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Cost Effective Experiments In Chemical Engineering Core Courses

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.146.1 - 4.146.9

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Paper Authors

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Robert P. Hesketh

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C. Stewart Slater

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

Session 1613


Robert P. Hesketh and C. Stewart Slater Department of Chemical Engineering Rowan University Glassboro, NJ 08028

Abstract Through funding of National Science Foundation we have developed some novel experiments that present process science principles suitable for a variety of chemical engineering core courses. These experiments are cost effective and represent some of the emerging areas: polymer processing, food processing, environmental reactor design, fluidization, membrane separation. These experiments have been utilized by chemical engineering faculty at a unique hands-on industrially integrated NSF workshop on Novel Process Science and Engineering conducted at Rowan University. We have integrated these experiments into our curriculum so that students can see chemical engineering principles in action and therefore improve the quality of education.

Introduction Hands-on laboratory experience is a critical element in undergraduate chemical engineering education [Par94, Gri97]. Chemical engineering programs are often confronted with how to more effectively integrate the experimental experience more widely across the curriculum in a cost-effective manor. Some departments are also challenged with bringing laboratory experience into the Freshman year. Others are interested in presenting advanced technology or emerging fields through laboratory experiments. Typically chemical engineering laboratory experiments are presented in a Senior-level unit operations laboratory. In this setting students gain experience with many of the processes that are presented in various previous courses in the curriculum, e.g. heat exchanger, distillation column, extraction column, filter press, reverse osmosis system. In the majority of cases these are pilot-scale process units that are quite expensive and complex. A pilot scale distillation system for student costs nominally more than $100K. These experiments serve the role to give students a more realistic depiction of actual processing equipment. At Rowan we believe that it is important to integrate laboratory experience throughout our curriculum in courses that make sense pedagogically [Hes97a,b, Hes98]. These “course labs” occurs in several places and typically use a bench-scale experiment that can be performed within 2 hours. We also have multiple laboratory set-ups [Sla96] to facilitate an experimental period being conducted with a multiple groups of students running the same experiment. To facilitate a laboratory program of this nature the time, scale, complexity and cost must all be optimized and matched to the appropriate experimental setting. What we are describing in this paper is the first step in our laboratory development efforts. We will present overviews of

Hesketh, R. P., & Slater, C. S. (1999, June), Cost Effective Experiments In Chemical Engineering Core Courses Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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