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Introduction Of Process Dissection And Reintegration Into The Undergraduate Laboratory

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.347.1 - 4.347.12

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Paper Authors

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Robert M. Ybarra

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

Session 1613

Introduction of Process Dissection and Reintegration into Undergraduate Laboratory

Robert M. Ybarra University of Missouri–Rolla


Students often approach the engineering curriculum as discrete parcels of knowledge–knowledge identifiable only by course number. The lack of integration among courses only reinforces this tendency. To combat this tendency, we initiated a novel pedagogical approach to laboratory instruction, which we call “process dissection and reintegration”. Under such an instructional methodology, we dissect a unit operation into its various physicochemical phenomena. In doing so, we pay particular attention to how such phenomena influence the equipment design. In this paper, we highlight the many ways we incorporate our novel methodology in two Unit Operations laboratory courses.

Course Setting

We practice process dissection and reintegration in our two-semester laboratory course sequence, ChE 234 and 236, Chemical Laboratory I and II. Our students take these three-credit hour laboratories in semesters six and seven. The prerequisites for ChE 234 include chemical equilibria (ChE 143), momentum (ChE 231) and heat transfer (ChE 233) while the prerequisites for ChE 236 include staged operations (ChE 235) and differential mass transfer (ChE 237).

ChE 234 involves a variety of laboratory projects that demonstrate the principles of momentum and heat transfer: Pressure Drop Through Valves and Fittings; Two-Phase Flow Through a Packed Bed; Reboiler and Condenser Heat Duties; Turbulent Heat Transfer in Empty and Statically-Mixed Tubes; and Batch Heating of a Mixed Tank. ChE 236 involves experiments that demonstrate either a chemical separation or conversion–the “bread and butter” of a chemical engineers. These experiments consist of: Heterogeneously-Catalyzed Esterification of Acetic Acid and Ethanol; Desorption of Aqueous Ammonia Using a Packed Bed; Batch Drying of a Moist Solid; Batch Distillation of Methanol and Water; and Adsorptive Dehydration of Ethyl Acetate.

Course Objectives

Since we approach ChE 234 and 236 as a two-semester sequence, they have similar learning objectives:

• reinforce and extend the principles forwarded in theory courses; • introduce and hone methods of engineeering experimentation; and • hone professional skills especially relative to technical communication.

These objectives therefore carry student expectations that include:

• understand underlying physicochemical phenomena involved in each laboratory experiment; • apply statistical design of experiments and statistically interpret experimental results; and • articulate results and theoretical concepts through oral presentations, written reports, graphical

Ybarra, R. M. (1999, June), Introduction Of Process Dissection And Reintegration Into The Undergraduate Laboratory Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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