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Integrating a Laboratory into a First-semester Introduction to Chemical Engineering Course

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Experiential Learning in Chemical Engineering

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count

21

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/37354

Download Count

10

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Paper Authors

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Susan M. Stagg-Williams The University of Kansas

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Dr. Susan M Stagg-Williams is the Charles E. & Mary Jane Spahr Professor and Chair of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Kansas (KU), with a specialty in biomass conversion. She has worked closely with the KU Center for Teaching Excellence and been a champion for course redesign across campus. Her primary focus has been on large freshman and sophomore classes. She is the founder of the KU Biodiesel Initiative which provides opportunities for undergraduate students to apply their engineering skills in practical applications while earning their degree. Dr. Stagg-Williams earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1994 and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1999.

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Molly McVey The University of Kansas

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Dr. Molly A. McVey is a post-doctoral teaching fellow at the University of Kansas School of Engineering where she works with faculty to incorporate evidence-based and student-centered teaching methods, and to research the impacts of changes made to teaching on student learning and success. Dr. McVey earned her Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kansas in 2012.

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Andrew David Yancey The University of Kansas

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Andrew earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Baylor University in May 2019. Currently, he attends the University of Kansas where he is pursuing a PhD in Chemical Engineering. His research focuses on selective separation of azeotropic refrigerant mixtures using porous materials.

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Akash Anand The University of Kansas

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Arthur A. Lee The University of Kansas

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PhD Candidate, Bioengineering Graduate Program

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Abstract

The Introduction to Chemical Engineering course at the University of Kansas has traditionally been taught as a 2-credit hour, 1-semester course in the fall of the freshman year. In 2019, the course was redesigned to span both the fall and spring semesters and incorporate a hands-on laboratory experience each semester. The lab was structured to accommodate enrollments of up to 144 students, with each student attending four two-hour laboratory sessions during each semester. This paper is focused on the laboratory component of the fall semester course.

The primary goal of the fall semester laboratory was to expose students to chemical engineering concepts while providing opportunities to see a chemical engineering processes from feedstock selection to products utilization. The focus of the laboratory was the production of biodiesel from vegetable oil with each laboratory period highlighting a different aspect of the process involved. The four laboratory sessions covered concepts including batch reaction, separation of products, purification of biodiesel using an ion exchange mechanism, and glycerin purification using distillation with emphasis on methanol recycling. Aspen modelling of the distillation process, and fuel property testing along with product utilization in a diesel generator was demonstrated. The students were able to see the integration of each experiment with respect to the overall engineering process and complete mass balances on individual processes and the complete process over the course of the semester. Additionally, fundamental chemical engineering topics including transport phenomena, thermodynamics, and reaction engineering were introduced when appropriate during experiments. Finally, for each laboratory session, the students saw a demonstration of larger-scale equipment for each process unit being studied.

Retention analysis of first-year students to the university and the major along with evaluations from the students in the sophomore year will be presented.

Stagg-Williams, S. M., & McVey, M., & Yancey, A. D., & Anand, A., & Lee, A. A. (2021, July), Integrating a Laboratory into a First-semester Introduction to Chemical Engineering Course Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://strategy.asee.org/37354

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