June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.1158.1 - 26.1158.9
MIXING IN THE CHEMICAL ENGINEERING CURRICULUMChemical engineers are required to design and operate processes separating things that are mixedand mixing things that are separated. Sometimes these things must be heated or cooled as theyare processed. They are also expected to successfully scale-up processes from lab-scale,operating on a bench, through pilot to commercial scale.Mixing is a crucial operation in the process industries yet it is rarely covered in the chemicalengineering curriculum. Smith1 estimated that, in 1990, the US chemical industry lostapproximately $10 billion a year due to poorly designed or operated mixing processes. Reasonsinclude lower yield in competitive reactions, longer than expected batch times on scale-up andpoor understanding of the impact of complex fluid rheology on mixer design all of which maydelay commercialization. Twenty years later these numbers have increased significantly.Given the recognized importance of mixing as a discipline it may be surprising that fewuniversities offer a formal course on the subject.There are a number of organizations offering continuing education courses on mixing and thisshould be taken as an indication of its importance to the chemical industry. These include theCenter for Professional Advancement, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and theBritish Hydromechanics Research Group. Also a number of larger companies employing mixingspecialists offer in-house training to their employees.Often a formal course cannot be added to the curriculum due to time constraints but a singlelecture could be included in other courses such as fluid mechanics, reaction engineering andtransfer processes, that would show how the concepts being taught can be applied to mixerdesign and operation. These lectures could be made available as webinars aimed atundergraduates and more broadly to engineers in industry seeking continuing education.The equipment required to perform a series of experiments demonstrating various mixingoperations has been developed by Professor Roy Penney at the University of Arkansas2. Theequipment required and some of the experiments that can be performed will be described.1. Smith, J. M., “Industrial needs for mixing research”, Trans. IChemE, 68, pp. 3 – 6, 1990.2. Penney, W. R., “Table-top fluid mixing experiments for the laboratory or classroom”, In MIXING XXII, Victoria, BC, Canada, June 2010.
Grenville, R. K. (2015, June), Mixing in the Chemical Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24495
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