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A Novel Unit Operations Project To Reinforce The Concepts Of Reactor Design And Transport Phenomena

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Innovations in the CHE Laboratory

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.92.1 - 8.92.6



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Paper Authors

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R. Russell Rhinehart

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Benjamin Lawrence

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Sundararajan Madihally

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

Session #2313 A Unit Operations Lab Project that Combines the Concepts of Reactor Design and Transport Phenomena

Benjamin J. Lawrence, Sundararajan V. Madihally, R. Russell Rhinehart School of Chemical Engineering, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

Introduction A laboratory course on Unit Operations is a critical component in the chemical engineering undergraduate curriculum, because it provides hands-on experience on the application of theoretical concepts learned in core classes such as chemical kinetics and reactor design, transport phenomena, and mass transfer operations. Typically, students carryout a number of experiments related to each concept. This modular approach, emphasizing the concepts, lacks interconnectivity and integration of novel computational tools such as simulation packages, statistical analysis tools and technical writing skills. Unit Operations Laboratory (UOL) is an ideal course to integrate all chemical engineering curriculum skills as well as the technical tools that are routinely used in the industrial environment.

At Oklahoma State University, one goal in chemical engineering education is to encourage students to connect concepts developed in multiple courses, and generate comprehensive solutions to engineering problems. Students are required to complete two 2-sch UOL courses in our undergraduate curriculum. One course is offered in the spring of the junior year and another in the fall of the senior year. In the first semester students work on fluid flow, heat transfer units. In the second course, they use reaction and mass transfer units.

Project Based Experiments In each UOL course, randomly assigned three or four person teams work on three separate experimental projects, each lasting 5 weeks. Project objectives are to use the equipment (as though it were a pilot-scale representation of a commercial unit) to generate data upon which they can make an enterprise-relevant decision. For example, students are asked to decide if the company should replace the production trays with those of the test-unit design rather than asking them to measure distillation column tray efficiency. The broader question requires them to consider the costs of replacement, turn-up/turn-down performance range, the impact of operation pressure on efficiency, and other issues that would impact a business decision (which instructors raise in the course of the experiments).

In the first week, students work to understand the challenge and the equipment, and develop a

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Rhinehart, R. R., & Lawrence, B., & Madihally, S. (2003, June), A Novel Unit Operations Project To Reinforce The Concepts Of Reactor Design And Transport Phenomena Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11933

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