Education for Chemical Engineers

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 1749-7728
Publications
Article
From the European and national perspectives the analysis of policy implementation tends to focus on aspects related to the legal framework. At these levels, institutions offer “the vision of a triumphant march towards the objectives set for 2010” [Veiga, A., Amaral, A., 2006b, The open method of co-ordination and the implementation of Bologna process. Tert Educ Manage, 12(4): 283–295]. There are several factors influencing this perspective: policy implementation is viewed as a linear process, which is an outdated perspective and obscures a number of interlocking dimensions; the political time is not aligned with the academic time, preventing a reform in substance and the competitive emulation practices emphasising the role of performance indicators stress the economic dimension [Neave, G., 2005, On snowballs, slopes and the process of Bologna: some testy reflections on the advance of higher education in Europe, ARENA—Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo; Veiga, A., Amaral, A., 2006b, The open method of co-ordination and the implementation of Bologna process. Tert Educ Manage, 12(4): 283–295]. From the local perspective, the perceptions show that higher education institutions (HEIs) often use alternative interpretations of Bologna that suit their institutional strategies.
 
Article
Converting biological discoveries into commercial-scale processes requires that graduating chemical engineers obtain an understanding of modern bioprocess principles. This paper describes the development and implementation of a 5-week long protein production project into a multidisciplinary upper level elective course on bioprocess engineering.The protein production project was developed and implemented during the Fall 2006 semester and repeated during the Fall 2007 semester. A key element of the protein production project was the competition between student groups. Group performance was rated using a production rubric, and the team with the highest score was guaranteed an “A” on the project. The rubric included equipment rental costs and production bonuses for producing large quantities of protein of high purity. The equipment rental costs were carefully determined to encourage continued student experimentation in the laboratory. The competitive nature of the project captures students driven by achievement or instrumental types of motivation, which are not necessarily engaged by traditional problem-solving homework assignments.Final exam results for the course with the protein production challenge were compared to previous course offerings which used a literature review project, in an attempt to evaluate the impact of the project on student performance. No statistically significant conclusions could be drawn but the results suggested that the protein production challenge was at least as effective as the previous project. In addition, the course evaluation survey showed the protein production challenge was the single most popular aspect of the course.
 
Article
Teaching the engineering design competency is a challenging task in a classical face-to-face classroom environment, and an even greater challenge in a distance learning context. This study presents the activities of a North American Mobility Program (NAMP) project entitled Process Integration for Environmental Control in Engineering Curricula. Seventeen modules were developed using a tiered approach to web-based learning which in combination with classroom-based activities, aim at addressing design engineering know-how. The use of a web-based module employing the tiered-structure in a postgraduate course was evaluated, and it was found that the module enhanced communication amongst students as well as between the instructor and the students.
 
Article
Teaching chemical engineering has always been faced with a dilemma: either keep in touch with industry needs or incorporate new scientific concepts into the curriculum. In this paper, a short historical analysis of the evolution of chemical engineering teaching is presented and the recent trends of the two previous facets (industry and science) are briefly reviewed. The process vs product engineering concept is proposed as one of the means to achieve a better alignment between the curriculum and industry needs. A chemical engineering teaching framework, based in part on a product and a process oriented component, which has been in place in our department 5 years ago, is described and discussed. The concept of sustainable chemistry, including process and product considerations, which can be seen as the next frontier in chemical engineering education, is finally analysed from the education point of view.
 
Article
The teaching of ethics in engineering poses challenges to teachers as well as to accreditors who need to identify and assess the ethical content of the engineering curriculum. If a stand-alone module on ethics is offered, the task might appear easy; however, the introduction of ethics within an engineering degree should not be constrained to a single module, but rather considered in relation to the whole curriculum. Consequently, the accreditors face a harder task: questions such as, “how should the modules been looked at?”, “how should the assessment of ethics been carried out?” are just examples clarifying the difficulty. Since the accreditation is based on learning outcomes, additional challenges arise when devising the questions that the accreditors ask the students. The paper concentrates mainly on the accreditation process; the teaching and assessment of the ethical provision is not considered in detail. A checklist that could be used as a practical tool during accreditation visits is introduced as a possible guide. Although mainly based on the experience drawn from Chemical Engineering in the UK, the results are quite general and could be translated and applied to the majority of engineering curricula worldwide.
 
Article
A three-year project aiming to develop students’ teamwork skills systematically through explicit instruction, opportunities to practice, and formative feedback across the curriculum was carried out in the only chemical engineering department in Hong Kong. The project involved two second-year laboratory courses and a third-year capstone experience (final-year projects). The intended learning outcomes of teamwork skills were assessed by both qualitative and quantitative methods. Multiple sources of evidence showed that students’ understanding of teamwork improved, and their expectations and behaviors changed over the project period. In particular, one common misconception of teamwork as simply a division of labor was altered. The evaluation results also revealed that social loafing widely existed, but students tended not to report it or hold the loafers accountable. Conflict resolution was another issue that students had difficulty in dealing with. These results, along with feedback collected in end-of-project evaluation, identified important behaviors of Chinese students in a team environment and suggested that instructors should focus on helping students develop synergism and handle conflicts explicitly.
 
Article
Integrated chemical and biological processing systems that use biorenewable resources as feedstocks are critical to addressing the world's growing demand for carbon-based consumer products, and can make significant contributions to ensuring environmental sustainability. The United States National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC)1 for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC)2 provides educational programs that attract a diverse group of students into engineering fields to address the world's need to produce globally competitive college graduates capable of designing cost-competitive biorenewable chemicals. CBiRC provides a unique fusion of innovative interdisciplinary research and undergraduate educational opportunities through the CBiRC Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. The REU is an intensive ten-week summer program where students not only learn laboratory research skills, but are also immersed in the interdisciplinary academic environment of the ERC through workshops, seminars, research thrust meetings, and interactions with CBiRC professional staff. In this article, we describe a novel evaluation-supported model for an interdisciplinary undergraduate research program in the field of biorenewable chemicals engineering, which encourages undergraduates to build upon basic research skills to propose creative, innovative, and adaptable solutions to chemical engineering problems.
 
Article
Laboratory work is conventionally addressed to the demonstration of theoretical principles. Traditionally, students pass through several experimental setups and perform a set of tasks following the provided laboratory hand-out. With this procedure, student-oriented approaches, as well as transversal key competences, are poorly developed. To adapt practical subjects of the Chemical Engineering undergraduate degree of the University of Barcelona (Spain) to the European Higher Education Area, teaching-learning methodologies have been progressively revamped during the three academic courses (2009-2012). The main changes were mainly applied on the use of continuous formative assessment methodologies, to increase feedback, to promote collaborative learning and to engage students in ethical commitment. In accordance with the analysis of subject evaluation inquiries and academic marks obtained by students, it can be considered that the teaching-learning process in laboratory subjects has been improved especially in the acquisition/development of transferrable competences as teamwork, professional ethics, oral and written communication, and personal autonomy and self-regulation, which are necessary for personal fulfillment and employability of the chemical engineer in a knowledge-based society.
 
Article
In this work the usefulness of qualitatively studying and drawing three-dimensional temperature–composition diagrams for ternary systems is pointed out to understand and interpret the particular behavior of the liquid–vapour equilibrium of non-ideal ternary systems. Several examples have been used in order to highlight the interest and the possibilities of this tool, which should be an interesting support not only for lecturers, but also for researchers interested in experimental equilibrium data determination.
 
Article
The Piper Alpha disaster of 1988 remains the worst offshore oil platform disaster in history. The loss of 167 lives was caused by a range of factors including human error, poor safety training and poor safety management systems. The events that led up to the first explosion and then the subsequent fires and larger explosions provide an excellent context in which to introduce first year engineering students to the importance of safety in an introductory course. The loss of the Piper Alpha platform has been used as a case study in a general first year engineering subject at the University of Melbourne for several years. This paper begins by describing the background of the platform, the events of July 6, 1988 and the lessons that may be learned from the disaster. The learning around this safety case study is assessed in the class room using concept maps. An analysis of 460 concept maps prepared by the class 15 weeks after the material had been presented to them provides an insight into how well the students integrated and retained the material from the case study. Students recalled well the causes of the disaster as well as the consequences and lessons that should be learned from the incident.
 
Article
Assessment of a sustainable process design centres on the three pillars of sustainability. However, satisfying all criteria is sometimes difficult. Nevertheless, it is important to have an effective and systematic tool for a concrete and justifiable decision. Introduction of such tool into chemical engineering education would be beneficial as students will encounter situations in making decision which may imply deciding on the best process design, suppliers, supply chain, etc. In light of this matter, we introduce a concept called sustainability assessment and selection (SAS) into Computer Aided Plant Design (CAPD) course at Technical University of Berlin. The idea of the methodology is to assess process designs and select one which is most sustainable. Within the framework of this course, a 1-day lecture has been conducted that touch on the methods to assess sustainable process design. It is also aimed to introduce systematic multi-criteria decision making methodology called analytic hierarchy process (AHP). A practical example in choosing n-butane isomerization process designs is illustrated. From the class evaluation we found that the response towards the idea was very promising. We believed the method would add an extra edge to the students especially in performing sustainability assessment and systematically solving multi optional problems that they may encounter in their career.
 
Article
This paper describes a hands-on project that introduces first year engineering students to life cycle assessment (LCA) through the comparison of the environmental impact of the production and use of three diesel fuels: petroleum diesel, biodiesel from new vegetable oil, and biodiesel from waste vegetable oil. The purpose of this LCA project was to incorporate life cycle thinking into the engineering design process, to apply the four main steps of LCA (definition and scope, inventory analysis, impact assessment and improvement assessment), and to explore some of the challenges associated with each step. The inventory for biodiesel production (from both new and waste vegetable oils) was based on measurements obtained by the students in laboratory experiments. The fossil diesel production inventory was obtained from the SimaPro® database. The inventory for the use of all three fuels was obtained from measurements taken during combustion of the fuels in a generator. A cradle-to-grave life cycle analysis was then conducted using SimaPro® for each fuel. The assessment of learning outcomes indicates a significant increase in conceptual understanding of the four stages of life cycle assessment, and an average gain of over 55% in overall knowledge of life cycle assessment.
 
Article
The Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, The University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus has introduced “Year 1 Assessment Week” to replace the conventional coursework assessment method. During the assessment week, the first year students are required to conduct activities in groups. The activities involve elements of experiment, analysis, interpretation and presentation. This paper evaluates and analyse the impacts of such assessment system in promoting transferable skills among the students. Three stages of reflection (Teaching Activity, Reflecting and Interpreting) were conducted throughout the study. Questionnaires completed by the students, feedback from lecturers and self-observations are taken as the measurement of this study. Based on the results from the questionnaires, it is noted that most of the students agreed or strongly agreed with the transferable skills of “data sorting”, “manipulating and analysing”, “logical reasoning”, “communication”, “creativity and innovation”, “safety and teamwork” and “independent learning” were being applied during the assessment week. However, they were uncertain on how the transferable skills of “working within limited and conflicting data” and “information technology” could be applied in the activities during the assessment week. Most of the lecturers agreed that the students achieved the basic requirements of the assessment and fulfilled the learning outcomes. However, some lecturers found that the presentation and report writing skills were not highlighted during the assessment. In addition, some experienced lecturers reflected critically that the limited materials used in some of the activities had limited the creativity of the students.
 
Article
In this work, a very simple exercise is proposed, which can be solved “by hand”, to facilitate the understanding of the application of homotopy methods as rigorous methods for the calculation of complex multicomponent distillation operations in the context of an advanced separation process course for final year students of Chemical Engineering. The problem involves calculating of the liquid–vapour equilibrium data of a binary mixture with a homogeneous maximum azeotrope. The results corresponding to an ideal mixture are considered as the starting point for the application of the homotopy principle, in order to achieve the results corresponding to the non-ideal mixture at the final point of the homotopy pathway. This procedure enables undergraduates to perfectly understand the characteristics of these methods, thus avoiding the mathematic complexity associated with more complex problems, which could need sophisticated software or some type of programming tools.
 
Article
Academic laboratories have been traditionally used for complementing and reinforcing in a practical way the theoretical instruction received in classroom lectures. However, data processing and model evaluation tasks are time consuming and do not add much value to the student’s learning experience as they reduce available time for result analysis, critical thinking and report writing skills development. Therefore, this project addressed this issue by selecting three experiences of the Transport Phenomena Laboratory, namely: metallic bar temperature profiles, transient heat conduction and fixed and fluidised bed behaviour, and developed a spreadsheet for each one of them. These spreadsheets, without demanding programming skills, easily process experimental data sets, evaluate complex analytical and numerical models and correlations, not formerly considered and, convey results in tables and plots. Chemical engineering students that tested the spreadsheets were surveyed and expressed the added value of the sheets, being user-friendly, helped them to fulfil lab objectives by reducing their workload and, allowed them to complete deeper analyses that instructors could not request before, as they were able to quickly evaluate, compare and validate different model assumptions and correlations. Students also provided valuable suggestions for improving the spreadsheet experience. Through these sheets, students’ lab learning experience was updated.
 
Article
This paper outlines the design and implementation of two activity weeks in the autumn (first) and spring (second) semester of a first year Chemical Engineering program at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. Part of both the Chemical and Chemical with Environmental Engineering curriculum, these week long activity weeks were developed to foster students independent learning using open ended tasks, all linked through one overarching “industrial theme”. Designed to combine topics from a number of different taught modules into single problems, the activity weeks introduced students to multimodular problems whose solutions required a student centred approach utilising enhanced student-staff interaction. Feedback is presented from both staff and students, along with problems encountered during implementation and how these were overcome. Students were generally positive about the learning experience, and student performance during the weeks was greater than in the subsequent exams. However, this performance and enhanced interaction with staff came with an associated increase in teaching time required to plan and implement such activities.
 
Article
Biodiesel fuel production and use has been used as the focal point of a semester-long, project-based introductory engineering course at Rowan University. Students worked in teams to conduct a series of laboratory investigations through which they explored the engineering aspects of biodiesel production and purification, properties characterization, quality control and performance testing. The experiments were designed to be cost-effective and transferrable. The laboratory experiments were conducted within the How People Learn framework. An assessment instrument was used as a pre- and post-evaluation method to assess learning outcomes. Students’ gained significantly in learning outcomes areas related to the application of mathematics, science and engineering principles; designing and conducting experiments;. analyzing and interpreting experimental data, and solving engineering problems.
 
Article
This paper describes the development of synthetic biology as a distinct entity from current industrial biotechnology and the implications for a future based on its concepts. The role of the engineering design cycle, in synthetic biology is established and the difficulties in making and exact analogy between the two emphasised. It is suggested that process engineers can offer experience in the application of synthetic biology to the manufacture of products which should influence the approach of the synthetic biologist. The style of teaching for synthetic biology appears to offer a new approach at undergraduate level and the challenges to the education of process engineers in this technology are raised. Possible routes to the development of synthetic biology teaching are suggested.
 
Article
Among the technologies used to treat wastewater, the Submerged Membrane Bioreactor (SMBR) has excellent prospects because of the possibility it provides for water reuse. In this work, an SMBR computer simulator is developed. A mathematical model was implemented, which integrated the biological degradation process using activated sludges with the physical separation process using membranes. The simulator functioning was validated with experimental results and its use in teaching was evaluated through the development of a simulated laboratory running for three and a half hours. This gave access to trends and orders of magnitude that would take more than fifteen months to obtain with real experiments. It was successfully used and accepted by the students.
 
Article
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has been incorporated into a chemical engineering curriculum at the intermediate undergraduate level. CFD has now become a component of professional life in engineering practice and to prepare students properly, they must get exposure to all aspects of their chosen profession. Issues of concern arise when mathematical modelling is being introduced into a curriculum. For example, at the practical level, it must be considered whether or not an appropriate platform has been developed to allow the students to use the software efficiently and importantly without frustration. Also it is important that students have been taught sufficient skills for the student to continue with simulations in a systematic and methodical manner. The incorporation of the CFD package into a traditional chemical engineering curriculum is described here, and evaluation results based on pre-post knowledge and skill experiments, and student survey results document successful learning outcomes and effectiveness of the approach.
 
Article
More than 2500 undergraduate chemical engineering students in 15 universities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam were surveyed on the industries that they would like to work in on completion of their degrees. In general the popularity of the individual industrial sectors varied considerably between countries and in several instances between institutions in the same country. In 10 of the 15 institutions the bioprocess engineering sectors including biotechnology, pharmacology, biomedical engineering and the food and beverage industries attracted the largest proportion of first preferences.
 
Article
Three fictional scenarios are presented which pose ethical dilemmas set against industrial chemical engineering environments. These scenarios are designed for use in the undergraduate chemical engineering curriculum and present the participating students with a range of ethical dilemmas. The ethical situations considered include levels of professional honesty and integrity, whistle-blowing, loyalty to ones company and client, and conflict of interest. Their simple nature allows vigorous discussions between students working in groups and between the students and the class facilitator. The scenarios are designed to confront undergraduate chemical engineering students with the sort of challenging situations that they might be faced with as graduate engineers. The use of the scenarios has proven to be very popular with the students with nearly all being actively engaged in the discussions.
 
Article
Over three semesters, every lecture in a second year chemical engineering subject was begun with a safety share, a 2 to 4 minute discussion on some aspect of safety. This reflects the practice in many industries today in which all meetings, no matter what the topic, begin with a brief discussion on some aspect of safety. The content of the safety shares were not relevant to the lecture material of the subject which covered material and energy balances and students were advised that the content would not be examinable. The safety shares covered general advice on safe practice including the importance of situational awareness and working in confined spaces. Other safety shares discussed case studies that allowed concepts such as human factors and the dangers of static electricity to be introduced. A survey of the three cohorts after the subjects had been completed showed that the students found the safety shares to be a good way to introduce the importance of safety in the work place. They found the shares interesting and did not consider the time spent on them at the start of the classes to be wasted. Over fifty safety shares used in the classes are presented.
 
Article
Two new fictional scenarios are presented which pose ethical dilemmas set against industrial chemical engineering environments. These scenarios are designed for use in the undergraduate chemical engineering curriculum and present the participating students with a range of ethical dilemmas. Their simple nature allows vigorous discussions between students working in groups and between the students and the class facilitator. The scenarios are designed to confront undergraduate chemical engineering students with the sort of challenging situations that they might be faced with as graduate engineers. When surveyed the clear majority of students found the material presented to be both informative and useful in illustrating ethics principles.
 
Article
The concepts of thermal radiation heat transfer are not tangible for many students. Experiments relied on various parameters can clarify the concepts of this mode of heat transfer.A lab-scale set up is described to study the thermal radiation heat transfer experiments. An electrical circuit of the thermopile sensor is designed and manufactured to provide experimental data.The validity of Inverse Square, Stefan–Boltzmann, and Kirchhoff Laws are investigated experimentally in the setup. Results indicate that, it is necessary to consider temperature shifts in the thermopile cold junction which is a potential source of error. Therefore, the output voltage, corresponding to the sensor temperature, should be noted upon each measurement.Moreover, during the experiment, thermopile characteristics which affected the recorded data are reported. Wide angle of view and spectral response of the thermopile are found to be the main source of errors.Finally, in order to decrease errors, some suggestions as the feedback of students experiments and comments, are proposed to improve both the methods and the instruments.
 
Article
This paper deals with the development of a real laboratory plant with a web based process control system for training of students over the Internet and demonstration purposes. The system is described in detail on the example of a fully automated distillation column for the separation of ethanol–water mixture. The process–user-interface is implemented using the tomcat container with a JSP application and the OPC interface API. Furthermore a real-time video streaming is used for the online visualization of the plant. Finally, the successful evaluation of the tool is exemplarily presented for a troubleshooting task as a didactical scenario.
 
Article
A two-level full factorial design and/or a central composite design are used to optimize the operation of a distillation column by manipulating three variables: the feed flow rate, the reflux ratio and the steam flow to the reboiler. The response variable of interest is a profit function where the objective of this experiment is to examine the effect of each of the three factors and their interactions on this profit function. This is accomplished in a sieve tray type continuous distillation column operated at ambient pressure to separate a methanol–isopropanol mixture. Students were asked to determine the significant variables and the optimal operating conditions for steam rate, reflux ratio and feed rate such that the profit is maximized. As a result, this experiment not only exposes students to an industrially relevant unit operation but it also helps complement the classroom teaching on design of experiment concepts.
 
Article
A novel teaching remote controlled experiment is described concerning the solute movement through an adsorption column. A packed-bed column filled with 5A zeolite was inserted in a thermostatic oven and connected to a TCD detector. The complete set-up can be remotely controlled and visualized alive using an internet connected camera to improve the sense of reality. The experiment purpose was to assist and motivate students regarding a topic that usually they demonstrate difficulty to assimilate, which is the prediction of concentration fronts behavior by using the solute movement theory (SMT). The set-up is versatile to study breakthrough curves and feed pulses. Two loops of 2 cm3 and 5 cm3 allow the injection of O2 or N2 adsorbate species that have different isotherms type and consequently concentration fronts history. Interaction between shock and diffuse waves is addressed for the narrow pulse case of 2 cm3. Also, students are able to obtain the nitrogen and oxygen isotherms at different temperatures for the 5A zeolite (chromatographic method) and compare those isotherms with those obtained by the volumetric method; the latter is used as reference method.
 
Article
Propagation of uncertainty refers to evaluation of uncertainty in output(s) given uncertainty in input(s). This can be across a physical process, or can be predicted based on a process model. Uncertainty can be propagated analytically, by application of Taylor series variance propagation, or numerically, through repeated Monte-Carlo simulations. Propagation of uncertainty is an important concept in process engineering statistics, which is not currently widely taught. In this paper, an approach is provided for teaching uncertainty propagation as part of a larger process engineering statistics course, applying analytical and numerical propagation principles, including consideration of correlation in inputs. A saline blending practical is used as a case study, with experimental and theoretical determination of how variability in feed pump flows determines variability in outlet conductivity. Based on a class of 132 2nd year Chemical Engineering students, learning outcomes in analytical and numerical linear and non-linear propagation models can be attained and enhanced applicability and engagement within the core statistics course. An engagement survey particularly noted that the students recognised the importance of propagation as a technical capability, but noted difficulties in linking the experimental work to theory of propagation. Overall, propagation of uncertainty allows educators to increase the direct relevance of statistics to process engineering and engage with students through their existing analytical capabilities.
 
Article
A computational MATLAB Tool with examples based on typical Chemical Engineering (ChE) problems has been designed. The Tool is intended to assist students with the development of problem-solving skills and to encourage cross-course learning in the first-year ChE curriculum. The Tool is module-based, with each module consisting of problems from a first-year ChE course. Each of the problems is solved with emphasis placed on the specific problem-solving methodology followed to reach the solution and includes an application of MATLAB, the programming language taught in the first-year ChE computational programming course. Extension problems for additional practice are also included. The Tool has been specifically designed for first-year students to help them develop their programming skills early in their education and to encourage connections between the first-year ChE courses. The Tool has been used by first-year ChE students and their feedback is presented. A copy of the MATLAB Tool can be obtained by contacting the corresponding author.
 
Article
This paper presents a computational laboratory that describes the ionic transport of chemical species in an electrochemical process. The system is modeled in 1D using a kinetic model type Butler–Volmer coupled with mass balance equations, i.e. Nernst–Planck formalism. This laboratory is intended to be a practical learning tool to study the deposition of chemical species, e.g. Cu2+, subject to the typical mass transfer mechanisms, i.e. diffusion, migration and convection. Sensitivity analyses are used to analyze the effect of each mass transport phenomena over the process reaction rate. The material showed in this paper is a section (laboratory) of two third-year courses in the Nanotechnology and Chemical Engineering undergraduate programs at the University of Waterloo. The pedagogical goals, learning experiences and students’ comments of this laboratory are presented in this work.
 
Article
The current studies describe integrating computer application for some undergraduate course that is user-friendly, inexpensive and easy to use. The process control and utility design is a compulsory course for third year undergraduate students in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Fuzzy logic control enables designers to control complex systems more effectively than traditional methods. Teaching students fuzzy logic only in theory using a process control module can be a task that is time-consuming and does not present a challenge. The development of a real-time fuzzy logic control system for controlling bioreactor parameters, such as pH and reaction temperature, during the isomerisation of fructose by immmobilised glucose isomerase (IGI) from S. murinus. Use of fuzzy logic control system enhanced fructose production in all of the bioreactors tested as indicated by integrated absolute error (IAE) and integrated square error (ISE) values that were less than one. Two methods of calculation known as the method of Kern and the method of Bell-Delware were used in designing the utility. The difference between the two methods was that the effect of leakage and bypass flow that occurs on the shell side is not involved in the Kern method. Design software utilities such as Bell-Delware currently use a combination of methods and algorithms, including a genetic algorithm to produce a design with more utility. In this study, two types of utilities were under consideration; the shell and tube type and the multi-effect evaporator. By setting design parameters such as the dimensions of the tube, the calculation can be carried out to obtain the heat transfer area and cost. Utility design software development was performed using MATLAB software version 7.8, which is equipped with various advanced applications. Based on the analysis of the comparison between the use of a manual method and the use of software for the calculation of the four utilities, the overall average difference was less than 15%.
 
Article
This work differentiates itself from most educational based multimedia resources by catering for two distinct audience groups. The first group is undergraduate process engineering students in a number of Australian institutions, whereas the second group represents operational staff at the industrial facilities covered by the interface. This presents challenges in pedagogy, educational pitch, industrial relations and project management. It has also added a sales driver to the project as we market the resource to industry as an operator training resource. The learning environment is based around spherical imagery of real operating plants coupled with interactive embedded activities and content. This virtual reality (VR) learning tool has been developed by applying aspects of relevant educational theory and proven instructive teaching approaches. Principles such as constructivism, interactivity, cognitive load and learner-centred design have been central considerations when constructing and structuring this resource. Structural challenges include determining a framework for the basic environment, the repository for the VR and activities, as well as the development of a learning platform arrangement to support self-directed learning in the interface. Some of the system's current functionality is demonstrated through snapshots of the screen configuration. Future developments within the interface are revealed. Crown
 
Article
A new study in peer presentation of Threshold Concepts as the focus of learning in two core chemical engineering undergraduate courses has shown that students benefit from an explanatory and illustrative presentation they give to their class peers in place of the traditional lecturer. The methodology was that the lecturer identified a (progressively linked) inventory of Threshold Concepts and had students critically prepare and then explain these in brief (3–5 min) presentation-and-question sessions to their cohort. The inventory was informed by Rowbottom's (2007) notion of looking for abilities for which a concept is necessary. The two courses were a level III core course on separations processing with 74 students and a level IV elective in specialist heat transfer with 15 students. Students welcomed and highly valued this type of learning with more than 90% agreeing that it improved understanding of the course material both because it revealed things better than their experiences in lectures and because it promoted a mental organisation of necessary course ideas. It is concluded that peer presentations of Threshold Concepts is a useful and economic instrument to overcoming traditional barriers to student learning. The findings could be readily applied to other courses in distinctive chemical engineering thinking and practise.
 
Article
This paper expects to give some guidelines for undergraduate students about how to implement environmental considerations in chemical process design and how the introduction of these issues could have an important effect on the results obtained in the multiobjective problem optimization when economic and environmental aspects are considered simultaneously.For this work, a representative flowsheet of many chemical and petrochemical processes has been considered. This processing scheme works with a feedstock containing some inert and with not very high conversion per pass in the reactor.Therefore, the influence of the quality of raw materials, the installation of additional stages for treating effluents, the environmental impact and the optimum conversion of the chemical process are evaluated, attending both environmental and economic criteria.Our goals were, first to show how to identify the tradeoffs of a representative chemical process when environmental and economic considerations are included simultaneously in the design and its optimization. Secondly, how feedstock quality and additional waste treatment stages affect to the results obtained in the multiobjective optimization: minimize the total cost of the installation and its environmental impact.As a result, the final objective of this paper is to teach undergraduate students how multi-objective optimization could be used to make better decisions in the design of chemical processes, taking into account both economic (minimum total cost) and environmental (minimum environmental impact) performances.For each case study proposed, a detailed optimization was performed to determine Pareto curves using the ɛ-constraint method to identify the tradeoffs of this multiobjective optimization and ultimately determine the best alternatives, and even their optimum operational conditions attending to both criteria.It is important to remark that this problem could be solved in Excel so that it could be a good example to undergraduate students.
 
– Superstructure of the supply chain problem.  
– Description of the two manufacturing technologies with the mass of raw materials consumed per unit of mass of product (acrylonitrile).  
– Screenshot of the environmental equations implemented in GAMS. It is also shown the same equations in mathematical notation.  
Pareto solutions set of the supply chain problem.
Article
This paper expects to give undergraduate students some guidelines about how to incorporate environmental considerations in a chemical supply chain and how the introduction of these concerns have an important effect on the results obtained in the multiobjective optimization problem where both economic and environmental aspects are considered simultaneously.To extend the economic and environmental assessment outside the chemical plant and to identify the tradeoffs associated with the reality of chemical and petrochemical industries, a simplified problem of a chemical supply chain is proposed as a case study.The inclusion of environmental concerns to this economic problem make this new case study a good example for undergraduate students interested in implementing simultaneous economic and environmental considerations in the chemical process design incorporating mathematical modeling software for solving this multiobjective problem.Thus, the final objective of this paper is to show to undergraduate students how environmental together with economic considerations could have an important impact in the logistics of a supply chain and how multiobjective optimization could be used to make better decisions in the design of chemical processes including its supply chain.To reach our purpose, the Pareto curve of the supply chain is obtained using the ɛ-constraint method. In addition, the tradeoffs of this multiobjective optimization have been identified and analyzed and ultimately a good decision based on the set of ‘equivalent’ optimal solutions for this chemical supply chain problem determined.
 
Unit operation sequences for common solid dosage processes.
Schematic of roller compaction process.
Rappture definition of tool input.
Rappture interface for roller compactor simulation.
Determination of nip angle.
Article
This article describes the use of the HUBZero middleware to create shared simulations of particulate processes in drug product manufacturing. These simulations are deployed on the pharmaHUB.org Web-site and are accessible through a Web-browser. The simulations may be used to introduce basic concepts in solids processing and their application to drug product design and process development. Graphical interfaces that allow students to visualize the models being studied may be constructed with the Rappture toolkit. This toolkit generates an interface from a simple input/output description that is applicable to many simple but useful engineering models. The toolkit allows contributors to convert existing simulation programs, which typically rely on text based input and output, into Web-based tools with graphical interfaces. As an example, the article presents a simulation tool that models roller compaction, a unit operation used in dry granulation processes for drug product manufacturing. The article also reviews instructional frameworks for integrating simulation tools and other shared resources into courses. Supporting materials that provide a more detailed description of roller compaction are also identified.
 
Article
A solved design problem of how to deal quantitatively with crystallization problems below the eutectic temperature is presented. This problem serves as an excellent pedagogic complement to undergraduate students of chemical engineering since it is solved by means of a solubility diagram. It also promises novelty and environmental improvement to students, exposing them to eutectic freeze crystallization (EFC) technology, which is gaining momentum to be implemented in waste water treatment. By means of mass balances together with the solubility diagram, the proposed problem involving two crystallizers and a recycle stream is solved, and in so doing teaches students about the possible application of EFC in the treatment of brines.
 
Article
Chemical product design is concerned with the design of specialty products such as formulated products, specialty chemicals, etc. Chemical product design is becoming increasingly relevant to chemical engineers as chemical process industries (CPIs) are shifting away from the traditional commodity products to specialty products. In this article, the nature of the specialty product industry is discussed in detail. It is felt that this vital area is under-represented in Indian chemical engineering curricula and this has to be remedied immediately so that fresh chemical engineering graduates are able to adapt to the changing scenario. The teaching of chemical product design in other Universities abroad is considered and a discussion on our own experience at VIT University is provided.
 
Article
Recent reforms in engineering education have emerged to meet the changing needs of engineers, however sparse research exists that comprehensively assesses the outcomes associated with such engineering education efforts. Accordingly, there is an urgent need for educational approaches tied to assessing engineering students’ performance, retention, and impact.This study's purpose is to explore the relationship between sequential chemical engineering degree projects and students’ performance, engineering efficacy, multidisciplinarity, and retention. The projects for this education for chemical engineers research are thematically focused laboratory experiments embedded in a four-year chemical engineering program. Each project component is connected to the next, is increasingly complex as courses advanced, and is aligned with essential course content. This connectivity enables students to participate in logically sequenced experiments that culminate in well-developed senior laboratory projects. This study's educational impact was determined via comparison between seniors’ and freshmen’ performance, efficacy and retention.Results of this research indicate that the use of degree projects in chemical engineering education is impactful, resulting in students’ increased understanding of experimentation and course content; meaningful, resulting in statistically significant increased student chemical engineering efficacy; and engaging, resulting in students’ satisfaction with program impact, engagement with peers during experimentation, and dramatically increased student retention.
 
Article
Effective supervision is a critical factor in the successful completion of higher degree research (HDR) students. The supervision of a HDR project incorporates a range of issues beyond the research activities; it includes professional development, strategic planning, basic administration, meeting deadlines, quality assurance and managing stakeholder expectations. Supervising a doctoral student is a complex task; arguably, it is the most complex level of teaching in higher education. This paper argues that initial meetings with students set the tone for the continuation of the supervisory relationship. The establishment of rapport, negotiation of expectations, and initial analysis of the student's needs are crucial first steps to successful candidature. This paper reviews literatures on supervisory practice in an interdisciplinary context in order to develop a comprehensive best practice strategy for the first supervisory meetings with a HDR student. Rather than a prescribed formula for structuring the meeting, this paper identifies core areas that need to be addressed, which can be adapted by novice and experienced supervisors to cater to their own and their students’ contexts. Brief lists of ‘guiding questions’ are provided in each section, not as prescriptive tools, but as launching points from which mutual negotiations between supervisor and student can develop.
 
Article
‘Transferable’ (or ‘personal’) skills are defined. There is good agreement internationally that the five key skills for chemical engineering graduates are: communications; teamworking; problem solving; numeracy and IT skills; self-learning. It is shown, with some specific examples, that there are ample and varied opportunities to develop these skills within chemical engineering programmes. In order to identify whether the skills possessed by new chemical engineering graduates match the requirements of employers, two recent comprehensive surveys are analysed, including a major survey of chemical engineering graduates with a few years in employment. The graduates assessed their own skills on graduation versus the importance of these skills in employment. In all except two of the 26 skills categories that were identified, there was a perceived ‘skills deficit’ on entering employment. The significance of these results is analysed, leading to some specific recommendations for the content of chemical engineering programmes.
 
Article
Process simulators are widely used in industrial process designs and academic research. These simulation tools are also perfectly suitable for the process dynamics and control education of junior chemical engineers and students, as these tools mimetically help them with comprehending the basic theories of process control, such as process capacity, dead time, control loops, controllers and multi-unit processes such as distillation columns. At the University of Auckland, New Zealand, final year Chemical and Materials Engineering students who participate in the process dynamics and control paper are required to complete a series of simulation workshops in auxiliary sessions to help them in their understanding of process dynamics and control. This paper introduces the content of the workshops as well as reviews the student feedback on the introduction of the simulator and their perceptions of their learning of process dynamics and control as assisted by the software and instruction. Three case studies are provided in this paper to illustrate the benefits of running workshops. The motivation of this paper is to share our workshop design with other universities.
 
Article
Some important aspects of the design–operational interface in chemical engineering practice are identified and expressed as a series of principles. Key aspects of the interface include an understanding by designers of operating personnel and the operational environment of plants, as well as the need for designers to communicate clearly to operators their design intent. Awareness of the importance of the design–operation interface in chemical engineering starts at University with undergraduate education, especially in design. Key areas in design education are safety assessments, development of piping and instrumentation diagrams, plant layout development, and estimation of operating costs. More effort by Universities, industries and professional societies must be made to ensure the student has adequate awareness of the plant operating environment and the role of operations and maintenance personnel. This awareness is promoted both by increased work experience and visits to industry as well as using emerging communications technology to bring the plant environment into the student's class and private learning experience.
 
Article
Model predictive control (MPC) techniques are extremely profitable control strategies and are well accepted in the chemical processing industry so it is important that chemical engineering graduates have a fundamental understanding of MPC. This understanding will help them make contributions in industry where these control strategies abound. Without such knowledge, graduates would not understand a major part of the control structure present in modern manufacturing systems and would have difficulty understanding how to modify and improve those chemical manufacturing systems to take advantage of new technology.In this paper we describe a new software package developed and tested by the authors for teaching undergraduates the fundamentals of MPC including its suggested application in the classroom. The package is similar to existing industrial model predictive control packages in that the same steps are required to implement a model predictive controller as follows: model identification, controller configuration, controller simulation and tuning. We describe our experience using the package to introduce MPC to an advanced undergraduate process control II class. The package has also been used to provide an MPC laboratory experience for a graduate class on industrial process control.
 
Article
Process safety was introduced into the curriculum of two second year undergraduate subjects in the chemical engineering programs at the University of Melbourne in 2009. As part of the student learning, groups of three to four students were each given a safety case study to investigate and report on to the rest of the class. The case studies include well known process incidents including Bhopal, Buncefield, Longford, Flixborough and Piper Alpha. Also included were incidents drawn from other industries still with valuable lessons to be learnt regarding procedure and failure modes. Each student in the group was expected to talk for 4–5 min on an aspect of the safety incident but within a seamless presentation that was well constructed. Each student was also assigned another student for whose presentation they were to provide a written critique. Students presenting in the second week were required to critique the presentation of a student presenting in the first week. Both the student's presentation and the written critique were marked by the lecturer-in-charge. Feedback from students was very positive to the use of presentations to study safety case studies. This paper describes how the case studies have been successfully used in the class room and presents information on 27 case studies.
 
Article
Computer-aided design has become extremely popular and its use in classroom can be very helpful, adding more analysis capabilities to all engineering areas. A free piece of educational software to teach transient analyses of shell-and-tube heat exchanger equipment to undergraduate students is presented. The software was developed to provide unit operation courses with realistic exercises involving dynamic simulation of chemical processes. The use of the program improves the efficiency of the course since it let students practice heat exchanger analysis while relieving them of tedious repetitive calculations.
 
Article
This paper describes a strategy used to improve the learning process of a senior level undergraduate chemical engineering unit operations laboratory course. Course lectures cover experimental design, applied statistics, fundamental measurement principles and the basics of instrumentation. Students are asked to devise and carry out their own experiments to evaluate the performance characteristics of a particular unit operation and associated equipment, to critically analyse the results of the experiments and to properly report such results. Experimental work is not limited to performing a parametric study and, depending on the unit, students are asked to variously determine optimal processing conditions for given product specifications, evaluate the stability of the unit to processing perturbations, use data to propose kinetic and hydrodynamic models, and propose approaches for the scale up of the unit. As a result students were exposed to a more industrially relevant plant performance test integrating design of experiments material. The results after 6 years are discussed.
 
Article
During academic session 2008–2009, the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Strathclyde, changed Year 4 Chemical Engineering Design project teaching to include mixed groups from Bachelors and Masters programmes; team delivery and two separate components of design. This paper presents data for 408 students studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde pre and post change; exploring the impact of these changes and highlighting potential for supported, vertically integrated learning programmes, across the first four years of teaching, to provide a framework fostering student confidence and autonomy. The impact of course restructuring indicates that Bachelors students’ aspirations are increased, with no detriment to Masters performance. Early years performance over this period is unchanged, allowing separate investigation of the changes made in 2008–2009. Gender basis analysis shows that male students’ performance is little affected, although the whole cohort fit shows a marked change due to the improved performance of low attaining female students. Post 2009 final performance shows direct correlation with Chemical Engineering Design mark, suggesting the latter may indicate final expected grades for given students. The study reveals widely applicable benefits for increased student motivation, managing expectation, and facilitating students’ utilisation and integration of knowledge gained during their studies.
 
Article
There is a real need in higher education institutions to systematically address the developmental and training needs of research higher degree students. Many commentators argue that traditional PhD programmes are too narrow, lacking broad professional development opportunities and producing overly specialized graduates who struggle to adapt to the workplace. Recent studies have shown that more than half of chemical engineering PhD graduates progress directly into the private sector. How do we ensure that they are prepared?. The work presented in this paper was developed as part of a multi-disciplinary research project aimed at investigating issues surrounding the development of inter-disciplinary research higher degree students. One of the first difficulties encountered was the lack of any effective and meaningful method of evaluating postgraduate research student learning and development. As a result, the project team initiated a process of graduate attribute development. The outcome was the Research Student Virtual Portfolio (RSVP). RSVP is an educational, career development package designed to develop research students' broad graduate attributes. This paper describes and examines the two stages of developing and implementing RSVP. The first stage was the initial development of RSVP in a small interdisciplinary research centre, the Advanced Wastewater Management Centre, at The University of Queensland. The second stage was the broader implementation and extension of RSVP for use in other disciplines within the university. An action learning methodology was adopted, and the data presented was obtained from interviews and communications with individual students and supervisors. The RSVP process is found to have a positive impact on PhD student learning and career development, encourages students to develop an awareness of employer needs, and is an effective framework for postgraduate advising.
 
Top-cited authors
Lorico Jr. Lapitan
  • University of Santo Tomas
Joey Mark Santiago Diaz
  • University of Leeds
Noel S. Sabarillo
  • University of Santo Tomas
Cristina Tiangco
  • University of Santo Tomas
David C. Shallcross
  • University of Melbourne