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Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Oct 23, 2007

The Chemical Guru: Mr. Milton Beychok


During initial days of CrazyEngineers (about two years back), it would have been hard to imagine that CrazyEngineers will attract attention of the greatest engineers from around the world. We are extremely happy & proud to have Mr. Milton Beychok on CrazyEngineers as a CEan: mbeychok !

Check out our email-interview with Mr. Beychok.
Brief Biography:

I am a retired chemical engineer living with my wife in Newport Beach, California, USA. My professional career included 20 years as a manager of process design with the Fluor Corporation (now known as Fluor-Daniels Inc.) in the United States and in the United Kingdom, followed by 25 years of independent consulting.

My primary expertise was in the process design of petroleum refineries, petrochemical plants, and natural gas processing plants. For the last 12 years or so of my consulting work, my primary focus was on the environmental aspects of the hydrocarbon processing industry. My clients included almost every major oil company operating in the United States as well as most of the major environmental consulting firms.

I am a graduate of Texas A&M University, and a long-time Fellow member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Question: What motivated you to take up a career in Chemical Engineering?
Response: I was motivated and inspired by my high school chemistry teacher.

Question: What is the most fascinating thing about Chemical Engineering?
Response: I would say the challenge of designing industrial plants and then seeing them in actual operation.

Question: Tell us more about your career.
Response: My first job was doing research work at the Shell Oil refinery in Houston, Texas. My next job was in the operational aspects of a small refinery in Los Angeles, California. Then I went to work as a process design engineer with the Fluor Engineering and Construction Corporation for whom I worked a little over 20 years (including 7 years in Fluor's office in London, England). During that time, I was responsible for the design of numerous oil refining process units, petrochemical plants and natural gas processing plants located in the U.S.A., Canada, Venezuela, Europe and the Middle East.

I then went into private practice as a consulting engineer ... mostly in the air and water environmental aspects of chemical engineering plant design. That part of my career lasted about 25 years until I retired about 10 years ago.

Question: Tell us more about the two books you authored.
Response: While working in London, I spent about two years writing my first book, "Aqueous Wastes from Petroleum and Petrochemical Plants", which was published by John Wiley & Sons in 1967. Copies of that book area available in major university libraries worldwide. The book went out of print after about 30 years during which John Wiley & Sons had sold over 10,000 copies.

While working as an independent consultant, I wrote my second book, "Fundamentals of Stack Gas Dispersion", which I published and marketed myself. The first edition was published in 1997 and the current fourth edition was published in 2005. It is sold via my website at as well as via the website of Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more.

Question: Tell us about the toughest technical challenge of your career.
Response: It was the design of the first plant built after World War II to produce butadiene on a large scale (about 90,000 tons per year). The plant used a process developed by the Houdry Corporation and it was located just outside of Houston, Texas. Butadiene is used to produce Sytrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR) known as synthetic rubber. I also spent about 6 months in the initial start-up (commissioning) of the plant.

CrazyEngineers is thankful to Mr. Beychok for taking out time for an interview with CrazyEngineers.
Elisa • Oct 24, 2007
Designing a chemical engineering plant must be a tough job. What are the typical challenges in designing a plant?
kd15 • Sep 20, 2008
what is your opinion about petrochemical,is there any scope 4 petrochemical engg. in future for girl? what will be the fields in chemical engg. required in future?

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