Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Developing entrepreneurial mindset learning (EML) in engineering education challenges instructors to implement learning activities that promote student learning in three key areas: creative and critical thinking (curiosity), minimizing segmented learning (making connections among apparently unrelated concepts), and including human/social considerations in engineering analysis (value creation). In this paper we describe a unique project that was implemented in the first course in chemical engineering (material and energy balances) that used the 1980 Titan missile accident in Damascus, AK as a focal point. Our EML module included basic mass balance analysis put in an historical context but extended to include a qualitative chemical process accident case study, and to analysis of present day tensions between the US and North Korea.
The module was a team-based project imbedded in the traditional sophomore year introductory ChE course. We implemented the module in a class of 94 students in the first fall quarter of the 2017-18 academic year. The basis of the project was the PBS American Experience documentary Command and Control: The Unknown Story of the Day Our Luck Almost Ran Out (R. Kenner, Director and from the book by E. Schlosser). The film recreates and describes the explosion that occurred in a Titan missile silo. It started with the simple dropping of a ratchet causing a fuel leak that spiraled into a major event resulting in 21 injuries and 1 fatality. The nuclear warhead did not detonate, but the event was not an isolated one and served as an example for nuclear weapons safety problems in the US.
The connections between a missile accident and basic ChE topics might at first appear weak. However, there are three areas appropriate for new ChE students. These include using the fuel leak to introduce non-steady state mass balance concepts, examining parallels with recent chemical process accidents, and introducing risk-consequence models to promote informed discussion about current political NK-US debates. In the paper we describe the project details including the mass balance analysis, the process safety case studies (each team chose their own comparison incident), and the risk model discussions. We’ll also demonstrate the EML elements using student work samples.
Since the course just finished in mid-October, evaluation is still in-progress. Review of the 25 team reports showed them to all be very good to excellent. This was a surprise to the ChE instructor who has been doing course projects for many years in this and similar classes. An open-ended survey (non-Likert format) was also implemented with an 86% response. Survey analysis is in progress and we will have full results by the paper submission deadline. Preliminary results indicate that student interest in this different topic and context was high. Nearly all teams recognized and thoroughly discussed the parallels between the missile accident and their chemical process case study. They also wrote intelligent pieces about the NK-US issue but in some cases the connection of that issue to the ChE-specific material was seen as tenuous.
DiBiasio, D., & Boudreau, K., & Dodson, L., & Abel, C. (2018, June), Damascus, AK to Pyongyang, NK: Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset by Connecting Nuclear Weapons Safety, Chemical Process Safety and Global Politics Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30250
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015