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A Multidisciplinary Electrochemical Engineering Laboratory Course

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.28.1 - 3.28.6



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Paper Authors

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Daniel T. Schwartz

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2413


Daniel T. Schwartz Department of Chemical Engineering Box 351750 University of Washington Seattle, WA 98195-1750

Roughly 5% of the U.S. gross national product is spent on value-added electrochemical processes or value-degrading electrochemical corrosion.1 This sizable economic impact suggests that many, if not most, engineers and scientists will grapple with electrochemical issues during their careers. The ways in which engineers and scientists interact with electrochemical processes is sometimes obvious. For example, electrodeposition may be used for coating a substrate, corrosion may be a process design constraint, or electroanalytical chemistry may be used to detect a contaminant. On the other hand, the role of electrochemistry is often subtle, yet important. For example, cell membrane potentials are dictated by electrolytic processes, electrochromic smart window technology depends on ion conducting materials, charge transfer reactions impact the efficacy of soil dewatering with electroosmosis, and more. Despite the ubiquitous nature of electrochemical phenomena, few students in the U.S. have an opportunity to become well-founded in electrochemical science and technology. In fact, the status of electrochemical education has changed little since a 1986 National Research Council report noted,1 "Most of the chemistry and chemical engineering departments offer no formal instruction or research in corrosion. Fewer than 20 percent of the chemical engineering departments provide training in electrochemical synthesis and energy conversion, either through course work or research. In addition, over the past 10 to 20 years there has been a gradual disappearance of electrochemical coverage in most physical chemistry courses." In short, a sizable fraction of all practicing engineers and scientists will use electrochemical principles in their work, though most will only receive piece-meal training through on-the-job experience. It is accurate to say that the transmission of modern electrochemical insight to students has lagged far behind the pace of cutting-edge research advances.

For the past six years, students at the University of Washington have had the opportunity to learn about electrochemical science and technology, initially in a lecture-oriented advanced undergraduate course, and more recently as a laboratory-oriented course. The objectives of this course have always been to develop in students a broadly based understanding of electrochemical processes, to effectively integrate cutting-edge research advances into the undergraduate curriculum, and to support efforts within chemical engineering and across campus to have students work on industry-inspired and multidisciplinary design projects. The transition from lecture to laboratory course was driven by a desire to have the multidisciplinary students learn and retain more, and also to help them develop insight and intuition about electrochemical

Schwartz, D. T. (1998, June), A Multidisciplinary Electrochemical Engineering Laboratory Course Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7297

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