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Undergraduate Engineering Program In Nanomaterials, Macromolecules And Interfaces

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Looking at the ChE Curriculum

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1303.1 - 13.1303.10



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Paper Authors

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Annette Jacobson Carnegie Mellon University

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Rosemary Frollini Carnegie Mellon University

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Susana Steppan Carnegie Mellon University

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

Undergraduate Engineering Program in Nanoparticles, Macromolecules and Interfaces


A coursework sequence for chemical engineering undergraduates is offered by the Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces (CPS) Program at Carnegie Mellon University to provide education about technology applications in nanomaterials, macromolecules and interfaces. This program has developed and improved over the last 30 years for two main reasons: continued interest from industry to hire graduates with this background and the sustained expertise and commitment of faculty in these research areas. The coursework includes the physical chemistry of colloids and polymers coupled with an intensive lab experience that covers classical physical characterization methods. The lab experience also includes exposure to examples of relevant products and processes used in industry. Recently, the program was expanded to a minor in Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces (CPS) and is available to all engineering majors in the college of engineering at Carnegie Mellon. A short review of the program content will be presented. Assessment of the program will include input from employers and graduates of the program. This paper describes how a novel program to enhance undergraduate education in engineering developed because of an alliance that was formed between industry and the research university.

History of the Program

An elective undergraduate four course sequence in Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces (CPS) was initiated for chemical engineering students in 1978 at Carnegie Mellon University. It followed logically from the introduction of a graduate program in 1972 that granted a Master of Science degree on these topics. In 2003, the coursework sequence was offered to all engineering undergraduates at Carnegie Mellon, with the purpose of providing these topics to an increasing audience of students interested in engineering applications of nanomaterials and macromolecules. This paper describes how the development of a Master’s program resulted in a minor for engineering undergraduates that is relevant to industrial technology.

The CPS graduate program developed because the late Dr. Howard Gerhart, then vice president for R&D at PPG Industries and later adjunct professor of chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, took the lead in approaching Carnegie Mellon with specifics of his company’s needs in basic training and continuing education for technical employees. His requirements fit well with existing planning by the polymer research group of the chemistry department to launch a graduate curriculum in polymers and by the chemical engineering department to introduce colloid and surface science as a focus for graduate study. The result was a new interdisciplinary graduate program titled “Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces”, beginning with lecture courses in 1972 and hands-on laboratory training added in 1974. On the academic side it was a cooperative effort under the direction of Professor D. Fennell Evans, employing personnel and physical resources of both the chemistry and chemical engineering departments. Input of R&D supervisors from eight local industries came from the Advisory Board, who participated in major policy decisions and periodic reviews, and encouraged qualified employees

Jacobson, A., & Frollini, R., & Steppan, S. (2008, June), Undergraduate Engineering Program In Nanomaterials, Macromolecules And Interfaces Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4139

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