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Films, Foams and Powders: Using Food to Introduce First Year Students to Chemical Engineering

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Early ChemE Education

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Polly R. Piergiovanni Lafayette College

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Polly R. Piergiovanni is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Lafayette College. Besides chemical engineering courses, she teaches an engineering course to nonengineering students. Her current research interests include critical thinking evident in student writing and assessing learning in experiential learning activities.

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The two primary student learning objectives for an Introduction to Engineering course at X are: Students will recognize that engineering at X and beyond is innovative and exciting; and Students will understand the engineering design process.

This fall, a chemical engineering module entitled Films, Foams and Powders, was developed to meet these SLOs. The module used modernist cuisine techniques to demonstrate how chemical engineering is exciting and innovative. At the same time, engineering principles such as viscosity, the Hagen-Poiseuielle equation, and heat transfer calculations were taught. Each of the six portions of the class began with a hands-on activity, followed by theory and calculations, and ended with a design project. For example, the students created edible thin films (and tested their strength); powdered white chocolate (and explained the chemistry), and spherified soy sauce (and measured the diffusion from the spheres). The paper will provide details for some of the experiments, and initial assessment results. This is a work in progress.

Piergiovanni, P. R. (2017, June), Films, Foams and Powders: Using Food to Introduce First Year Students to Chemical Engineering Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28355

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