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Process Systems Modelling
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

As a chemical engineer it is useful to to model desired engineering systems, to predict performance and outputs of engineering systems on a large scale. I already have core knowledge of engineering principles and have gained some experience working on modelling software such as Aspen Plus and Hysys. During my PhD, I also learnt how to build application programming interfaces (APIs) using Python language as I believed it would be a useful skill for my future career. However, if I could become competent in building APIs and develop more accurate modelling solutions, it would enable me to translate my existing understanding of how chemical processes work on a small scale and add more worth. I can generate useful simulations predicting how systems would behave in industry if it were to be up-scaled.

How did you find your placement/internship?

LinkedIn contact

Application process

I emailed the contact I got through my LinkedIn contact and she arranged a web meeting with me. I expressed my interest in shadowing someone in their company. As a University of Sheffield student I was lucky as I was told the company has an academic partnership with the University and would be able to visit the company and enrol onto a training program the company carries out for its new recruits. We had quite an informal chat and I was asked a few general questions as to why I was interested in GProms in particular and why it would benefit me. As I was already doing a PhD and have a chemical engineering background, the company seemed to encourage students pursuing a doctoral degree to use GProms as they were looking to recruit new graduates in the future. A week later, I was sent an invitation to their training programme via email, which I gladly accepted.

What made you choose this organisation for your placement/internship?

I am aware that this company has developed a user friendly simulation software which requires very minimal coding knowledge to learn and use. At this point in my career I thought it would be an added benefit as most industries have started using GProms to model their systems for behaviour prediction.

Main responsibilities

The main activity involved use of their software to enable me to model desired engineering systems, to predict performance and outputs of engineering systems on a large scale. Modelling tools including linear coding were taught to help predict scale up of stirred tank reactions and continuous plug flow systems. it was interesting to learn that the effects ignored during such synthesis on small scale have a significant impact on purity, yield and amount of waste produced when the same synthesis is scaled up. I had to (i) manage my team as team leader for the group on allocated day of the week, (ii) ensure to complete the project of the day as a group, (iii) be accountable, (iv) manage my own work and time, (v) work and communicate with other engineers and (vi) learn tools to come up with creative and innovative solutions bearing industrial progress in mind.

Typical day

We start at 9 am. We select team leader for the day. The course leader then introduced the feature of the software we were going to be working with for that day and we all individually work through some examples. After 12 pm we break for a half hour lunch break after which the project of the day implementing the feature of the software learnt in the morning is introduced. We then get given the assignment file and team leaders choose how to split the tasks. Once the tasks are completed by the individuals we import and merge the solution folder and present our output report and explain the procedure of our simulation. Each day a different person led the team. The team leader had to collate the assignments and ensure the project of the day is completed on time by 5pm. The team leader then had to lead the pitch with assistance from team members if needed to present the simulation output of the day and justify the outputs presented.

Form completed: 12 Sep 2019

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