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Environmental Awareness in the Material and Energy Balances Course

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Chemical Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Connor Robert Bilchak Columbia University

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Connor received his B.S. in chemical engineering from Manhattan College in 2014 and his M.S. from Columbia University in 2015. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at Columbia under the advisement of Sanat Kumar and Christopher Durning. His work involves the morphological control of polymer-grafted nanocomposites for increased flux and selectivity in vapor separations.

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J. Patrick Abulencia Manhattan College

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J. Patrick Abulencia is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Manhattan College. He earned his PhD in Chemical and BIomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, and his BS in Chemical Engineering, at Manhattan College. Aside from engineering education, his interests include water filtration, alternative energy, and sustainability.

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The materials and energy balances course is often the first in the chemical engineering curriculum, and provides many students their initial exposure to calculations in the field. This work aims at supplementing the concepts included in this introductory course through a simple design project that students can easily relate to. More specifically, they were asked to design a water reservoir using campus buildings as a guide for its volume, as well as consumption data based on their personal habits. Aside from providing meaningful context to a material balance problem, the purpose of this approach was twofold: 1) to promote awareness of the environmental impact of their daily habits, and 2) to gain a sense of scale. A comprehensive survey was administered to assess if the project improved student understanding within these two dimensions. Similar projects with different design frameworks (such as a power supply balance) could also be used to promote awareness in other future engineering challenges.

Bilchak, C. R., & Abulencia, J. P. (2016, June), Environmental Awareness in the Material and Energy Balances Course Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26727

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