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An Industrial Approach To The Unit Operations 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

3.82.1 - 3.82.4

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Paper Authors

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Edward C. Roche

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David B. Van Dongen

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

Session 2213

An Industrial Approach To The Unit Operations Laboratory Course

Edward C. Roche, Jr. New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, NJ

David B. Van Dongen Cultor Food Science, Inc. Ardsley, NY

Repackaging of the two unit-operations laboratory (UO) courses has resulted in a dual student learning experience. The hands-on experience of applying the knowledges acquired in the chemical engineering lecture-recitation courses has been retained, albeit in a slightly reduced form. The emphasis of the repackaging has been to enhance the student’s communication skills.

The initial phase of the unit-operations laboratory deals with fluid mechanics and heat transfer. Here the communications effort is accomplished using four requirements for each experiment. Each student group must prepare and discuss a pre-laboratory memorandum before initiating data collection. Each student is required to submit two progress reports. Prior to submission of a final report, the group gives a briefing on their laboratory experience where difficulties encountered in the data analysis are recognized and constructively reconciled during the briefing. The final report is thus significantly improved.

The second phase of the unit operations laboratory deals with mass transfer and kinetics-reactor operation. Here the communications effort has a different approach. Four managerial positions are created using a four-student group module. With four experiments, each student can rotate through each of the following positions: Project Manager; Research and Development Manager; Operations Manager; and Health, Safety and Environmental Affairs Manager. Here the emphasis is on the development of individual written communication skills.

The Traditional Unit-Operations Laboratory Courses The chemical engineering laboratory course sequence continues to be structured to interface with the curriculum and course scheduling. The laboratory course sequence has as its initial focus the concepts of fluid mechanics and heat transfer, then in a second course the knowledges associated with mass transfer, kinetics, and reactor operations are addressed. Normally five to six laboratory experiences would be provided each semester. With a total of ten to twelve experiments, the objective of giving students experience in the operation of industrial-scale equipment, and reinforcing the concepts of previous courses is achieved.

With this number of experiments, the focus is on the concepts associated with the experimental experience and the idiosyncrasies associated with the equipment. What is lacking within this structure is an emphasis on developing the ability of current students to communicate in written reports the concepts associated with the experimental experience, the results obtained by

Roche, E. C., & Van Dongen, D. B. (1998, June), An Industrial Approach To The Unit Operations Laboratory Course Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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