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Two Experiments For The Introductory Chemical Reaction Engineering Course

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1361.1 - 10.1361.8



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Paper Authors

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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

Two Experiments for the Introductory Chemical Reaction Engineering Course

Kevin Dahm Rowan University


The Rowan University Department of Chemical Engineering has received an NSF-CCLI grant to develop realistic chemical reaction engineering experiments for the undergraduate curriculum. Two of these experiments were an esterification reaction carried out in a packed bed, and a competitive reaction in which the kinetics were influenced by micromixing.

The first experiment is the esterification of ethanol and acetic acid to form ethyl acetate. The reaction is carried out in a fixed-bed reactor with Purolite resin 269 acting as a catalyst. Students first examine this esterification reaction in their organic chemistry class, and the focus is on the esterification reaction mechanism. The packed bed experiment developed in this project re-examines this reaction from a chemical engineering perspective. For example, the reaction is reversible and equilibrium-limited, but in the organic chemistry lab, there is no examination of the kinetics. The complementary chemical engineering experiment examines the relationship between residence time and conversion.

The second experiment is a competitive system involving these two reactions:

H2BO3- + H+ ↔ H3BO3

5I- + IO3- + 6H+ → 3I2 + 3H2O

The first reaction is essentially instantaneous, the second fast but orders of magnitude slower. Thus, when H+ is added as the limiting reagent, a perfectly mixed system would produce essentially no I2. Production of a significant quantity of I2 is attributed to a local excess of H+; a condition in which all H2BO3- in a region is consumed and H+ remains to react with I- and IO3-. This experiment gives the students an example of the limitations of the idealized reactor models upon which most of the introductory course is based.

Apparatus and procedures for each of these experiments have been completed and presented in previous NSF Grantee’s Poster sessions. In the spring of 2005, for the first

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Dahm, K. (2005, June), Two Experiments For The Introductory Chemical Reaction Engineering Course Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14453

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