Acquaint Yourself with the What and How to Prepare for GATE Chemical Engineering

gate for chemical engineering

Are you allured with the thought of doing Masters in Engineering from a prestigious college? Or are you dreaming of a Government job in a renowned PSU after Bachelors in Engineering? Then, definitely GATE is the launch pad, from where you can give your career a perfect takeoff. The examination in itself carries a reputation which is unmatchable with any other Engineering Exam in our country. Now students who are pursuing Chemical Engineering might feel that they have fewer career options available to them as compared to those of other engineering branches. A fact which can fascinate you is that Chemical Engineering is one of the highest-paid Engineering fields and a perfect Chemical Engineering GATE score may help you land in a highly paid job. Let us dive into the details of the examination and sure shot tips for those pursuing their Bachelors in Chemical Engineering and aiming to clear GATE Chemical Engineering Exam.

What will we Explore in the following article?

  • What is the GATE Examination?
  • Eligibility Criteria and Pattern of the Examination
  • Syllabus of the Examination and Books to refer
  • Study Plan and Strategies to clear GATE

What is the GATE Examination?

The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering is an exam which checks an individual’s comprehensive understanding of various subjects in Engineering and Science for admission in Colleges offering a Masters degree in Engineering. The GATE score is also an eligibility criteria for hiring in Public Sector Companies. The Examination is administered by the Indian Institute of Technology. Let us update ourselves with the facts about the GATE Examination.

  • Year in which GATE was launched: 1983
  • Purpose of Examination: Admissions for Post Engineering Courses and Entry level jobs in Public Sector Units
  • Administered by: Indian Institute of Technology and IISc
  • Score card is valid for: 3 Years
  • Language in which the exam is conducted: English
  • Test Medium: Online
  • Duration of Examination: 3 hours
  • Conducted every year usually in first or second week of February

An interesting fact is that GATE is recognised in some of the Universities abroad like the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Eligibility Criteria For Appearing in GATE and Exam Pattern

Those in the third year of Bachelors in Chemical Engineering and those who have qualified chemical engineering are eligible to take up the exam.

Examination Pattern of GATE for Chemical Engineering Students

The GATE 2021 Chemical engineering paper will contain two types of questions

● Multiple Choice Questions carrying 1 and 2 marks, each having choice of four answers

● Numerical Ability Type (NAT) questions for which the answers have to be entered by using the virtual keyboard in the monitor.

Marking Scheme

Students can find below the marking scheme

● The General Aptitude part will carry a total of 15 marks. There will be a total of 5 questions carrying 1 mark each and 5 questions carrying 2 marks each.

● The Chemical Engineering part will contain 25 questions carrying 1 mark each and questions carrying 2 marks each.

Chemical Engineering GATE Syllabus

Section 1: Engineering Mathematics

Engineering Mathematics is a branch of applied mathematics concerning mathematical methods and techniques that are typically used in engineering and industry. This section carries 15% weightage of questions. It is one of the important sections of the GATE syllabus

  • Linear Algebra
  • Calculus
  • Differential equations
  • Complex variables
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Numerical Methods

Section 2: Process Calculations and Thermodynamics

  • Steady and unsteady state mass and energy balances including multiphase, multicomponent, reacting and non-reacting systems. Use of tie components; recycle, bypass and purge calculations; Gibbs phase rule and degree of freedom analysis.
  • First and Second laws of thermodynamics. Applications of first law to close and open systems. Second law and Entropy.
  • Thermodynamic properties of pure substances: Equation of State and residual properties, properties of mixtures: partial molar properties, fugacity, excess properties and activity coefficients; phase equilibria: predicting VLE of systems; chemical reaction equilibrium.

Section 3: Fluid Mechanics and Mechanical Operations

  • Fluid statics, Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids, shell-balances including a differential form of Bernoulli equation and energy balance, Macroscopic friction factors, dimensional analysis and similitude, flow through pipeline systems, flow meters, pumps and compressors, elementary boundary layer theory, flow past immersed bodies including packed and fluidized beds, Turbulent flow: fluctuating velocity, universal velocity profile and pressure drop.
  • Particle size and shape, particle size distribution, size reduction and classification of solid particles; free and hindered settling; centrifuge and cyclones; thickening and classification, filtration, agitation and mixing; conveying of solids.

Section 4: Heat Transfer

  • Steady and unsteady heat conduction, convection and radiation, thermal boundary layer and heat transfer coefficients, boiling, condensation and evaporation; types of heat exchangers and evaporators and their process calculations.
  • Design of double pipe, shell and tube heat exchangers, and single and multiple effect evaporators. 

Section 5: Mass Transfer

  • Fick’s laws, molecular diffusion in fluids, mass transfer coefficients, film, penetration and surface renewal theories; momentum, heat and mass transfer analogies; stage-wise and continuous contacting and stage efficiencies
  • HTU & NTU concepts; design and operation of equipment for distillation, absorption, leaching, liquid-liquid extraction, drying, humidification, dehumidification and adsorption.

Section 6: Chemical Reaction Engineering

  • Theories of reaction rates; kinetics of homogeneous reactions, interpretation of kinetic data, single and multiple reactions in ideal reactors, non-ideal reactors; residence time distribution, single parameter model; non-isothermal reactors; kinetics of heterogeneous catalytic reactions; diffusion effects in catalysis.

Section 7: Instrumentation and Process Control

  • Measurement of process variables; sensors, transducers and their dynamics, process modeling and linearization, transfer functions and dynamic responses of various systems, systems with inverse response, process reaction curve, controller modes (P, PI, and PID); control valves; analysis of closed loop systems including stability, frequency response, controller tuning, cascade and feedforward control.

Section 8: Plant Design and Economics

  • Principles of process economics and cost estimation including depreciation and total annualized cost, cost indices, rate of return, payback period, discounted cash flow, optimization in process design and sizing of chemical engineering equipment such as compressors, heat exchangers, multistage contactors.

Section 9: Chemical Technology

  • Inorganic chemical industries (sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, chlor-alkali industry), fertilizers (Ammonia, Urea, SSP and TSP); natural products industries (Pulp and Paper, Sugar, Oil, and Fats); petroleum refining and petrochemicals; polymerization industries (polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC and polyester synthetic fibers)

Reference Books for GATE Chemical Engineering

Chemical Reaction Engg – Scott Foggler

Mass Transfer – McCabe Smith

Process Dynamics and Control – George stephanopoulos

Heat Transfer – J.P.Holman

Thermodynamics – P.K.Nag and J.M.Smith

Fluid Mechanics – Yunus Cengel

Mechanical Operation – McCabe Smith

Process Calculation – Himmelblau

Process Design and Economics – Timmerhaus

Chemical Technology – The Gate Coach Handouts

Mathematics – H.K.Das

Top Preparation Tips and Strategies for Chemical Engineers to crack GATE Examination

Go through the Syllabus thoroughly (Again and Again) 

This should always be the first step when you are appearing for any exam. This prior step is important because 

  • You understand which topic is important and needs to be covered first.
  • You do not miss out on topics if you go through the syllabus repeatedly.
  • You gain confidence when you see that a significant part of your syllabus is covered.

Make a Study Plan

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” ~ Antoine de Saint

You wish to qualify the exam with a good score, a study plan is a prerequisite. Realistic planning can help you study in an organised manner without getting distracted and unmotivated. Lay out your plan in such a way that you cover your syllabus in a smart yet efficient way. By setting a plan you will give your studies a direction. Some tips of making an executable plan are 

  1. Just turn over the topics of the core subjects to distinguish easy and difficult topics.
  2. Dedicate realistic time periods to cover the topics.
  3. Use different colours to highlight topics which you have covered, which need multiple revisions, which are easy, which require more effort and in which you have maximum number of doubts. By doing this you won’t miss out anything.
  4. You must acquaint yourself with the study material and remain consistent in following the material.

Gather your Study Resources Wisely

Do proper research before buying books and study material for this subject as the syllabus is vast and requires deep understanding. Stick to the material you have arranged for yourself, do not get tempted to buy more and more books or notes. Studying from different sources would not work, studying from limited sources multiple times would give better results. You can also understand the basics by watching online videos. There are several academic applications which offer notes and questionnaires, research for the one which is the best and stick to it. Some GATE coaching centres are also famous for their notes, you can opt for one of the best and follow their study material strategically.

Sample Papers and Past Year Papers are a must to solve

The age old advice of solving past year papers and sample papers need to be followed, be it any competitive exam. Solving them would give the candidate an insight into 

  1. The pattern of the examination.
  2. Difficulty level of the questions from different topics.
  3. Time management required to score good without missing out on questions.
  4. Weightage of marks allotted to each topic.
  5. Frequently asked question types.

Do Not Pile Up your Doubts

If you have  a doubt in a particular subject, clear it on a prior basis. Ignoring it may lead to piling up your doubts. Once you have a subject full of doubts, you would ultimately lose interest in it. Keep clearing your doubts with teachers and friends for a better understanding of the subject so that you don’t end up mugging concepts.

Consistency is the Key

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” ~ Dwayne Johnson

If you have prepared a topic and formed an opinion that it wouldn’t require further attention then you are making one of the biggest blunders in your preparation. Being consistent with your subjects and revising them again again will give you the confidence to score good. You will lay a strong foundation of the subject and automatically develop interest. This would help you score good.

Try and inter relate subjects for a better Understanding

The core subjects of Chemical Engineering are related to one another. Try to find the link and strengthen your concepts in a way which leads to better understanding of the subjects. The Chemical Processes have its relation to Transport Phenomena and thermodynamics. If you are understanding the process you will be able to understand how they are related and you would find an interest in this field as a whole.

Make Notes

Making short notes has its significance in the long run. You save a lot of time when you are revising if you have maintained short notes. These notes are efficient when you have covered formulas, important laws and concepts. Making flowcharts also makes revision less time consuming. There are many GATE coaching institutes which provide notes which you can refer to.

Watch Videos for a better Understanding

With enhanced technology and easy access to the internet has made studies a lot more interesting. Explore for a good video channel with experts giving form to basic concepts of this complicated field of engineering. Do not get trapped in several resources, just find yourself limited sources so that you can consistently watch them without getting confused. 

Keep yourself Entertained

Everybody knows that Chemical Engineering requires a lot of hard work. So taking entertainment breaks can prevent you from getting exhausted and will help you in maintaining interest in the subject. You should watch movies, listen to music, go out with friends and keep yourself entertained.

The Power of Group Study

Having a study circle can give your preparation a boost it requires. You get to know the best materials to refer. You clear your doubts with one another. You may get an idea of the competition on a miniature scale and the best part is that you keep motivating each other.

Staying Fit and Motivated

Staying fit is the key to a healthy body and brain. Exercising daily and having a refreshing diet increases the efficiency of the brain, enhances memory power and keeps you motivated.

Seek Career Counselling

Since Chemical Engineering offers numerous career options you can ease the process by seeking career counselling for engineering. You will get to know whether you should use your GATE score to take admission for post-graduation in the field or for entry-level jobs in Public Sector Units. Through efficient career guidance in engineering (Chemical), you will get rid of all career-related dilemmas. 

Wrapping Up

If you are dreaming of a career full of opportunities then GATE is the gate to success. Follow the tips mentioned above and formulate your own tips to clear the prestigious exam.

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