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Molecules Moving Through Monoliths: Is This Civil Engineering?

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.415.1 - 3.415.5



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Marilyn Barger Hillsborough Community College

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

Session 2615

Molecules Moving through Monoliths: Is this Civil Engineering?

Marilyn Barger FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

Abstract There are three equal and extremely important attributes of all engineering science concepts as presented in an ABET approved engineering curriculum. They are fundamental, immutable, and the essence of every engineering discipline. One such fundamental concept is molecular diffusion. Although traditionally a hallmark of chemical engineering education, historically, civil engineering education has presented diffusion concepts as a “just in time” tool to solve particular problems. However, a change in this presentation paradigm is necessary if the discipline is to meet one of the major challenges of the 21 st century. It is anticipated that tomorrow’s employers will give junior engineers assignments that require an expanded experience and knowledge base of such concepts so that they will be able to immediately relate to and work effectively within interdisciplinary engineering and science teams.

It is relatively easy for civil engineering programs to extrapolate the role that important engineering science principles like the diffusion concept play in the various aspects of its diverse courses. In fact, this fundamental concept is introduced in most freshman chemistry experiences and, therefore, is available as a topic for discussion and development in any civil engineering course. Topic areas where diffusion’s role can be expanded or further explored include construction materials, corrosion phenomena, and the fate of chemicals in the environment. The goal, however, is not just to extend the role that such phenomena plays in a given course or even a curriculum, but to use it as a topical tool to broaden engineering student’s minds to encompass the role global phenomena like diffusion play in the creative aspects of all engineering decision.

This presentation will present possibilities for exploring, expanding, and extending the use of the diffusion concept as a means of providing information and background for civil engineering students to see its applicability in many diverse domains and dramas. Possibilities include the total immersion in a multi-disciplinary course, the integration of interdisciplinary diffusion-related problems into appropriate courses, and the utilization of the underlying mathematical models as the common link. Resources for each of these avenues will be provided.

Interdisciplinary Courses Why not take the spirit of the ABET 2000 to its ultimate task and offer an interdisciplinary course co-taught by professionals in different fields? Such a course, Chemical Fate and Transport in the Environment, was first offered in the fall semester of 1997. Several novel and exciting course components made it challenging to develop and present, but ultimately rewarding to the students. First, the course has an instructional team consisting of one chemical and one environmental engineer. Second, these teaching resources are not in the same department. Third, these resources are not even in the same university or city. Fourth, it has students enrolled in two separate courses that are offered separately and independently by the Civil Engineering Department at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering in Tallahassee and the Chemical Engineering Department of the University of South Florida in Tampa. Finally, the

Barger, M. (1998, June), Molecules Moving Through Monoliths: Is This Civil Engineering? Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7294

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