Volume 4                                                                                                                                                    Issue 1 April 2005


For many of us in MRC the past twelve months has been consumed by the nitty-gritty of CHEMCON. The result? Just one issue of this Newsletter in the last year. With the current issue we hope to be back to business as usual.

CHEMCON - 2004 was a spectacular event in every way. It set many records, including those for number of delegates and number of technical sessions. CHEMCON - 2004 was a trend setter too and there were many firsts. Hopefully the organisers of future CHEMCONS will opt to emulate our example. The most heartwarming feature of CHEMCON - 2004, however was the overwhelming response especially from the student community. A detailed report of the CHEMCON can be found inside this newsletter.

With CHEMCON - 2004 now behind us, it is time to look ahead. The 2005 season began for MRC with the annual Dr.R.B.Roy Chowdhury Memorial Lecture, delivered by Prof.Ashok Misra, Director, IIT - Bombay. A new students chapter was inaugurated last month at Bharati Vidyapeeth Engineering College, Navi Mumbai. With this, we have now six student chapters affiliated to MRC. The earlier practice of monthly lectures is being revived in right earnest from this month.

MRC members will recall that the term of the present Executive Committee was extended for a second year in view of CHEMCON. The revised constitution, that has come into effect from 1st Jan 2005, now requires us to constitute a new Executive Committee that assumes office from 1st July 2005. Notice inviting nominations can be found in this newsletter. I hope that members will come forward to serve the profession.




Exciting future of Chemisrty and Chemical Engineering

Chemistry & Chemical Engineering is central to providing materials, processes and products that support human needs. Chemical discoveries have raised standard of living throughout the world and defined modern life.

Favourable public perception enjoyed by Chemical Engineers as visionaries, innovative and result oriented has brought in excitement and challenges to this science in devising methods to manipulate molecules to create new substances like improved polymers for producing stronger, lighter and better materials for house-holds, industries and transport, super conductors for resistance free transmission of electricity, etc. Cleaner processes and reduction of waste is another focus area as environmental concerns are impacting almost all fields relating to chemistry / chemical engineering viz. chemical laboratories, manufacturing, storage of products/materials etc.

Many new developments in Chemical Engineering fields encompass other related areas like bio-technology, electronics, IT etc. Chemical Engineers should learn intricacies of the related fields and work in unison with biologists, physicists, electrical engineers & other professionals for producing cheaper and durable products like environmental friendly bio-degradable chemicals & substances, medicines, computer chips made from chemical components instead of silicon, artificial human organs etc. for the mankind.

Challenges are too many and demand for talent quite large. Teaching faculties should work on the chemical engineering curriculum and make it increasingly multi-disciplinary & integrated. Educators should propagate the excitement and rewards of Chemical Science & Engineering studies to attract and enroll more number of students in this field.

Mukesh Rohatgi

CHEMCON 2004 - A Report

CHEMCON 2004, the 57th annual congress of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers was held in Mumbai from Dec 27th to 30th 2004. The theme of the conference was ‘Chemical Engineering in a Global Environment’. The event was a success by any yardstick and had many firsts to its credit. The most conspicuous feature was the Indo-US Joint Meeting of IIChE and AIChE, which was held in conjunction with CHEMCON.

The conference was inaugurated by Mr. S Behuria, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. Delivering his inaugural address, Mr. Behuria spoke on the hydrocarbon scenario of India in the coming years. Dr. Tuhin Kumar Roy, a renowned chemical engineer and former President of IIChE was bestowed the Lifetime achievement award for his long and distinguished service to the Indian Chemical Industry and IIChE.

Mr. Nadir Godrej, Managing Director, Godrej Industries Ltd. delivered the CK Murthy memorial lecture and Prashanto Banerjee, chairman, GAIL the Kvaerner Powergas Prof. NR Kamath memorial lecture. The exhibition which was organised as a part of the conference, was inaugurated by Mr. S Balan, Chariman and Managing Director of Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers, Ltd

On December 28th, the second day of the conference, Mr. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of the Reliance group of industries delivered the Prof. H.L Roy memorial lecture. The significance of the day was that it is the birth anniversary of the late Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of the group. . The day was commemorated as Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial Day. Mr. Mukesh Ambani addressed a packed audience of over two thousand. Prof. M.M. Sharma, Emeritus Professor of eminence, MUICT delivered the maiden Dhirubhai Ambani oration.

On all four days of the conference, technical deliberations were conducted in nine parallel sessions leading to a total of 81 break out sessions. Over 460 papers and 180 posters were presented at the conference. The technical sessions covered the entire gamut of chemical engineering science and other allied areas. The technical sessions of the Indo-US Joint Meeting were jointly conducted by Indian and American co-chairs, which again was a novel feature of CHEMCON 2004

Over 1500 registered delegates attended the conference and a heartening aspect was the strong contribution of students to the technical content of the conference, both in oral presentations and in poster sessions. The floor management of some sessions was done completely by students.. A workshop was conducted as part of the conference in the Indo-American programme, where areas for collaborative research between Indian and American institutions and future trends in Chemical Engineering education and practice were identified. On the governmental level, the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and the National Science Foundation, USA participated and also provided financial grants for conducing the conference. In a major development, the AIChE agreed to partner as a co-organiser of future CHEMCONs once every four years.

In its support to Research and development of appropriate technology, a hand powered Reverse Osmosis drinking water device was exhibited at the conference.. The device can deliver up to 2 litres per minute of safe drinking water and could be of immense help to rural areas where power supply is very unreliable. When properly commercialised, this simple, rugged and low cost device could prove a boon to many villages of rural India beset with poor drinking water quality. The unit was funded by the Mumbai Regional Centre.

A very popular feature of CHEMCON 2004 was the "Job Mela", which provided a platform for student job-seekers and potential employers. This was a limited success but could become a regular feature of future congresses and will result in a stronger student participation.

The spouse programmes included a visit to the sites of Mumbai, a lecture-demonstration on Indian classical dancing by Dr. Kanak Rele and a ‘hands on’ workshop on the tribal art of Warli painting. On the evenings, delegates were treated to a rendition of Hindi film songs from the bygone era, Carnatic flute recital, classical dance performance, and a magic show performed by chemical engineering students.

For the first time ever the conference had a mascot, the animated "Dabba", symbolising the can do spirit of Mumbai. The mascot was used extensively in the conference signages and also presentations and brought light relief to the otherwise heavy proceedings. In the mascot naming competition, ‘Rely Khan’ , ‘HEXEX’ and ‘FANDU’ emerged as the wiiners. The winners were awarded copies of Perry’s Chemical Engineering Handbook.

The valedictory function, held on December 30th had Mr. MB Lal, Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Petroleum corporation Ltd. as the Chief Guest. All in all, CHEMCON - 2004 was a huge undertaking which was successfully and satisfyingly accomplished with good team work.

Dr. S. Ganeshan

Election of the Executive Committee for 2005-06

Nominations are invited for the Executive Committee for the year 2005-06. Nominations may be forwarded to the designated election officer, Mr.G.Sundaram in the prescribed format given below (photocopy can also be used) before 15th May 2005.



Toyo Engineering India Ltd.

Toyo House


Kanjurmarg (West)

Mumbai 400 078 (fax : 5596 7533)

Name of the Candidate : _____________________________________________

Membership No. : _____________________________________________

Address : _____________________________________________



Proposed By Seconded By

Name : ________________________ Name : __________________________

Membership No.:________________ Membership No. : _________________

Address : ______________________ Address : ________________________

_______________________ ________________________

_______________________ ________________________

Signature : _____________________ Signature : _______________________

Declaration by the candidate

I hereby agree to serve in the Executive Committee of the Mumbai Regional Centre of Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Signature :

Did you know?

John Glover is widely regarded as the first chemical engineer. In 1859 he designed the first mass transfer tower to absorb Nitric Oxide in the Lead Chamber process for the production of sulphuric acid, thereby saving the expensive sodium nitrate, which was being imported from Chile. The ‘Glover Tower’ became a standard equipment in sulphuric acid plants.

Website of the Month

This month’s website is the premier Internet portal for the pump industry. It has well designed tutorials on selection and trouble-shooting of centrifugal and positive displacement pumps. The site provides links to numerous pump and mechanical seal manufacturers. There are also chemical resistance charts to help in selecting proper material of construction for pumps.

Send your feedback on this and the Newsletter in general to Of course do keep visiting for the MRC news and for the news from the IIChE Headquarters.