Make it Short and Sweet

Dec. 15, 2002

Did you ever go to a meeting where the guidelines for each participant called for a short presentation with the admonishment to essentially "stand up, speak up, shut up and sit down"? Pretty nice, wasn't it? Short and to the point. The meeting organizers were saying: "Give it to me in a nutshell."

The Web sites featured in this month's column fall into this category. They are fast loading, easy to read and informative. A good example is Dr. Bernhard Spang's "ChE Links" page of the "Chemical Engineers' Resource Page" (, which contains a broad collection of the best sources for general chemical engineering topics.

Many portals fall within the "nutshell" category, including calculation pages and specific topic, content-heavy pages. At one such site, Cole Palmer's Chemical Compatibility database (, you can search at least one of three criteria to select chemical compatibility based on a 48-hour exposure period. Professor Shuzo Ohe provides content-filled stand-alone pages containing distillation, vapor pressure and vapor-liquid equilibria data at A third site,, describes phase equilibrium diagrams and gives examples for viewing and analysis.

Surfing back to Dr. Spang's "ChE Links," the Engineering and Design Software link yields a page of links to both free and commercial computer programs encompassing graphics, calculation and design. Drilling further down within "ChE Links," you will find a plethora of sites of interest to chemical engineers. For example, from the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Nuclear Engineering at the University of Cincinnati ( comes an explanation of the three mechanisms of heat transfer: conduction, convection and radiation ( The page includes links to fluids, thermodynamics and an overview of a collaborative utility,"university project for the design and operation of nuclear power plants. The "Users Help" page at provides a brief explanation of Web surfing. A link to components includes explanations of centrifugal pumps ( and heat exchangers (

The "Materials of Construction" portion of the "ChE Links" site ( is a good resource about materials ranging from aluminum to plastics to steels. One link, "Granta Design's Designations and Equivalents" ( tions/index.htm), presents the specification equivalents for many materials in national and international designation systems. A link to "The Phase Diagrams Web" ( leads you to elemental binary phase diagrams. A periodic table of the elements is used as an index to jump to the element of interest. Links to other phase diagrams (ternary, ceramics, oxides, water) also are provided.

"Membrane Separation Processes" from the "ChE Links" site ( links a number of references to the Osmonics technology library ( Included is the popular and colorful "Filtration Spectrum" graphic ( It is a representation of the relative sizes of common materials with the respective process for separation indicated on a "size" line.

"Process Control" from the "ChE Links" site ( includes a link to a fascinating "Signals, Systems and Control Demonstrations" page ( from John Hopkins University ( Links to a number of Java applets and interactive modules that illustrate the characteristics of a variety of instrumentation and control phenomena are provided. The demonstrations were developed in a project directed by Prof. Wilson J. Rugh (

The ChE Links "Technical Writing and Documentation" section ( covers everything from article writing to technical report writing. One link to an "Online Technical Writing Textbook" ( by David A. McMurrey ( includes many examples of technical writing from business correspondence and resumes to oral presentations. Business plans, proposals, progress reports, instructions and user guides also are covered. A chapter about information structures provides insight into the types of information content (description, definition, discussion, classification and comparison) commonly used in technical writing.

Although I did not plan it this way, this column primarily covers links that are a part of the "ChE Links" section of "The Chemical Engineers' Resource Page." The resource page sitemap at covers in a nutshell the broad range of topics available at the site and includes a search page to help find topics that might not be immediately apparent.

Hodel is

Chemical Processing's Internet columnist. Contact him at aehod[email protected].

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