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Board 37: Work-in-Progress: Conceptual Activities for Separations Courses

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Chemical Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Janie Brennan Washington University in St. Louis

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Janie Brennan is a Lecturer of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. She earned her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University in 2015. Her primary focus is on the application of research-based teaching methods in engineering education.

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Across many fields, demonstrations, inquiry-based activities, and other activities have been shown to aid in the conceptual understanding of theory. In engineering, numerous such activities have been developed for concepts relating to fluid dynamics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, and kinetics; these are widely available through resources like the Concept Warehouse. However, few such activities have been described for topics in chemical engineering separations courses. The goal of this work is to develop inexpensive activities using easily accessible materials that can be used as in-class activities (demonstrations, mini-experiments, etc.) to help students understand subjects such as McCabe-Thiele diagrams, ternary equilibrium (liquid-liquid extraction), and/or packed-bed adsorption.

Based on the author’s previous observations in teaching separations, two activities will be developed to tackle particular issues relating to visualization and conceptual understanding in equilibrium- and/or rate-based separations. In addition to the creation of detailed procedures and materials lists, pre- and post-activity assessments and reflections will also be drafted to guide the students’ learning, as numerous works have shown that both a prediction and reflection activity are critical to student retention. The preliminary design of these activities will be implemented during the Spring 2018 semester, and preliminary data will be presented at the annual conference. Feedback and additional suggestions for implementation would be welcome for the improvement of this work-in-progress.

Brennan, J. (2018, June), Board 37: Work-in-Progress: Conceptual Activities for Separations Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30019

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