I will be upfront -- I am not a Chemist, nor do I have much experience beyond high school Chemistry.

I have always had a vested interest in chemistry, but my engineers brain has always left me wondering -- Where do I start if I want to design a new chemical with certain properties? I have attempted to research via Google, but to no avail.

Like I mentioned above, I am very mechanically minded, and to design say a transmission is simple enough - just select what type of gear(s) (..or design your own) put them all together, and BAM! You've got a transmission! Chemicals...could possibly kill you if you screw up...

I have a strong feeling that this question is a field of study in and of itself, so I do appreciate any answers.

Thank you!


closed as unclear what you're asking by Tyberius, NotEvans., andselisk, airhuff, Jon Custer Oct 14 '17 at 19:13

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  • $\begingroup$ This depends heavily on what field of chemistry you are in. I am in organic chemistry and in particular total synthesis. So what I have to do is select the compound and then plan a synthesis route that usually has a lot of already known synthetic steps to it. Then you try if the planned route works and on the way change a few things if it doesn't. In our lab total syntheses usually takes two to three people more than three years, because our molecules are quite large polyketides. $\endgroup$ – basseur Oct 14 '17 at 17:31
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for your comment. I am from stack overflow, and while I don't know if it is normally like this, the Chemistry Stack exchange seems quite quiet. $\endgroup$ – user43850 Oct 14 '17 at 17:33
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    $\begingroup$ I haven't been here long and I know what you mean. I don't believe, there are too many active people here. I can mainly compare it to tex.SX. There are a lot of bad questions here, too. Loads of new accounts just copy-pasting their homework without any own input and people not selecting answers. Quite tedious if you ask me. However, this is off topic, so... yeah. ;) $\endgroup$ – basseur Oct 14 '17 at 18:26
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    $\begingroup$ You specifically mean a process in chemical engineering? There's software like Aspen which is helpful in this. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Oct 14 '17 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ One thing to note is that "traditional" chemical engineering is synonymous with process engineering. In these roles, it's all about efficiently making a certain product at industrial scales and does not involve designing new chemicals. Engineering new chemicals is really the job of research scientists (both those with chemistry and chemical engineering backgrounds). How one goes about this depends on the field. For instance, one can do high-throughput computational screening of experimentally synthesized materials to find promising candidates for a given application to later test. $\endgroup$ – Argon Oct 15 '17 at 6:04