|Predecessor||American Society of Mechanical Engineers|
|Type||not-for-profit membership organization|
|Headquarters||New York, NY|
|60,000+ in over 110 countries|
The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) is a professional organization for chemical engineers. AIChE was established in 1908 to distinguish chemical engineers as a profession independent of chemists and mechanical engineers.
As of 2018, AIChE had over 60,000 members, including members from over 110 countries worldwide. Student chapters at various universities around the world have also been established throughout its history. The student chapters tend to focus on providing networking opportunities in both academia and in industry as well as increasing student involvement locally and nationally.
In 1905, The Chemical Engineer rounded out its first year of publication with an editorial by its founder and prominent engineer, Richard K. Meade, that propounded the question: "Why not the American Society of Chemical Engineers?" He went on to say: "The profession is now a recognized one and there are probably at least five hundred chemical engineers in this country".
The mechanical, civil, electrical, and mining engineers in the United States each had already established a national society, so Meade's editorial was quite pertinent. But it took time for the idea to take root and Meade kept promoting it for the next two years. Finally, in 1907, he issued a call for a preliminary meeting to be held in Atlantic City in June, 1907. Some early leaders of the profession, Charles F. McKenna, William H. Walker, William Miller Booth, Samuel P. Sadtler and Thorn Smith along with about a dozen others answered Meade's call and met in Atlantic City on June 21, 1907. The meeting concluded with the formation of an organizing committee of six members: Charles F. McKenna (chairman), Richard K. Meade, William M. Booth, J.C. Olsen, William H. Walker, and Arthur D. Little.
The organizing committee sent a letter in September 1908 to 600 men in the chemical profession in the United States and Canada asking for their opinions about forming a chemical engineering society. Two hundred replies were received and 70-80% were favorable. Many of the others believed the existing societies (especially the American Chemical Society) were sufficient and they did not favor forming a new society.
The organizing committee decided to hold a larger, open meeting at the Hotel Belmont in New York City at which those opposed to forming the new society could present their arguments and opinions. Accordingly, they invited fifty men prominent in the chemical profession (including men that opposed the forming of a new society) to meet on January 18, 1908. Twenty-one men attended the meeting and fourteen other expressed their views in letters. After much discussion, the meeting ended without reaching a definitive decision. However, it was agreed to have a mail vote (on whether or not to form a chemical engineering society) after a complete stenographic report of the meeting was printed and sent to the fifty men that had been invited to the meeting.
The mail vote resulted in 36 replies of which 22 were in the affirmative, 6 were negative, and 8 were neutral. Based on those voting results, the organizing committee of six called for a full-fledged organizational meeting to be held in Philadelphia on June 22, 1908. Meanwhile, the committee of six drafted a proposed constitution to be presented at that meeting. That meeting resulted in the official formation of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, adoption of a constitution, and the election of Samuel P. Sadtler as the first president of the Institute. There were 40 charter members:
Divisions and forums provide technical information, programming for AIChE's technical meetings, and awards and recognition to outstanding chemical engineers in their area of expertise. They also provide opportunities for affiliation with top engineers in the general disciplines as well as in emerging fields like biotechnology and sustainability.
This is a list of the divisions and forums:
The AIChE has four grades of membership as listed below (ranging from the highest grade to the lowest grade):
The prerequisite qualifications for election to any of the membership grades are available in the AIChE Bylaws.
As new technology is developed, there is a need for experts to collaborate to achieve common goals. The AIChE plays a major role through joint initiatives with industry, academia, and others.
This article incorporates material from the Citizendium article "American Institute of Chemical Engineers", which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License but not under the GFDL.