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Realistic Reaction Engineering Experiments For The Undergraduate Curriculum

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.970.1 - 8.970.7



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Paper Authors

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Mariano Savelski

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Stephanie Farrell

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Robert Hesketh

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C. Stewart Slater

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Kevin Dahm

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

Session 1526

Realistic Reaction Engineering Experiments for the Undergraduate Curriculum

Kevin D. Dahm, Stephanie Farrell, Robert P. Hesketh and Mariano J. Savelski Department of Chemical Engineering, Rowan University


The pedagogy of teaching chemical reaction engineering is continually advancing through the use of new computational tools such as POLYMATH and MATLAB; interactive computer applications; and a new emphasis in textbooks on relating theory to industrially relevant chemical reactions. What is currently lacking in this area are chemical reaction engineering experiments that employ realistic reaction engineering systems. Nearly all of the reaction engineering experiments, reported in the literature, employ simple systems that can be described using a single overall reaction. In addition most laboratory experiments do not examine the process fluid mechanics of the reactor and how this effects the product distribution. As a result, students only visualize reactors through theory and do not experience realistic reactor systems in their undergraduate courses. This lack of experience eliminates a major engineering challenge in designing and troubleshooting a reactor in which the yield and selectivity are optimized along with the process economics.

Using funding obtained through an NSF-CCLI grant, the Rowan University department of chemical engineering is developing apparatus and procedures for several reaction engineering experiments that go beyond the traditional single-reaction PFR or CSTR. These experiments will introduce undergraduate students to such topics as biological reacting systems, by-product formation, micromixing and its affect on product distributions, and the effects of scale-up. The students will be exposed to these concepts in an inductive manner through hands-on laboratory experience and then examine the theory behind the systems and why the traditional ideal models do not apply. This paper will describe the progress in the development of two experiments: biological reactors and micromixing.

Bioreaction Engineering Experiments

Several universities have introduced biochemical engineering courses and laboratories into their chemical engineering curricula, primarily at the senior level as elective courses. Nam Sun Wang at the University of Maryland has developed an extensive biochemical engineering laboratory, and has introduced several experiments that explore in depth free and immobilized enzyme kinetics, as well as a continuous bioreactor. The experiments developed at Rowan have been 1 adapted from those described by Dr. Wang .

The objectives of the experiments are to:

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2002, American Society for Engineering Education

Savelski, M., & Farrell, S., & Hesketh, R., & Slater, C. S., & Dahm, K. (2003, June), Realistic Reaction Engineering Experiments For The Undergraduate Curriculum Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11950

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