Asee peer logo

Mixing in the Chemical Engineering Curriculum

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Laboratory Experiences in Chemical Engineering

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1158.1 - 26.1158.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Richard K. Grenville Philadelphia Mixing Solutions Ltd.

visit author page

Richard Grenville is Director of Mixing Technology at Philadelphia Mixing Solutions and has 30 years of experience in the field of mixing.

He studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Nottingham in the UK, graduating in 1983, and started work as an Applications Engineer for Chemineer.

He then went to work at the Fluid Mixing Processes consortium, which is managed by the British Hydromechanics Research Group, as a Project Engineer. His main area of research was mixing of non-Newtonian fluids. He also registered as a graduate student at Cranfield Institute of Technology and received his PhD in 1992.

He then joined DuPont as a mixing consultant in the Engineering department working on a wide variety of projects including the Cellulosic Ethanol plant which is under construction in Nevada, Iowa.

In 2013 he joined Philadelphia Mixing Solutions as Director of Mixing Technology.

He co-teaches courses on mixing at Rowan University in New Jersey and at the University of Delaware and is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers.

He was recently elected as the vice-president of the North American Mixing Forum and will become president in 2016.

visit author page

Download Paper |


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

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015