A Day in the Life of a Chemical Engineer

chemical-engineerChemical engineers work in a variety of fields that range from creating microprocessors for computers to working with potato chips that a person will later consume. This makes their work often interesting and quite different from that of other engineers. Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live the life of a chemical engineer? Well here is your chance!

Academic Requirements

All chemical engineers must fulfill a high level of educational requirements passed before they can get a job in this profession. The subjects that they must cover mostly pertain to physics and math, which go hand in hand when it comes to chemical engineering. English classes are also covered since chemical engineers have the task of writing any number of reports. Computer science is also recommended for a lot of chemical engineers, and can play a major role in a number of projects a chemical engineer may find themselves involved in.

Responsibilities

Chemical engineers have a wide array of responsibilities that will differ depending on the exact job. In order to perform these responsibilities, a chemical engineer needs to have good communication and management skills so that they can efficiently work well with their team. Most chemical engineer projects are team oriented, so these skills are vital for a chemical engineer’s success.

chemical-solution

The job itself is all about problem solving. Engineers need to be able to answer the main question “how” to figure out how they are going to get something to work, or how they are going to solve a complicated problem. This is often one of the hardest questions to answer, making the job of a chemical engineer quite complicated.

Chemical engineers must be able to turn their practices towards real life situations. For example, a chemical engineer might be working on a project to invent a more effective fertilizer, and need to find a way to mass produce it so that it can be sold. A lot of this work will come from their modeling techniques so that they can build what they need to produce the new fertilizer.

An Average Day

An average day can be drastically different from another depending on what the chemical engineer needs to get done. While the days may change, their routine stays pretty similar with each project, so you can get a rough idea of what they expect to do.

For starters, on a new project they need to be able to gather as much information as possible about the project. They might do this by spending their days talking with the creators of the project to learn more about it, the marketers to learn about what they want to target with the product, the team leaders to obtain a budget, and much more.

The next stage is all about modeling and creating diagrams of how they are planning on pulling this project together. This stage takes a very long time and they can expect to go back and forth with team leaders until they agree on a specification that meets their needed requirements and fits within the budget to produce.

Kitchen Reno’s, Not for the Faint Hearted

If you have ever undertaken a home renovation then you are well aware of the amount of work required. Renovating a kitchen often involves plenty of dust, toxic paint fumes, noisy machinery and using muscles you never even knew you had. It’s also the type of project where emotions can run high due to the heavy workload and different tastes and perceptions of those involved. You only need to watch any of the myriad of reality TV home renovation shows to see couples fighting over just about every aspect of the job, from the materials being used to the practical aspects of assembly and installation.

the-kitchen

It sure isn’t for the faint of heart but it’s also quite an addictive exercise, particularly if the job turns out well. It also need not be as expensive as many would have you believe. For instance there are plenty of options for kitchen countertops that need not break the bank. Decent appliances are coming down in price all the time and much of the work can be done DIY.

Transforming a house is one of those projects where you can see real progress as you are going and seeing something change so dramatically helps keep you motivated to continue.

The Kitchen

The most obvious room of the house that can be transformed is the kitchen, in fact in many cases this is where the bulk of your expense will be. In some cases this can be relatively simple but expensive e.g. installing new appliances can be less time consuming (as you would need to hire someone to do it for you) but relatively expensive, while repainting a kitchen’s interior is relatively inexpensive but quite time consuming.

One major transformation that can be undertaken although it can be quite costly depending on the material you choose is your kitchen countertop, splashbacks and kitchen cabinetry. In the case of replacing existing kitchen cabinetry, two pack finishes are becoming very popular nowadays but can be equally costly, however there are ways to keep costs down.

Replacing Kitchen Cabinetry

First you should decide on the countertop surface you will be using as this will play a role in the extent you need to replace your kitchen cabinetry. To clarify, if you are using a heavy material such as granite for your countertop surface the kitchen cabinetry beneath the counter will need to be strong enough to support the heavier material, whilst if using a lighter material such as laminate this isn’t as important. If your existing cabinetry can support your countertop in many cases rather than replacing the cabinetry you can simple reface them, saving you plenty of money and making the job simpler overall. The only drawback in doing this is depending on how much movement your home has experienced over time the new cabinet doors may need to be cut to take into consideration any movement your home has experienced over time, particualry if the home is older than ten years (which most home being renovated typically are) as a perfectly square cabinet door may not fit as well as expected.

Kitchen Countertops & Splashbacks

There’s a variety of options you can choose here from inexpensive laminate which has come a long way from the old school laminate we associate with dated 80′s kitchen and diners to natural stone such as Granite and Marble to Steel which is known for it’s ease of cleaning thus making it ideal for use in professional kitchens where hygiene is a major consideration. There are also timber options to consider, laminate as previously mentioned, polished concrete which looks very similar to natural stone but is obviously far easier to supply and work with which keeps the cost down compared to stone. Lastly there is also engineered stone which appears similar to granite however it is comprised of Quartz and Resin. Being man made the surface can appear far more consistent in texture which depending on your natural tastes will either love or loathe.

Remember if you are renovating your kitchen always start out with a plan you can visualize. In some cases plans can change along the way but as long as you (and your partner if involved) both have a good idea of what you are trying to achieve it’s simply a case of doing the work and spending the money. I hope this article was of benefit to you if considering a major renovation.

How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse

A person who becomes a licensed practical nurse is usually referred to as an LPN. A licensed practical nurse job description can be somewhat extensive, especially when compared to those of a certified nursing assistant (CNA), the duties must be supervised by a registered nurse or doctor. There are many environments an LPN can work in, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers and healthcare clinics.

Educational Requirements

To become an LPN, a person must possess a high school diploma as well as complete an appropriate training program. Some programs require a person to first hold certification as a CNA before being able to enroll. The average length of an LPN program is about 12 months; however, many of them require a student to first complete a number of courses in biology and English as prerequisites. The coursework covered in an LPN program tends to focus on the following topics:

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychology
  • Fundamental nursing practices
  • Human nutrition
  • Medical-surgical nursing
  • Anatomy
  • Microbiology
  • Ethical nursing issues
  • Geriatric nursing
  • Legal nursing issues
  • Physiology

After completing an LPN program, a person will then have to complete the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses. To maintain licensure, a person must take part in continuing education courses on a regular basis.

LPN Day to Day Tasks

An LPN can usually perform basic lab analysis and basic diagnostic tasks. In addition, he or she can take patients’ vital signs, administer medications, dress wounds and start IVs; however, almost all of these tasks must be supervised by an upper-level, licensed medical professional. Sometimes, with enough experience, an LPN will supervise orderlies and other lower-level nursing assistants.

Pros

  • Great job stability
  • Good pay
  • Short time of training

Cons

  • Long work hours
  • Work holidays and weekends
  • Physically and emotionally demanding

Tools of the Trade

An LPN will use many tools throughout the day, including:

  • Patient charts
  • Medications
  • Syringes
  • IV drips
  • Gauze and tape
  • Bed pans
  • Vials
  • Swabs
  • Blood pressure gauges
  • Thermometers

Career Advancement Opportunities

An LPN is in an excellent position to further his or her career. With only a minimal amount of additional education, he or she can go on to become a registered nurse. Beyond this, an LPN can become nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. Both of these occupations will require an LPN to earn a Master of Science in Nursing.

lpn-salaryTypical Salary

  • Base salary: about $30,970 a year
  • Median salary: about $41,540 a year
  • Senior salary: about $57,360 a year

Employment Opportunities

There is much job growth occurring in the profession of licensed practical nurses. In fact, through 2018, the field is expected to grow by 21 percent. One reason that this field is expected to grow so much is because there is a inadequate healthcare being provided in many remote areas.

A person who has great interpersonal skills and a passion for working in the healthcare field should definitely consider becoming an LPN. In this line of work, there is great pay as well as a minimal amount of training that has to be completed before being able to work as a licensed practical nurse.

Natural Toothpaste Alternatives

Have you checked the ingredients of your toothpaste lately? The major toothpaste manufacturers all use basically the same ingredients, but one in particular is rather disturbing – it’s called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS).

This substance found in coconuts is used to create the foaming action in toothpaste. But it’s also used in other products such as shampoo, cleaning agents, and even engine degreaser. This substance has been known to cause canker sores, mouth ulcers, and increase the acidic climate in a persons mouth; this can promote bad breath and even harbor more bacteria. For a full run down on Sodium Lauryl Sulfate visit slsfree.net ,the site contains a number of informative articles on the topic.

Companies That Make SLS Free Toothpastes

As you might already have guessed, cost is at the center of using these types of products that can cause us health issues. And to be fair, manufacturer’s have to produce cost effective products, so using low cost ingredients to make their products is not new news.

toothbrush

On the other hand, there are still toothpaste manufacturers that do not use SLS in their products. They may cost a little more, but they reduce the risk of canker sores and other gum diseases associated with SLS. The following are a few of the more popular brands you can purchase at your local health store:

Many of these manufacturers use alternative natural ingredients such as Tea Tree Oil (fights bacteria and bad breath), Xylitol (reduces cavities), and natural polishers and whiteners.

Remember, your gums and oral tissue will absorb the chemicals contained in toothpaste. This is important because these chemicals can be distributed into the blood stream and cause damage to other parts of your body. Of course, this is over a period of time, but the fact still remains that certain health issues can be averted by making a small change in the type of toothpaste you use.

Homemade Toothpaste

It’s convenience that drives people to buy the manufactured natural toothpaste alternatives, but for those of you who want to save a few dollars and make a simple natural alternative of your own, we can help.

Baking soda is a common ingredient for home made toothpaste.

You need 2/3 cup of baking soda, 2-tsp. (or 15 drops) of peppermint or spearmint extract, and filtered water (distilled is better). You will mix the ingredients together, with the only variable being water. The amount of water mixed in with the other ingredients is totally up to you. For a thicker mixture add less water, for a more fluid mixture add more water.

Some people think that baking soda is more abrasive and can cause damage to the enamel on your teeth – not true. The truth is, using a hard bristled brush and grinding the bristles against your teeth do damage. People use to think that you had to brush your teeth like you were scrubbing a pan; this not only damaged the enamel, but caused gum damage too.

Baking soda is an alkaline, so it actually helps reduce the risk of plaque and bacteria.

The cost of making your own natural toothpaste is around .75 cents; this is comparing it to a 5.2 ounce tube of natural toothpaste. The natural toothpastes mentioned above cost between five to six dollars.

You’ll have to be the judge of which natural toothpaste alternative is best for you!

Reducing the Impact of Mold

Mold is used in making brie and penicillin; it is also used in decomposing substances that are organic in nature. However, mold possesses negative aspects especially if found growing in homes without detection. Mold grows anywhere such as; on food, carpet, paper, clothing and also in areas that are hard to notice such as behind walls, on leaking pipes and ceiling tiles. This substance if not controlled can produce allergens which are toxic and can cause health hazards. Not only that mold remediation is a serious concern and has the potential to cost several thousand dollars to remove if not detected early.

It is important to prevent mold before it becomes a major problem in the house and the environment in general. These are some of the ways you can prevent molds from thriving.

The first thing to do is to identify the areas that molds have started growing in your home. It is difficult to make your home mold-proof but it is possible to make it more resistant to mold. You should first inspect your house to identify every place that is infested. When you identify the areas effected, it is recommended to take action immediately before it is too late and expensive to control them.

Moisture and How it Contributes to Mold

Avoid using your clothes dryer unless neccessary to decrease humidity in your laundry.

Avoid using your clothes dryer unless neccessary to decrease humidity in your laundry.

Moisture is one of the factors that contribute greatly to the growth and manifestation of molds. In this regard, it is essential to dry any wet area in the house immediately you spot one. One should also not leave any wet item lying in the house, and bathroom walls and floors should be kept dry all the time.

Molds can be prevented by ensuring the house has proper ventilation. Many homes have appliances which produce moisture when been used. These appliances lead to an accumulation of moisture in the house which can encourage molds to grow. To prevent this from happening, it is advisable to open windows whenever such appliances are been used so as to ventilate the house thus reducing moisture levels in the house. There are some tips and practical advice here to reduce moisture in the home, visit: www.epa.gov/mold/preventionandcontrol.html for more information.

It is advisable to furnish your home with products that are mold-resistant. Whenever a person is building a home or doing some renovations, it is recommended that you use products that resist molds. Such products may include paints that are mold-resistant, mold-resistant drywall and mold-resistant sheetrock. Such products will help in keeping the molds at bay.

Some actionable tips you can do right away to reduce mold

Another way that one can prevent molds from growing in your home is by monitoring the level of humidity in the house. Humidity levels should be maintained at levels of 30 to 60 percent. Any instance when humidity goes beyond this should be regulated so as to avoid condensation which increases the moisture levels hence increasing chances for molds to grow.

Water should also be directed away from the house. In other words, there should be proper drainage around your home so as to prevent water from stagnating in your home. This reduces chances of mold infestation.

It is also recommended by EPA to improve the aeration of the house. Poor air flow in the house makes moisture to accumulate on walls, floors and windows. Air circulation in the house is increased by opening doors and windows, keeping furniture some distance from the walls and opening closet windows. This helps in allowing fresh air to flow in the house hence reducing molds from growing.

Runners Knee – An Absorbing Problem

Why Your Knees hurt like hell after a run and what you can do about it.

When experiencing knee pain or injury especially the very common ‘runners knee‘ you will be advised by either your doctor or personal trainer to build up the strength of your quads and calves to improve your alignment, which will allow your overall running action to be less damaging to your knees. Exercises that strengthen the knee build muscle that supports the knee and lessens the impact on the knee joints – the largest joints in the body.

Runners have to contend with a number of niggling injuries due to the impact we place on our bodies in the act of running. Your knees, ankles and hips can all feel the impact of running from time to time. The most common compliant is knee pain, and in many cases the runner may fear they have a specific type of injury that requires surgery or means they have to stop running. This is sometimes that furthest thing from the truth and could be as simple as an alignment issue with your running.

The basic anatomy of a knee joint

knee-painA knee joint consists of three bones – the femur, tibia and patella. Understanding the make-up of the knee and the functions it performs, including bending, straightening, twisting and rotating, may give you a new appreciation for what we typically ask of our knees.

The two primary bones, femur (thigh bone), and the tibia (shin bone), form the knee’s hinge joint. The patella (kneecap) provides protection for the front of the joint. Other knee components include ligaments, tendons and bursae. Components work with leg muscles to manage the pressure your knee receives as you walk, run and jump. Understanding the make up of the knee may give you a new appreciation for what we typically ask of our knees.

Ligaments

Four ligaments work together to connect the femur to tibia. Consisting of fibrous band-like tissue, ligaments surround the knee joint. Ligaments help the joint move in most directions and provide stability. Two collateral ligaments, in the center of the knee joint, restrict sideways motion.

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), located in the center of the knee, connects the tibia to the femur. It also limits the tibia’s forward and rotation movement. The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) behind the ACL restricts the tibia’s backward motion.

Tendons

Made of the same material as ligaments, tendons connect muscles. Quadriceps tendons attach the quadriceps muscle, — in the front of the thigh–to the patella. The Patella tendon connects the patella to the tibia. The quadriceps and patella tendons, along with the quadriceps muscle, straighten the leg – key when performing knee strengthening exercises, such as knee presses or straight leg raises.

Cartilage

The articular cartilage covers the ends of the tibia and femur and the underside of the patella. Two additional pads of cartilage—the lateral meniscus and medial meniscus—provides additional cushion for the knee joint. These pads absorbs shock to the knees.

Bursae

Bursae refer to fluid-filled sacs that surround the knee and cushion the joint. Prepatellar burbae sit in the front of the kneecap and anserine burnae falls about two inches below the knee joint, on the inside knee. Infrapatellar bursae is located just below the patella.