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Reactorlab.Net Laboratory Simulations

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1039.1 - 9.1039.10

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Paper Authors

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Richard Herz

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

Session 1526 Laboratory Simulations Richard K. Herz Chemical Engineering Program & Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department University of California, San Diego, USA 92093-0411

Abstract provides simulations of a variety of chemical reactors for use in chemistry and chemical engineering education. The overall software framework is field-independent; only individual lab modules are field-specific. The software framework is that of a "rich client" or "Internet application," with full Internet communication capabilities. The software is scripted in a very-high-level, platform-independent language, Runtime Revolution, with only the core engine application files being specific to processor-OS platforms. The overall development and deployment strategy is similar to that of Sun’s Java and Microsoft’s .NET but can be implemented and maintained faster and with less training.

A student initially downloads the core software - engine application file and byte-code-compiled scripts - from Students have the option of working on- or off-line. Whenever a student goes on-line, the core software on the student's computer automatically updates itself when new versions of files are available on the server. The core engine application file contains only enough script to "bootstrap" itself and, thus, is not updated except when major new features are added to the core engine, e.g., annually or less often. Lab modules a student accesses on the net are saved locally so that the student can work off-line. When they go back on-line and new versions of a lab are available, the local copy is automatically updated.

Students can perform experiments, view results, and save data for analysis with commercial data analysis software such as Excel or Matlab. Many labs have quizzes in which each student gets a unique set of unknowns, with student responses being scored automatically with virtual $. The Lab "conference room" allows students to post messages to a bulletin board, and "chat" with other on-line users who have the conference room feature active. Non-networked versions of the Lab are available in Spanish and Portuguese.


Early in my teaching career I realized that only a small subset of people, which includes college professors, can learn solely by reading or by listening to someone talk for extended periods. In order to enhance the learning of all students, especially those that do not belong to this subset, I wanted to supplement lectures with demonstrations and "hands on" experiments in a lab.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering”

Herz, R. (2004, June), Reactorlab.Net Laboratory Simulations Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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