August 23, 2022
June 26, 2022
June 29, 2022
Northeastern University specializes in opportunities for experiential learning, both through a co-op program as well as through direct coursework. The style of experiential and inquiry-based learning have been particularly reinforced through two intermediate-level Unit Operations courses, in which students have been tasked with developing experiments, selecting measurement parameters, and designing analysis. Students’ previous experiences have been utilized in the development of final projects for their Process Control course.
In order to provide a culmination of the entire Process Control course and to challenge students to design a complete controls system relying on some combination of feedback, feedforward, and/or cascade control, a final project was designed to connect the concept of Control to a real-world system. Student teams were given the option of selecting from six different modules they had observed and analyzed in a previous laboratory course, including distillation, liquid-liquid extraction, heat exchangers, reverse osmosis, and water remediation. These modules had required complete manual control, and had a range of parameters that could be adjusted during operation. For their final project, students were challenged to design a complete control system that required them to select control variables, handle multiple disturbances, and operate within acceptable limits. Students derived overall balances, designed block diagrams, calculated tuning parameters both by hand and through simulation software, and analyzed their proposed control system for stability and economic viability.
The project culminated in both a technical written report and a presentation. Across three semesters and multiple sections, every team has designed a different system resulting in different quality of control. Requiring the students to defend their design decisions and forcing them to account for a range of disturbances has helped students develop a much more complete grasp of Process Control and given them greater confidence exiting the course.
This presentation will provide examples of the modules and assessment of the project.
Landherr, L., & Pfluger, C. (2022, August), Process Control Final Projects Inspired By Real Unit Operations Laboratory Modules Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/41396
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: © 2022 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