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Engineering Design: The Information Component

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.262.1 - 5.262.6

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Paper Authors

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Jr., Michael E. Hanyak

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James A. Van Fleet

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

Session 2341

Engineering Design: the Information Component James A. Van Fleet, Michael E. Hanyak, Jr. Bucknell University


The curriculum of the Bucknell University Chemical Engineering Department includes a required senior year capstone course titled Process Engineering, with an emphasis on process design. For the past ten years library research has been a significant component of the coursework, and students working in teams meet with the librarian throughout the semester to explore a wide variety of information resources required for their project.

The assignment has been the same from 1989 to 1999. Teams of students are responsible for designing a safe, efficient, and profitable process for the dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene to styrene monomer. A series of written reports on their chosen process design is a significant course outcome.

While the assignment and the specific chemical technology have not changed radically in the past decade, the process of research and discovery has evolved considerably. This paper describes the solutions offered in 1989 to meet the information needs of the chemical engineering students at Bucknell University, and the evolution in research brought about by online databases, electronic journals, and the Internet, making the process of discovery a completely different experience in 1999.


In the fall of 1989, in my first year as a librarian at Bucknell University, I was faced with a challenge in what we then called “bibliographic instruction.” Dr. Michael Hanyak wanted me to meet with his chemical engineering senior design course not once, but three times. His suggestion was to begin with a general introductory session on library research and online databases. A second session would cover patents, patent searching and acquisition. In a third meeting we would examine a wide range of technical literature sources including handbooks, laws and regulations.

The course assignment is challenging. The students in CHEG 400, Process Engineering, are divided into three-member teams, each working on the same problem. As senior chemical engineers in the Process Engineering Department of the fictional consultant company “Bison Engineering and Evaluation Firm or BEEF, Inc.”, their goal is to design an efficient, cost- effective process for the dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene to styrene monomer for the client "Hawbawg Chemical Company". Design teams consider technical, economic, and environmental aspects of their process design: feed stocks, flowsheets, material and energy balances, equipment design and plant siting, profitability analysis, and compliance with environmental regulations.

Hanyak, J. M. E., & Van Fleet, J. A. (2000, June), Engineering Design: The Information Component Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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