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Unit Operations Lab Bazaar: Assessment of Miniature Industrial Equipment

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Poster Sessions for Unit Operations Lab Bazaar and Tenure-Track Faculty

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1580.1 - 22.1580.16



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Paper Authors


Laura Coon Washington State University

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A recent graduate of WSU, Laura aspires to find learning and understanding in everything she does. Born and raised in Seattle, WA Laura is 22 and loving every minute of life as a chemical engineer. During her education at WSU she worked under Dr. Bernard Van Wie in heat transfer and fluid flow education research, specifically assessing the desktop learning module double pipe and shell and tube cartridges.

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Paul B. Golter Washington State University Orcid 16x16

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Paul B. Golter obtained an M.S. from Washington State University and recently defended his Ph.D. degree and is currently the Laboratory Supervisor in the Voiland School of School of Chemical Engineering and Bio-engineering at WSU. He is married with three children. 509-338-5724.

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Derek Allen Cline Washington State University


David B. Thiessen Washington State University Orcid 16x16

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David B.Thiessen received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado in
1992 and has been at Washington State University since 1994. His research interests include fluid
physics, acoustics, and engineering education.

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Bernard J. Van Wie Washington State University

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Prof. Bernard J. Van Wie did his B.S., M.S., Ph.D., and postdoctoral work at the University of Oklahoma where he also taught as a Visiting Lecturer. He has been on the Washington State University faculty for 28 years and over the past 14 years has focused strongly on innovative pedagogy along with his technical research in biotechnology. His recent Fulbright Exchange to Nigeria set the stage for receipt of the Marian Smith Award given annually to the most innovative teacher at WSU. 509-335-4103 (Off); 509-335-4806 (Fax);

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Unit Operations Lab Bazaar: Assessment of Miniature Industrial EquipmentThere is a need for lower cost undergraduate Unit Operations equipment to meet needs atbudget constrained colleges and universities, and industrial technology programs. Thereis a further need to reduce the space in which equipment is housed and to design flexiblesystems that can perform more than one task, especially for emerging Departments or incountries where Departments must rent space from the Universities. At our Universitywe have developed a way to meet these needs by providing miniaturized low-costindustrial equipment on the size order of a dollar bill and in the form of interchangeablecartridges. Clear plastic casing allows students to “uncover” the fluid flow arrangementand meaning behind the various pitches, tubes sizes, spacings, turns and basic geometrythat encompass typical equipment and are used in mathematical modeling of suchsystems. Our cartridges snap into a base desktop sized module unit that contains fluidreservoirs, flow meters and temperature and pressure readouts.In this paper we focus in particular on one type of miniaturized unit, the traditional heatexchanger. A challenge with miniaturization is how flow profiles will affect pressuredrops and heat transfer coefficients. While reliable correlations exist for pilot andindustrial scale equipment, we need to know whether, for smaller geometries, analyseswill be impacted by issues such as underdevelopment of flow profiles due to short tubelengths, or exorbitant heat and friction losses occur because of un-insulated surfaces andlarge surface area to volume ratios. Herein, we present an assessment of a very smallscale shell and tube heat exchanger. We show times to steady state on the order of 10 –20 sec, which are actually superior to those of larger units, that pressure drop calculationsare in reasonable alignment with actual measured values, and that heat transfercorrelations at least offer reasonable agreement with experimental values. We addstudent responses on how they learn about common industrial processes when using the“see through” miniaturized systems as opposed to larger pilot scale units.

Coon, L., & Golter, P. B., & Cline, D. A., & Thiessen, D. B., & Van Wie, B. J. (2011, June), Unit Operations Lab Bazaar: Assessment of Miniature Industrial Equipment Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18383

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