student member

The prerequisite qualifications for election to any of the membership grades are available in the AIChE Bylaws.[3]

Joint initiatives with industry, academia and others

As new technology is developed, there is a need for experts to collaborate to achieve common goals. The AIChE plays a major role through joint initiatives with industry, academia and others.

  • Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS):[4] CCPS is a non-profit, corporate membership organization within AIChE that addresses process safety within the chemical, pharmaceutical, and petroleum industries. It is a technological alliance of manufacturers, government agencies, consultants, academia and insurers dedicated to improving industrial process safety. CCPS has developed over 100 publications relevant to process safety.
  • Design Institute for Emergency Relief Systems (DIERS):[5] DIERS was formed in 1976 by a group of 29 companies that developed methods for the design of emergency relief systems to handle runaway reactions. Currently, 232 companies participate in the DIERS Users Group to cooperatively implement, maintain and improve the DIERS methodology for the design of emergency relief systems including reactive systems.
  • Design Institute for Physical Properties (DIPPR):[6][7] DIPPR collects, correlates and critically evaluates thermophysical and environmental property data. If needed property values are not found in the literature, they may be measured in DIPPR projects and subsequently added to the DIPPR databases. DIPPR disseminates their information in publications, computer programs and databases on diskettes and online.
  • Safety and Chemical Engineering Education Program (SACHE) :[8] The SAChE program, initiated in 1992, is an initiative between the CCPS and engineering universities to provide teaching materials about process safety for educating undergraduate and graduate students studying chemical and biochemical engineering. The materials can also be used for training in industrial settings. The SAChE leadership committee is composed of representatives from academia and industry as well as AIChE staff.
  • Institute for Sustainability (IFS):[9] The mission of IFS is assist professionals, academes, industries, and governmental entities contributing to the advancement of sustainability and sustainable development. The primary goal of the IFS is to promote the societal, economic, and environmental benefits of sustainable and green engineering.


  • Chemical Engineering Progress(CEP): Monthly magazine providing technical and professional information.
  • AIChE Journal: Peer-reviewed monthly journal covering groundbreaking research in chemical engineering and related fields.
  • Process Safety Progress: Quarterly publication covering process safety issues.
  • Environmental Progress: Quarterly publication covering environmental subjects and governmental environmental regulations.
  • Biotechnology Progress: Peer-reviewed journal published every two months and covering peer-reviewed research reports and reviews in the bioprocessing, biomedical, and biomolecular fields.

History of the formation of the AIChE

In 1905, The Chemical Engineer rounded out its first year of publication with an editorial by its founder and prominent engineer, Richard K. Meade, that propounded the question: "Why not the American Society of Chemical Engineers?" He went on to say: "The profession is now a recognized one and there are probably at least five hundred chemical engineers in this country".

The mechanical, civil, electrical and mining engineers in the United States of America each had already established a national society, so Meade's editorial was quite pertinent. But it took time for the idea to take root and Meade kept promoting it for the next two years. Finally, in 1907, he issued a call for a preliminary meeting to be held in Atlantic City in June, 1907. Some early leaders of the profession, Charles F. McKenna, William H. Walker, William Miller Booth, Samuel P. Sadtler and Thorn Smith along with about a dozen others answered Meade's call and met in Atlantic City on June 21, 1907. The meeting concluded with the formation of a an organizing committee of six members: Charles F. McKenna (chairman), Richard K. Meade, William M. Booth, J.C. Olsen, William H. Walker, and Arthur D. Little.

Shortly afterward, the organizing committee sent a letter in September 2008 to 600 men in the chemical profession in the United States and Canada asking for their opinions about forming a chemical engineering society. Two hundred replies were received and 70 to 80 percent were favorable. Many of the others believed the existing societies (especially the American Chemical Society) were sufficient and the did not favor forming a new society.

After careful consideration, the organizing committee decided to hold a larger, open meeting at the Hotel Belmont in New York at which those opposed to forming the new society could present their arguments and opinions. Accordingly, they invited fifty men prominent in the chemical profession (including men that opposed the forming of a new society) to meet on January 18, 1908. Twenty-one men attended the meeting and fourteen other expressed their views in letters. After much discussion, the meeting ended without reaching a definitive decision. However, it was agreed to have a mail vote (on whether or not to form a chemical engineering society) after a complete stenographic report of the meeting was printed and sent to the fifty men that had been invited to the meeting.

The mail vote resulted in thirty-six replies of which twenty-two were in the affirmative, six were negative and eight were neutral. Based on those voting results, the organizing committee of six called for a full-fledged organizational meeting to be held in Philadelphia on June 22, 2008. Meanwhile, the committee of six drafted a proposed constitution to be presented at that meeting. That meeting resulted in the official formation of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, adoption of a constitution and the election of Samuel P. Sadtler as the first president of the Institute. There were 40 charter members:

  • Acheson, E.G.
  • Adamson, G.P.
  • Allen, L.E.
  • Alexander, J.
  • Barton, G.E.
  • Bassett, W.H.
  • Bement, A.
  • Booth, W.M.
  • Brown, H. F.
  • Camp, J.M.

  • Catlin, C.A.
  • Dannerth, F.
  • Dow, Allan W.
  • Frerich, F.W.
  • Grosvenor, W.M.
  • Gudeman, E.
  • Haanel, E.
  • Heath, G. M.
  • Hollick, H.
  • Horn, D.W.

  • Hunicke, H.A.
  • Ingalls, W.R.
  • Kaufman, H.M.
  • Langmuir, A.C.
  • Mason, W.P.
  • McKenna, C.F.
  • Meade, R.K.
  • Miller, A.L.
  • Olney, Lewis A.
  • Olsen, J.C.

  • Reese, C.L.
  • Renaud, H.S.
  • Reuter, Ludwig
  • Robertson, A.
  • Sadtler, S.P.
  • Smith, Thorn
  • Trautwein, A.P.
  • Wesson, D.
  • Whitfield, J.E.
  • Weichmann, F.G.

( This section consists of excerpts from a historical pamphlet written for the Silver Anniversary of the AICHE in 1932 )[10]