Chemical Engineering Education ( Journal Site )

Material Information

Chemical Engineering Education
Alternate Title:
Abbreviated Title:
Chem. eng. educ.
Physical Description:
v. : ill. ; 22-28 cm.
American Society for Engineering Education -- Chemical Engineering Division
Chemical Engineering Division, American Society for Engineering Education
Place of Publication:
Storrs, Conn
Publication Date:
annual[ former 1960-1961]


Subjects / Keywords:
Chemical engineering -- Study and teaching -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
serial   ( sobekcm )
periodical   ( marcgt )


Chemical abstracts
Additional Physical Form:
Also issued online.
Dates or Sequential Designation:
1960-June 1964 ; v. 1, no. 1 (Oct. 1965)-
Numbering Peculiarities:
Publication suspended briefly: issue designated v. 1, no. 4 (June 1966) published Nov. 1967.
General Note:
Title from cover.
General Note:
Place of publication varies: Rochester, N.Y., 1965-1967; Gainesville, Fla., 1968-

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 01151209
lccn - 70013732
issn - 0009-2479
lcc - TP165 .C18
ddc - 660/.2/071
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text


Chemical Engineering Education
5200 NW 43rd St., Suite 102-239
Gainesville, FL 32606
PHONE: 352-682-2622

Tim Anderson

Phillip C. Wankat

Lynn Heasley

Daina Briedis, Michigan State

William J. Koros, Georgia Institute of Technology

C. Stewart Slater
Rowan University
Jennifer Sinclair Curtis
University of Florida
Tennessee Tech University
Lisa Bullard
North Carolina State
David DiBiasio
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Stephanie Farrell
Rowan University
Richard Felder
North Carolina State
Jim Henry
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
Jason Keith
Mississippi State University
Milo Koretsky
Oregon State University
Suzanne Kresta
University of Alberta
Steve LeBlanc
University of Toledo
Marcel Liauw
Aachen Technical University
David Silverstein
University of Kentucky
Margot Vigeant
Bucknell University

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

Chemical Engineering Education
Volume 46 Number 1 Winter 2012

2 Chemical Engineering at the University of Tulsa
Geoffrey L. Price

11 Margot Vigeant of Bucknell University
Theresa Gawlas Medoff

29 Learning by Solving Solved Problems
Rebecca Brent and Richard Felder

19 Teaching Mass Transfer and Filtration Using Crossflow Reverse
Osmosis and Nanofiltration: An Experiment for the Undergraduate
Unit Ops Lab
Daniel Anastasio and Jeffrey McCutcheon

50 Centrifugal Pump Experiment for Chemical Engineering
Nicholas Vanderslice, Richard Oberto, and Thomas R. Marrero

41 Student Attitudes in the Transition to an Active-Learning Technology
Milo D. Koretsky and Bill J. Brooks

58 Chemical Engineering Screencasts
John L. Falconer, Garret D. Nicodemus, Janet deGrazia,
and J. Will Medlin

31 Results of the 2010 Survey on Teaching Chemical Reaction
David L. Silverstein and Margot A.S. Vigeant

inside front cover Teaching Tip: Old Dead Guy Trading Cards
David Rockstraw

CHEMICAL ENGINEERING EDUCATION (ISSN 0009-2479) is published quarterly by the Chemical Engineering
Division,American SocietyforEngineering Education, and is edited at the University ofFlorida. Correspondence regarding
editorial matter, circulation, and changes of address should be sent to CEE, 5200 NW 43rd St., Suite 102-239, Gainesville,
FL 32606. Copyright @ 2012 by the Chemical Engineering Division, American Societyfor Engineering Education. The
statements and opinions expressed in this periodical are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the ChE Division,
ASEE, which body assumes no responsibility for them. Defective copies replaced if notified within 120 days of publication.
Write for information on subscription costs andfor back copy costs and availability. POSTMASTER: Send address changes
to Chemical Engineering Education, 5200 NW 43rd St., Suite 102-239, Gainesville, FL 32606. Periodicals Postage Paid at
Gainesville, Florida, and additional post offices (USPS 101900).

Ve department

Chemical Engineering at...

The University of Tulsa

When people think of
Oklahoma, they of-
ten think of the Dust
Bowl of the 1930s and images
of drought, or perhaps Indian
country with miles of undevel-
oped wilderness. As different
as the modern Department of
Chemical Engineering at the
University of Tulsa is from
such images, the department
was founded in the 1930s and
the university was originally
a school for Native American
girls, a heritage of which we are
proud. We have become a high-
quality program, perhaps slant-
ed a bit toward undergraduate
teaching, but certainly well bal-
anced in teaching and research.
We offer an ABET-accredited B.S. degree, a Master of S
degree (which is research-based), a Master's of Engin
in Chemical Engineering degree (which is coursework-l
and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.

The University of Tulsa (TU) is a comprehensive, I
university, providing education in Arts and Sciences,
ness, Engineering and Natural Sciences, and Law. Ou
acre campus is just a few miles east of downtown Tuls
campus is beautifully maintained with Tennessee ledg
buildings throughout the site. Current enrollment is
undergraduate students and 1,103 graduate students (inc
Law), with one in 12 undergraduates being National Mi
nalists. With 306 full-time faculty, the student-to-facult
is 11:1. Even with the relatively small number of studer
university competes in NCAA Division I sports.
Copyright ChE Division ofASEE 2012

Collins Hall and the main entry to the university.

TU is currently 75th in the US News & World Report college
and university rankings, with virtually unparalleled dedication
to small-class sizes. This is the highest ranking TU has ever re-
ceived in this publication, and marks the ninth consecutive year
that TU has been ranked in the top 100. The Princeton Review
has named the university one of the nation's best institutions
for undergraduate education, citing the school's "unequivocal
emphasis on academics." The university recently completed a
$698 million comprehensive fund-raising campaign that created
program support, built infrastructure, and established student
scholarships and faculty endowments. There were 54 endowed
professorships on campus in 2010-11.
The Department of Chemical Engineering is one of 10
departments and schools in the College of Engineering and
Natural Sciences (ENS). ENS is the largest of the colleges
on campus with 1,195 undergraduate students enrolled in
2010-11. Currently housed primarily in Keplinger Hall, TU
has embarked on a massive expansion that includes the addi-

Chemical Engineering Education

tion of two new ENS buildings: J. Newton Rayzor Hall and
Stephenson Hall. Rayzor Hall was completed in 2011 and
will house the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sci-
ence departments, and Stephenson Hall will be completed
in 2012 and will house the McDougall School
of Petroleum Engineering and Department of
Mechanical Engineering.
The Department of Chemical Engineering has nine
full-time faculty. Undergraduate enrollment was
124 and graduate enrollment was 27 in the 2010-11
school year. Like many other chemical engineering
programs around the country, the department has
been growing in student numbers for the last seven
years. Nonetheless, our student-to-faculty ratio has
remained very low, and it is similar to the campus- Wilbur
wide ratio. Because of the low student-to-faculty Choun
ratio, the faculty are able to devote considerable Dem
effort to both undergraduate teaching and research.
The historical trends in student population and
B.S. graduates are given in Figure 1.

I En,

Looking back into the foundations of the Department of
Chemical Engineering, an important day was Nov. 22, 1905.
This was the date that the first drilling operation struck oil
over what became known as the Glenn Pool, near the modern
day city of Glenpool, OK, about 17 miles south of Tulsa.
Glenpool is known as the town that made Tulsa famous. The

U Total Undergraduate Students

drilling activity and oil production that escalated rapidly
from the discovery of the Glenn Pool, which was the largest
oil field known, spurred the growth of Tulsa, and Tulsa soon
became known as the "Oil Capital of the World," a moniker
it maintained through the 20th century.
Meanwhile, the Presbyterian School for Indian
Girls, founded in 1882 in Muscogee (modern
spelling "Muskogee"), OK, became Henry Kend-
all College in 1894, and moved to Tulsa in 1907.
Because of the importance of oil in the area and the
vast financial interests spawned by the oil industry,
as Henry Kendall College grew in Tulsa many
students, alumni, trustees, and supporters were
involved in the oil industry. Henry Kendall College
"Nelson, became the University of Tulsa in 1921.
)f the
gineering The School of Petroleum Engineering at the
lent. University of Tulsa began in 1928. Waite Phil-
lips-brother of Frank Phillips, the founder of
Phillips Petroleum Company-donated money
to build the first Petroleum Engineering building in 1929.
Wilbur L. "Doc" Nelson joined the university as the first head
of Petroleum Engineering in 1930, and in 1932 Petroleum
Engineering was divided into production and refining entities,
and Doc Nelson became head of Petroleum Refining. In 1937,
two B.S. engineering degrees were offered at the University
of Tulsa, in petroleum engineering and chemical engineer-
ing. Doc Nelson became head of the Chemical Engineering
Department in 1939 when its modem name was taken. Nelson
remained head of
the department un-
M B.S. Degrees
Still 1954 and taught
part-time through

- It t r- Il C1 e O O N 0t rn l '.0 tN XO ON 0 e M If 't Nn 4 O t ON 0 -
GO Go Go Goo GO Go Go Go00ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ONO 0000000000 o- -
0 n T t If '0 t- X0 ON 0- n 'It 'In NZ ON 0 0'1 e "t kn '0 NI- ON 0
00 G X GO GO 00 = 0= 0= 0M 0W O N a\ON ON ON ON O C\ O OO 0000000000
Figure 1. Trend -ud-r-au sd po -t a guatin rates

Figure 1. Trends in undergraduate student populations and graduation rates.

Nelson is easily
recognized as the
person that brought
the department to
national and inter-
national prominence
and is often called
the founder of the
department. The
Oil & Gas Journal
published more than
2,000 articles by
Nelson, and his book
Petroleum Refinery
Engineering became
the worldwide stan-
dard. The Nelson
Index, an index that
describes a measure
of the complexity

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012


160 -1


of petroleum refineries, is still in use today.
Under Nelson's leadership, the department
became internationally recognized for its pro-
gram, which emphasized petroleum refining.
Professor Paul Buthod, who authored the
heat transfer chapter in Nelson's refining
book, served as department chair for 14
years and was responsible for maintaining
and expanding the department's reputation in
petroleum refining. Buthod was truly a legend
at TU, winning numerous outstanding teacher
awards. In 1967, the department was granted

Department of Chemical Engineering
Industrial Advisory Board
Ken Agee, President
Emerging Fuels Technology
Mark Agee, Investor and Consultant
J. David Iverson, Managing Director
Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors
Dan Lansdown, Process Consultant
Domain Engineering
Chris Mayfield, Process Engineer
ONEOK Partners
Calvin C. McKee, President (retired)
Warren Petroleum Company
Tom Russell, CEO
Thomas Russell Co.
Tom Steiner, President
Vaprecom, Inc.
W. Wayne Wilson, Senior Fellow Emeritus
ConocoPhillips Company
Omar Barkat, Executive Director
Wayne Rumley, CEO
R&R Engineering Co., Inc.
Rakesh (Rock) Gupta, Manager of Engineering
Thermal Process Engineering, Inc.
Jim Beer, Sales Engineer
Hartwell Environmental Corporation
Darla Coghill, Science Department Chair
Will Rogers College High School, Tulsa, OK
Chris Collins, Senior Analyst
CITGO Petroleum Corporation
Jon Edmondson, Business Planning Mgr Alaska
Shell Exploration & Production Company
Reed Melton, Vice President
Thermal Process Engineering, Inc.
Derrick Oneal, Process Engineering Manager
Thomas Russell Co.
Troy Reusser, Vice President
Koch Methanol, L.L.C.
Sharon Robinson, Senior Vice President
Copano Energy, L.L.C.

a Ph.D. program, and in 1968 Professor Francis S. Manning was brought
in as chair to help develop the fledgling program. Soon, the department was
graduating two to three Ph.D.'s every year because of the many gifted students
who came to study.
Since that time, the department has maintained a strong undergraduate pro-
gram suitable for careers in oil, gas, and energy, but also diversified particularly
into alternative energy and environmental areas. Today, alums of the depart-
ment hold positions in a diverse array of chemical engineering sectors.
Another important event, more in the recent history of the department, was
the formation of the Industrial Advisory Board in 1979. This Board meets
twice per year, and helps keep the department in touch with the practical
aspects of chemical engineering. A listing of the current advisory board
members is in Table 1.

The department consists of nine full-time faculty members, and all have
Ph.D.'s in chemical engineering. Ages, interests, and academic experience
levels are diverse: The latest two joined in Fall of 2008, while the most senior
arrived in 1968.
Selen Cremaschi, assistant professor, earned both her B.S. (1999) and
M.S. (2001) degrees from Bogazici University (Turkey) and received her
Ph.D. (2006) from Purdue University, all in chemical engineering. During
her Ph.D. studies, she worked as a research assistant at the NASA Specialized
Center of Research and Training in Advanced Life Support (ALS/NSCORT),
and her work focused on developing novel algorithms for process synthesis
and design optimization under uncertainty. Following her graduation, she
served as a post-doctoral research associate and assistant research scientist
in e-Enterprise Center of Discovery Park, Purdue University, before join-
ing our department in 2008. Her research interests are in process synthesis,
design, and optimization under uncertainty. Her research group works at the
intersection of operations research and chemical engineering, and develops

Chemical Engineering faculty in Keplinger Hall. Left to right: Ty Johannes,
Laura Ford, Geoffrey Price, Christi Patton Luks, Selen Cremaschi,
Dan Crunkleton, Frank Manning, Keith Wisecarver, and Kerry Sublette.

Chemical Engineering Education

systems analysis and decision support tools for complex
systems, especially for the energy area. Cremaschi received
a Tau Beta Pi Teaching Excellence award in 2010 and an NSF
CAREER award in 2011.
Wellspring Assistant Professor Tyler (Ty) Johannes also
came to the department in 2008. He brings biochemical engi-
neering expertise to the department and his areas of research
focus are synthetic biology, directed evolution, and bioenergy.
Johannes holds a B.S. in chemical engineering (2002) from
Oklahoma State University, and both an M.S. (2005) and
Ph.D. (2008) in chemical engineering from the University of
Illinois. His current work focuses on engineering microalgae
for the production of natural products and biofuels. He is also
a licensed professional engineer.
Associate Professor Daniel Crunkleton is an alumnus of
the department, receiving his B.S. in 1995. After his under-
graduate studies, he attended the University of Florida as a
NASA Graduate Student Research Fellow, receiving his Ph.D.
in 2002. Following a post-doctoral appointment at Vanderbilt
University, Crunkleton joined our department in 2003. While
serving as full-time faculty, he attended law school at the
University of Tulsa, and obtained his J.D. in 2008. He is also
a registered professional engineer, and is the director of the
Alternative Energy Institute at the University of Tulsa. His
areas of research interest are alternative energy, algae biofuels,
and computational fluid dynamics.
Geoffrey Price, professor and department chair, joined
the faculty as chairman in 2000. He holds a B.S. from Lamar
University (1975) and Ph.D. from Rice University (1979),
both degrees in chemical engineering. Prior to his appointment
in his current capacity, he served on the chemical engineer-
ing faculty at Louisiana State University Baton Rouge for
more than 20 years, and is emeritus professor there. He is a
Fellow of the AIChE and his research interests are in hetero-
geneous catalysis, particularly zeolite catalysis. Current work
is focused on catalytic conversion processes applied to the
production of biofuels.
Laura Ford, associate professor, joined our faculty in
1999, while completing her Ph.D. in chemical engineering
at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign the same year,
and where she also obtained an M.S. in 1997. Her under-
graduate degree is from Oklahoma State University (1993).
Her research is on the dry etching of metals and photovoltaic
alloys, studying the kinetics of the etching reaction under
low vacuum conditions. The effects of oxidant, temperature,
total pressure, and surface treatment have been studied. Ford
is also an investigator in the University of Tulsa Hydrates
Flow Performance joint industry project, where she studies
the remediation and prevention of hydrate plugs.
Christi Patton Luks began her academic career in the
department in 1997 as senior lecturer. She now holds the
position of applied associate professor. Luks has a B.S. in
chemical engineering from Texas A&M University (1981),
Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

an M.S. in applied mathematics from the University of Tulsa
(1988), and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Uni-
versity of Tulsa in 1992. She studies innovations in chemical
engineering pedagogy and effective ways to blend technology
with learning. She has received numerous teaching awards
at the University of Tulsa including the most prestigious,
university-wide Outstanding Teacher Award. She works
actively with Engineers Without Borders, Society of Women
Engineers, American Society for Engineering Education,
American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and numerous
other organizations.
Professor Keith Wisecarver has expertise in the general
area of multiphase reactor design and modeling, multiphase
flows with reaction, and computer-aided process design,
particularly as applied to petroleum refining and other energy
processes. The main thrust of his current research is in the
field of delayed coking, a petroleum refining process that uses
high-temperature thermal cracking to convert the heaviest cuts
of crude oil to lighter fractions such as gasoline, diesel, and
gas oil, plus petroleum coke. He is co-principal investigator
for the Tulsa University Delayed Coking Project (TUDCP),
a research consortium of 19 energy-related companies.
Wisecarver holds B.S. (1979), M.S. (1983), and Ph.D. (1987)
degrees from Ohio State University. He is also a licensed
professional engineer.
Kerry Sublette is the Sarkeys Endowed Professor of
Environmental Engineering. In addition to his primary ap-
pointment in chemical engineering, Sublette also has a joint
appointment in the Geosciences Department. He holds a B.S.
in chemistry from the University of Arkansas, an M.S. in bio-
chemistry from the University of Oklahoma (1974), and both
an M.S.E. (1980) and Ph.D. (1985) in chemical engineering
from the University of Tulsa. His research interests include
bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons, restoration of soil
ecosystems, ecological indicators of soil restoration, remedia-
tion and restoration of brine-impacted soil, and subsurface
microbial ecology of groundwater impacted by hydrocarbons
and chlorinated hydrocarbons. He has been a faculty member
in the department since 1986.
The longest-serving member of the faculty is Frank
Manning, mentioned previously. Manning came to the Uni-
versity of Tulsa in 1968 as department chair after a successful
academic appointment at the Carnegie Institute of Technology
(now Carnegie-Mellon) from 1959-68. Manning was born
in Barbados, and studied in Canada at McGill University
where he earned a B. Eng. degree in 1955. He also holds
M.S.E (1957), A.M. (1957), and Ph.D. (1959) degrees from
Princeton University. The AIME awarded him the R.W. Hunt
silver medal for a Transactions of the Metallurgical Society
paper in 1969. His current interests are in oilfield processing of
crude oil, natural gas, produced water, and natural gas plants.
He is currently revising his two books, Oilfield Processing
of Petroleum: Vol. I Natural Gas and Vol. II Crude Oil,
which have been well received by industry and adopted as

The TU experience ...

.-'-'".- Christina Bishop Jackson, Chemi-
cal Engineering Ph.D. student (now
Engineers Without Borders in Contani, Bolivia, installing a solar heating alumna) using a scanning electron
system. Left to right: ChE student Jasmine Htoon (the "T" in "TU"), ChE microscope to study nanostructured battery
student Tsebaot Lemma, local professional and sponsor Jon Taber, ChE electrolyte materials.
student Weston Kightlinger, Engineering Physics student Tim Brown,
ChE student Sarah Edenfield, ChE faculty sponsor Christi Luks, and ChE
student Philip Goree (the "U" in "TU").

I t~k :I I `.t 1

Congressman John Sullivan (in pink tie) visits the algae-to-fuels project
in the Chemical Engineering Department. Left to right:
Professor Geoffrey Price, Associate Professor Daniel Crunkleton,
Sullivan, and congressional staffer Richard Hedgecock.

McFarlin Library on the
University of Tulsa campus.

Chemical Engineering Education

texts worldwide. Manning has won five teaching awards at
TU and also the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Mid-
west Section of ASEE (1999). He is a professional engineer
licensed in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

The Educational Objectives adopted by the faculty of
chemical engineering are:
"to provide a foundation for successful chemical engineer-
ing careers in the petroleum, natural gas, chemicals, alter-
native energy, environmental, materials, or biotechnology
industries, and for graduate studies in chemical engineer-
ing or related fields such as medicine, law, and business
The curriculum has evolved over the years, but would be
considered a traditional program for chemical engineers. Op-
tion programs (discussed in more detail below) allow students
to specialize in areas of personal interest.
The B.S. curriculum is a minimum of 131 hours of total
coursework and it is built upon the Tulsa Curriculum, which
is required of every undergraduate student at the University of
Tulsa. The Tulsa Curriculum requires all students to complete
6 hours in aesthetic inquiry and creative experience, 12 hours
in historical and social interpretation, 7 hours in scientific
investigation, and 6 hours of writing. Mathematics proficiency
is also required by the Tulsa Curriculum.
Highlights of the chemical engineering program include em-
phasis in computer-aided design, which we base on HYSYS
simulation software. The curriculum includes two courses
in process control, two senior-level laboratory courses,
and traditional instruction through a capstone plant-design
course. In addition to many electives that students select to
satisfy the Tulsa Curriculum, students choose two senior-level
engineering electives, two upper-level advanced chemistry
electives, an advanced math elective, and a senior-level ad-
vanced science elective. These elective courses can be used
by students according to their individual interests, or students
can choose an option program that focuses coursework in
one of four areas.
Option Programs
In addition to a general option where students have the
widest flexibility to choose elective courses according to their
own interests, we offer options in:
Petroleum Refining
Environmental Engineering
As of this writing, the chemical engineering faculty have
approved a business option and we are awaiting approval from
campus curriculum committees for this to become an official
offering. Students completing the business option (assuming
it is approved) will have all the background required for direct
Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

entry into the University of Tulsa's M.B.A. program without
having to take any remedial courses.
Undergraduate Laboratory Facilities
In 2003, thanks to generous support by an alumnus, a faculty
member, and the College, the department added a Honeywell
Process Control system-originally based on Plantscape, but
now upgraded to Experion process control software-to the
unit operations laboratory. Art Roslewski, retired engineer
from Honeywell Corporation, comes in part-time to help
students and to design control algorithms and process dia-
grams that are similar to those used in industry. The lab was
remodeled when the Honeywell system was added so that
the process control system resides separately in a "control
room." Existing experiments, such as fluid dynamics and
heat transfer experiments, were integrated into the process
control system where it was feasible, and new experiments
have been added. In particular, the laboratory now sports a
6" diameter by 10' high packed absorption column made of
glass so that students can observe the column dynamics and
flooding phenomena, and a 3" diameter by 12' high continu-
ous distillation column with 11 theoretical trays. Among the
wide range of other experiments are those focusing on heat
transfer, fluid mechanics, and process control.
In 1991, the Chemical Engineering Department was the first
department at the University of Tulsa to have its own depart-
mental personal computer laboratory. Four alumni provided
the startup funding and requested that the lab be named after
Paul Buthod, who is now an emeritus professor. Our advisory
board, many of whom were students of Buthod's, helped
design the lab and provided additional funding. Generous
support from local industries and alumni helps keep the com-
puting lab furnished with the latest computing hardware.
Study Abroad
The University of Tulsa has a very active study-abroad pro-
gram, and chemical engineering students can take advantage
of these programs. We accept transfer credit from international
universities from dozens of countries given in numerous
languages. Academic advisors help students choose courses
and schedules that fit each student's needs and career goals.
Currently, 15 20% of our students have participated in study
abroad, and the percentages are growing rapidly.
Undergraduate Research/TURC Program
The Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC) is a
campus-wide program that enables undergraduates to conduct
research with University of Tulsa faculty, and students in chemi-
cal engineering often take advantage of this program. Students,
working with a faculty mentor, prepare a short proposal and
submit it to the TURC program. The number of successful pro-
posals varies from year to year, but the success rate is generally
extremely high. Students receive financial support for supplies
and for student wages through the TURC program to conduct
original research work that can lead to publications. Overall,

TURC scholars have brought
prestige to the University of
Tulsa by winning an incredible
104 nationally and internation-
ally competitive scholarships,in-
cluding Goldwater Scholarships,
National Science Foundation
Fellowships, Truman Scholar-
ships, Department of Defense
Fellowships, Udall Scholarships,
Phi Kappa Phi Fellowships, Ful-
bright Scholarships, and British
Marshall Scholarships.

Student Organizations Summer 2005 Intemati
and Activities
Fall 2005 National
The AIChE Student Chapter Spring 2009 MidAm
Spring 2009 Mid-Am.
at the University of Tulsa has
been very active and well orga- Spring 2010 Mid-Am
nized for many years. Currently,
Ty Johannes is the faculty advisor. AIChE generally sponsors
annual trips to the AIChE Meeting and to the Midwest Re-
gional student meeting. AIChE officers arrange for a speaker
luncheon roughly every two weeks during the semester.
The AIChE ChemE Car Team has been one of the most
successful teams in the nation, winning not only the national
competition, but also the first international competition in
2005. The AIChE students also help sponsor an annual high
school ChemE Car competition. A listing of the ChemE Car
Team awards is given in Table 2.
A chapter of Omega Chi Epsilon, the chemical engineer-
ing honor society, was chartered at TU in April 2004. Christi
Patton Luks is the faculty advisor. This group assists the
department and college with recruiting and retention efforts.
The chapter was responsible for the creation of ENS Ambas-
sadors who give tours to college visitors. They also host study
breaks during final exams and have helped build up a resource
library for students in the Buthod Computer Lab.
Chemical engineering students are also active in other cam-
pus organizations including Tau Beta Pi, Society of Women
Engineers (SWE), National Society of Black Engineers
(NSBE), and American Chemical Society (ACS).
The University of Tulsa Student Chapter of Engineers With-
out Borders-USA (EWB) is advised by Luks and Ford. The
chapter was started in 2006. EWB students have worked on
several projects, including designing and building a kiln for
a local Girl Scout camp and making water filtration pots from
the Potters for Peace design. Recently, students and faculty
advisors have been working in a village in the altiplano of
Bolivia. With the Oklahoma East professional chapter, EWB
has built eco-latrines (self-composting outhouses) for the vil-
lage, which had fewer than five toilets of any kind when we
started. The current project is designing a solar-heated shower

Date Co
Spring 2000 Mid-Am
Spring 2001 Mid-Am
Spring 2002 Mid-Am
Fall 2002 National
Spring 2003 Mid-Am
Spring 2004 Mid-Am

Fall 2004 National
Scoring 2005 Mid-Am

Chemical Engineering Education

University of Tulsa AIChE Student 0

... i-- - ... .... -- - J ...... .... ....-
mpetition Place Award
erican Regional St. Louis, MO 1st competition
erican Regional Norman, OK 1st poster, 2nd competition
erican Regional Iowa City, IA 1 st poster, 3rd competition
Indianapolis, IN 2nd poster
erican Regional Lawrence, KS 3rd competition
erican Regional Tulsa, OK 2nd competition, 2nd poster,
most creative car
Austin, TX 1st competition
erican Regional Manhattan, KS 4th competition
onal Glasgow, Scotland 1st competition
Cincinnati, OH 2nd poster
erican Regional Columbia, MO 3rd poster, most creative car
erican Regional Ames, IA 2nd competition, 3rd poster

and sink and an education program to encourage better hand-
washing in the community.

Often called the 4/1 program, the combined Bachelor's-
Master's degree program allows students to earn a B.S. and
a Master of Engineering in chemical engineering (non-thesis
master's degree) in five years. Students complete the regular
coursework for the B.S. degree with the exception that some
of the advanced engineering and science elective credit in the
B.S. program are taken as graduate courses that are offered for
outstanding students for undergraduate credit. These courses
are then also counted as credit toward the Master's degree.
Students in the combined B.S./M.E. program may either take
a project course as part of the degree requirements, or pass
the Master's comprehensive exam during their final semester
of the combined program. The Master's comprehensive exam
is a subset of the Ph.D. qualifying exam.

The Department of Chemical Engineering at The University
of Tulsa has offered a Master's degree program since 1939
and a Doctoral degree program since 1967. The department
has a strong tradition in the energy and environmental fields,
but has also diversified to offer research opportunities in
materials engineering, biochemical engineering, advanced
modeling and simulation, alternative energy, surface science,
and catalysis.
Our current research focuses on modern experimental
approaches and state-of-the-art computational studies. Our
experimental approach to research allows investigation of
fundamental phenomena as they are applied to "real world"
problems, thereby enhancing our interactions with industry.
Our computational studies address a wide range of complex

problems in multiple time and length scales, ranging from
multiphase flow models to complete energy supply chains,
hence helping to catalyze solutions to complex societal chal-
lenges. Graduate study in chemical engineering at the Univer-
sity of Tulsa offers a dynamic environment for challenging
and stimulating research, and at the same time provides a
close interaction between faculty and students.
Curriculum and Unique Features
Students may begin any program in either the fall or spring
semester. The four core classes required for all programs cover
fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, and heat
and mass transfer at an advanced level. Electives offered
recently include surface science, petroleum microbiology,
environmental engineering, petroleum refinery design, natural
gas plant design, catalysis, biochemical engineering, combus-
tion engineering, and advanced process optimization.
The Doctor of Philosophy degree provides students with
an opportunity to reach a critical understanding of basic
scientific and engineering principles underlying their field of
interest, and to cultivate their ability to apply these principles
creatively through advanced methods of analysis, research,
and synthesis. The doctoral degree is awarded primarily on
the basis of research. Each student selects a research topic
and advisor during the first semester of the graduate program
and, in consultation with the research advisor, forms an advi-
sory committee. A Ph.D. qualifying exam must be completed
satisfactorily. After completing the qualifying exam, the
student must submit and defend a research proposal on the
intended dissertation topic. After completion of the research
activity, the student will write a dissertation on the results of
the research, and defend the dissertation before the advisory
The Master of Science degree is a research-oriented pro-
gram that requires the completion of a Master's thesis and
defense of the thesis in front of the advisory committee. Twen-
ty-one hours of coursework (including 12 hours of chemical
engineering core courses) and 9 credit hours of research are
required for the completion of this program.
The Master of Engineering degree is a non-thesis profes-
sional degree that can usually be completed in 12 to 18
months. The Master of Engineering degree is a good op-
tion for students who do not have a chemical engineering
undergraduate degree and students who are more interested
in advanced coursework than in research work. Twenty-
seven hours of coursework (including 12 hours of chemical
engineering core courses) are required for this program, as
well as a 3-hour master's project, supervised by a chemical
engineering faculty member.
Students who have not earned a Baccalaureate degree in
chemical engineering are usually required to complete a series
of undergraduate-level chemical engineering courses before
formal admission into the graduate program. The specific

course requirements are determined based on the undergradu-
ate coursework completed by the student, and decided on an
individual basis.
The Department of Chemical Engineering operates modem,
fully equipped research laboratories with a wide range of spe-
cialized and unique experimental equipment. Keplinger Hall
provides comfortable and modem laboratories and classrooms.
Analytical instrumentation available within the department
includes gas chromatography, GC-MS, high-pressure liq-
uid chromatography, mass spectrometry, x-ray diffraction,
microbalance, catalytic and non-catalytic reactor systems,
high-vacuum surface science equipment, and numerous other
pieces of equipment for experimental research. TU's Chemistry
Department is also housed in Keplinger Hall, and this facilitates
a close collaboration between the two departments, resulting in
the availability of further sophisticated instruments including
NMR, SEM, Raman, and LC-MS. State-of-the-art computer
facilities including commercial process simulators are available
in the Paul Buthod Chemical Engineering Computer Laboratory
and in graduate computing laboratories.
North Campus Research Center
In addition to traditional laboratories described above, the
University of Tulsa also has pilot plant scale facilities at a
10-acre site two miles north of the main campus known as
North Campus. Of particular interest to chemical engineering
at North Campus is a Special Projects building and Hydrates
building. Chemical engineering faculty are involved in de-
layed coking, catalysis, and hydrates research using much
larger scale equipment than is generally available on college
campuses. The Hydrates project includes a 3 inch diameter,
160 ft long, 1500 psi flow loop, a 50 ft long clear pipe jumper
facility, and a direct electric heating dissociation facility. The
Special Projects building has about a 10,000 ft2 footprint with
24-foot-high space indoors with full indoor climate control.
Equipment that the Chemical Engineering Department houses
in the building includes two one liter high-pressure stirred
catalytic reactor systems and the Delayed Coking facility.
The Delayed Coking facility includes a 2 gallon batch reactor,
a 10 gallon coker for studying foaming from 850 to 950 F,
and a micro coker.
Tallgrass Prairie Ecological Research Station
The University of Tulsa and The Nature Conservancy
(TNC) jointly operate The Tallgrass Prairie Ecological Re-
search Station in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve northwest of
Tulsa. Equipped with laboratories, classrooms, library and
computer facilities, and overnight housing, the research sta-
tion supports a wide range of ecological research projects
conducted by scientists and engineers from all over Oklahoma
and the world who come to the Preserve to take advantage
of this unique 40,000-acre living laboratory. TU's participa-
tion in the Research Station began through the Department

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

of Chemical Engineering with a wide range of remediation
projects related to oil and gas exploration and production on
the Preserve. The need for a support facility within the Pre-
serve was quickly apparent and a joint TU-TNC fund-raising
campaign was launched that raised $2.4 million and saw the
opening of the research station in 2004.

High School ChemE Car Competition
The department hosts a modified ChemE Car Competition
for area high school students every spring. The high schoolers
build a car powered by and stopped by a chemical reaction,
and the competition is to see which team can get its car to
stop the closest to a target distance announced just before
the race. They may use commercial batteries and their cars
do not carry a variable water load like in the AIChE national
competition. The competition brings in an interesting mix of
students, from 20 advanced placement chemistry students
from a metro school to five students in basic chemistry at a
rural school. The competition is intended as a recruiting tool
for both chemical engineering as a profession and for the Uni-
versity of Tulsa, and some of the students have never been on
a college campus before the event. The competition has been
running for nine years with 89 teams total competing."1
Brownie Day
To promote science and engineering to the community, Luks
brings 150 second- and third-grade Brownie Girl Scouts onto
campus each semester for a day of math and science fun. With
assistance from several departments, the students learn about
science and engineering. The student AIChE chapter teaches
the students about polymers through role playing where the
students are assigned to be either a monomer or a cross-linker,
then they make Gluep, a viscoelastic goo made from white glue
and borax. The college students prod the girls to brainstorm
engineering solutions to the manufacture of large batches of
Gluep. The Brownies rotate through other hands-on activities
where they learn the importance of designing a LegoTM bridge
that is "on time, on budget, and on spec," visit a chemistry labo-
ratory, experience statistics with M&MTM candies, and more.
More than one young woman in our program today was first
introduced to engineering at Brownie Day 10 years ago!

The University of Tulsa's Chemical Engineering faculty is
a talented, dynamic group with a variety of research inter-
ests from biofuels and other alternative energy resources to
directed evolution and zeolites. But this diverse bunch enjoys
life outside the classroom just as much as they do inside:
SGeoffrey Price and his sons are huge baseball fans, cheer-
ingfor the Houston Astros and the LSU Tigers. Around
Keplinger Hall, he's known for his extensive and colorful
collection of neckties, most of which are provided by his
wife who also is a Ph)D. chemical engineer.

Frank Manning is in his office by 7:30 a.m. seven days a
week (though he is sometimes "late" on Sundays) and en-
joys following cricket worldwide, thanks to the Internet.
Selen Cremaschi was a competitive ballroom dancer dur-
ing graduate school. In fact, her husband was her dance
partner before he became her life partner, and the two
still hit the dance floor once a week at a local studio.
Kerry Sublette cleans up nicely but is most at peace in
a pair ofjeans in thefield working on his environmental
Dan Crunkleton apparently functions without sleep. The
dedicated researcher is adjusting to life with a newborn
baby at home and still manages to exercise every day.
Christi Patton Luks is known as a scientist and mentor
beyond Keplinger. A Girl Scout leader for 18 years, she
also teaches a science class at her church and stirs up her
own soap and cosmetics at home.
Laura Ford is a Gregorian chant teacher and likes to
commute to work by bike. Both activities may provide
much-needed "recharging time" to Ford, who's busy
raising five children with her husband who is a chemical
engineer, too.
Tyler Johannes maintains one of the neatest offices in the
department and also kept order on the basketball court
and baseball diamond, officiating games to help pay his
way through college.
Keith Wisecarver relishes foreign foods-Chinese, Japa-
nese, Thai, and Indian-when he's out at a restaurant;
but even when he's home, he cooks up a mean curry and
can roll sushi like a pro.

Chemical Engineering at the University of Tulsa is a vi-
brant, accomplished group of students and faculty operating
in concert for the educational benefit of students and the
advancement of mankind through innovation, research, and
ingenuity. The low student-to-faculty ratio fosters the close
interaction of students and faculty, and excellent departmental
and university resources add to the experience of all students.
Best of all, the Chemical Engineering Department at the
University of Tulsa is a close-knit community enjoying the
university environment in an open and friendly manner.

Fellow faculty provided invaluable text and proofreading.
Mona Chamberlin in the TU University Relations Depart-
ment provided both text and statistics. Finally, I wish to thank
our Advisory Board and departmental alumni and supporters
who have helped our department be successful over so many

1. Patton, C.L. and L.P. Ford, "Chemically Powered Toy Cars: A Way
to Interest High School Students in a Chemical Engineering Career,"
Proceedings of the 2003 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition,
Nashville, TN a
Chemical Engineering Education


Margot Vigeant

of Bucknell University -

here are some things that we
ought to know-like that in
a 70' F house, the floors are
all the same temperature, regard-
less of whether they are carpeted
or tiled-but somehow, we don't
fully grasp the concept. Ask your
average person, even an engineer-
ing student, and he or she will likely
say that the tile floor is colder. That
same engineering student could
solve a math problem related to
temperature, but that's not the same
as fully understanding the concept.
And when engineers make mistakes
on fundamental concepts, it could
lead to major problems.
"It's really not good for a chemical
engineer to be running around the
plant thinking that different areas are
somehow different temperatures just because the n
they are made of are better or worse heat conductors.'
to teach our students to translate their theoretical kn(
into conceptual knowledge," points out Margot I
whose current research focuses on assessing the pre
and persistence of engineering students' misconceptio:
most importantly, finding ways to correct those mis
tions so that the lessons stick. She and Bucknell colla
Mike Prince, professor of chemical engineering, and I
Nottis, professor of education, have presented and pi
on this work, and they are working toward writing
of inquiry-based problems that could be used as a I
chemical engineering workbook.

Margot Vigeant in class, talking to a first-year student.

An associate professor of chemical engineering and associ-
ate dean of the College of Engineering at Bucknell University,
Vigeant has spent much of her faculty career focusing on
improving engineering education. Not only has she applied
new teaching methods to her own courses, but she also has
worked within the college and with colleagues at other col-
leges and has participated extensively in the American Society
for Engineering Education (ASEE).
"Margot is well respected in the chemical engineering edu-
cation community," says James Patrick Abulencia, assistant
professor of chemical engineering at Manhattan College, who is

@ Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

Vigeant siblings Mark, Margot, Peter, Benjamin, and Fred at Peter's wedding.
Can you guess which one is pursuing a sideline as a standup comic?

Perhaps Vigeant was destined to be an engineer-well,
either that or an actress. She grew up in Stratford, Conn., the
oldest of five children. The others were all boys. Theirs was
a household in which engineering and other pursuits more
traditionally thought of as creative were equally encouraged.
Their father, Fred Vigeant, a chemical engineer by training,
worked in marketing communications for Ciba-Geigy, which
in 1996 became Ciba Specialty Chemicals. Their mother,
Anita, was a caterer while the children were growing up, then
went back to school and works as a nurse manager with the
Visiting Nurse Association. "She is very hard working, and
was always supportive of her children no matter what we were
interested in, whether creative or technical," Vigeant says.
As she notes, the performance art line and the engineering line
run through them all to greater or lesser extents. Vigeant has a
great affinity for theater and literature, and she had considered
being an English major in college. Even after she decided
to pursue engineering as a discipline she remained involved
in theater, performing in two Shakespearean plays while in
college. The oldest of her four brothers works as the program
director for an NPR station; another (who studied interactive
technology at NYU) is an interaction and game designer; the
third brother is breaking into improve theater in Chicago; and
her youngest brother, Mark, just graduated from college with
a degree in information science and is pursuing a career in that
area as well as in banjo-unicycle-standup comedy.

Vigeant and several family members play musical instru-
ments, and have been known to play together at nursing homes
and other organizations during the holidays under the name the
Vigeant Family Brass. She dons her orange-and-blue rugby
shirt and her personalized orange-and-blue Chuck Taylor
Converse All-Stars-a gift from her husband-to play the
trumpet in the Pep Band at Bucknell basketball games.
As a child she would sometimes accompany her father to
work, which she says was instrumental in pointing her in the
direction of chemical engineering. "Chemical engineering is
not something you can pretend to be as a child," she points
out. "You can use Legos to play 'civil engineer' or kitchen
ingredients to play 'chemist,' but there's no way you can
play 'chemical engineer.' Half of the people in my undergrad
ChemE class had a parent who was a chemical engineer. Oth-
erwise they wouldn't have known about it as a career."
When Vigeant was a high school junior and senior, her
father arranged for her to shadow several fellow employees
at Ciba-Geigy to give her some career direction. "It seemed
to me that chemists worked in the lab all the time," she says.
"The chemical engineers got to move around to offices and
different plants and work with a variety of people. The one
female chemical engineer I shadowed took me to lunch in her
beautiful red Corvette. It seems shallow now, of course, but
that helped to sway me. It seemed like chemical engineers
enjoyed a better life!" Vigeant- who drives a minivan, not a
Corvette-still thinks she made the right career choice.

Chemical Engineering Education

Clad in plaid:
Second-grader Margot
smiles for the school camera.

currently working with Vigeant
on a National Science Founda-
tion-funded project to use video
to enhance conceptual learning in
thermodynamics courses.

Grinning graduate Margot poses in her
official University of Virginia regalia.

Once she decided to pursue chemical engineer-
ing, it was a fairly easy choice to matriculate
at engineering powerhouse Cornell University.
She enjoyed her undergraduate experience there,
particularly the extent to which she was able to
take courses outside her major, an opportunity
that was facilitated by the AP credits she had as
well as by her willingness to work ahead with
summer coursework to free up time and credits.
"I received a really solid, rigorous chemical
engineering education at Cornell, but I also took
courses in French literature, psychology, acting,
and as much biology as I could fit in." She was a
teaching assistant in biochemistry as well.
As would be expected of Cornell College
of Engineering, her chemical engineering cur-
riculum was extremely challenging. "At least in
our minds, my chemical engineering classmates
and I were in the most difficult major in the
most difficult college in this extremely difficult
university, and we liked it that way," she recalls.
"We didn't sleep much, and the extent to which
we collaborated was based on the curve. There
was definite competition among us."

Margot among proud members of the Bucknell Pep Band playing at
the Patriot League Basketball Championships, 2011.

Vigeant says she was particularly influenced by Dr. Michael Shuler, the
James and Marsha McCormick Chair of the Department of Biomedical En-
gineering as well as the Samuel Eckert Professor of Chemical Engineering in
the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell University.
"When he talked about his research work in our Introduction to Chemical
Engineering class, it was very inspiring," she says. At the time, back in
1990 or so, Shuler's research group was working on the drug Taxol (used
to prevent reoccurrence of breast cancer) and the challenges of synthesizing
and processing it. "One of the things you want to answer for yourself while
an undergraduate is, what can I do with a chemical engineering degree, and
seeing his research helped me to answer that," she says.
One of Shuler's graduate students, Susan Roberts, now director of the
UMass Institute for Cellular Engineering, was also a big influence on
Vigeant. "She helped me think through graduate school applications, and
then was a critical resource again when I was applying for faculty positions.
She's been an important professional mentor for me," Vigeant says.
When she was applying to graduate programs in chemical engineering, she
had every intention of entering the pharmaceutical industry, which is one of
the reasons she ended up at the School of Engineering and Applied Science
at the University of Virginia. She was looking for a graduate school where
she could delve into the biological aspects of chemical engineering, which
is one of the major thrusts at the University of Virginia. Margot ended up
working closely with Roseanne Ford, Cavaliers' Distinguished Teaching
Professor and chair of the department of chemical engineering at UVA, who
was indeed working on the biological aspects of chemical engineering, but
from an environmental perspective, not pharmaceutical.

"Ford's project was just so compelling that I really wanted to work on it,"
Vigeant says. Ford and her team of graduate students and post-doctoral fel-
lows (comprising chemical, mechanical, environmental, and civil engineers)

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

in the Program for Interdisciplinary Research in Contaminant
Hydrogeology (PIRCH) were researching the possibility of
using contaminant-consuming bacteria to clean ground water
polluted with gasoline components such as methyl tertiary
butyl ether (MTBE) and trichlorethylene. The problem was
getting the bacteria to go where the researchers wanted and
to selectively seek and destroy the contaminants. Vigeant's
research focused on individual bacterium and how bacteria
move through the water's surface.
Research director Ford says, "Margot's project advanced
my research program into important new directions. Bacte-
rial adhesion to surfaces is not well understood, particularly
with respect to the initial attachment events. What little was
understood had been inferred from macroscopic-scale experi-
ments. Margot studied the behavior at a microscopic level to
gain some insight into the mechanisms governing bacterial
adhesion. The other interesting aspect to her project was
that the bacteria were motile-actively swimming-so the
techniques used to study the initial attachment events had to
be noninvasive."
Ford says that of all her graduate students, Vigeant stands
out for her creativity and being able to bring a unique per-
spective to the problems the research group was working on.
"One thing about working with Margot is that it broadened my
research program because she asked questions and suggested
approaches that I would not have thought about. There was
one measurement we had been trying to make for a long time,
and we couldn't figure out an exact approach. Margot was
at a conference and heard someone talking about something
similar. She saw how their approach could be adapted for our
use. She is particularly good at seeing connections between

Best Paper Educational Research and Methods division, Best Paper Program I
Group IV, ASEE (2011)
Hutchison Medal award from The Institution of Chemical Engineers, with Mi
Prince and Katharyn Nottis (2010)
ASEE National Chemical Engineering Division Ray W. Fahien Award for teach
effectiveness and educational scholarship (2009)
Bucknell Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence (2006-07)
Nominee, AAUW Emerging Scholar Award (2004)
Nominee, best division paper ASEE Freshman Programs Division (2003)
Chemical Engineering Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Study (1999
AAUW Selected Professions Dissertation Fellowship (1998-99)
UVA SEAS Graduate Teaching Assistant Award (1997)
Dean's Fellow (1994-1997)
Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society

fields and she is willing to cross disciplinary boundaries,"
Ford adds. Margot ended up collaborating with a professor
and a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Virginia
School of Medicine and using their lab's laser, microscope,
image analysis software, and a technique called total inter-
nal reflection aqueous fluorescence. In the medical school
researchers use the technique to look at cell membranes in
great detail; she used it to see how close to the surface the
bacteria were swimming.
"Margot was one of the top students I've had in terms of
all-around intellectual ability, her work in the lab, her teach-
ing, and her outreach to the community. She was the complete
package," Ford says. While in graduate school Vigeant was
a teaching assistant in chemical engineering. Ford says that
as a teacher, too, she demonstrated creativity. Ford recalls
observing a few of the recitations that Margot led for the un-
dergraduate Momentum and Heat Transfer course. "She sang
a song [composed by Dr. Peter Harriott] about the Reynolds
number to help the students remember how to distinguish
between laminar and turbulent flow. She prepared a game of
Jeopardy to help the students review and summarize major
concepts from the course material. The questions were very
clever and fun, but also accomplished the goal of testing the
students' knowledge of basic concepts. Margot has a knack
for explaining difficult concepts in very simple terms. This
was one quality that the students really appreciated about her
and commented on in the student evaluations."
Vigeant also volunteered regularly as a guest teacher of
science at local Catholic schools with her graduate classmate
Jenny McNay. They had amazing success in making high-
level concepts understandable by even the youngest children.
That experience continues to feed into her social
outreach to this day, as she has personally pre-
sented to Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops and
interest has involved her students in working with youth
groups and science teachers as well.


With doctorate almost in hand, it was time
for Vigeant to begin the job search. She looked
broadly, including the pharmaceutical indus-
try, various colleges and universities, even the
CIA. Then the offer came for her dream job: as
a tenure-track assistant professor at Bucknell
University. "I remember a friend of mine who
had graduated the year before telling me that on
university job interviews you should talk only
about research, never about wanting to teach stu-
dents," she recalls. "But it was important for me
to be able to go on an interview and say, 'I am
interested in teaching undergraduate students.'
I wanted to be at a place where the teaching of
undergraduates is valued, not just an obliga-

Chemical Engineering Education

tion. Bucknell is one of
a very few liberal arts,
educationally focused
schools with a chemical
engineering major."
She began teaching
at Bucknell in the fall
of 1999. Early on in her
career, Vigeant gave an
talk titled "Teaching at a
Four-Year College: Why
Would Anyone Do This?"
to her former colleagues
in the PIRCH Seminar
Series at the University
of Virginia. She espouses
the same feelings today
about teaching that she
expressed then: "It's all
about changing the world.
I really think that engi-
neers have an opportunity
to make the world a bet-
Margot, husband Steve, c
ter place. Consider the
story of penicillin. It was
chemical engineers who found a way to deliver on the drug's
promise by finding a way to mass produce penicillin and
make it easily accessible. I could have helped to educate lots
of other people and send them out there to change the world.
You can multiply your effectiveness that way." After just 12
years of teaching Bucknell undergraduates, she figures that
she has helped to train some 300 chemical engineers.
While that's the overarching motivation for teaching
undergraduates, she points to many other rewards as well.
"It's fun to try and get people excited about something
you're excited about," she says, "and I derive great satisfac-
tion from watching light bulbs turn on. Teaching is also a
great way to learn. Students ask me something that causes
me to figure out a problem I hadn't considered before, and
when I'm teaching a new course I get to do lots of reading
in new areas."

Vigeant was lucky enough to find the love of her life early
on-very early on. She married her high school sweetheart,
Steve Stumbris, in 1996 while still in graduate school. Stum-
bris also earned a bachelor's from Cornell, where he majored
in mechanical engineering. He, too, is a theater lover who
performed in student-led plays at Cornell. Both enjoy attend-
ing performances at Bucknell, which is known for its theater
and dance programs. His career took a different direction from
hers, and he worked as an engineer in various industry settings

nd sons Gabriel and Simon at Star Wars Celebration V,
on the Millennium Falcon.

until a few years ago, when he joined the Bucknell University
Small Business Development Center, where he is in charge of
Engineering Development Services. Bucknell's SBDC is the
only one Stumbris knows of that helps clients with product
development, often with the assistance of the research of
engineering students. "It was a wonderful alignment of our
careers for us both to be at Bucknell," he says.
The couple has two sons, Gabriel, 10, and Simon, 7. As
would be expected, their lives are busy with work, family,
and children's activities such as scouting, soccer, and indoor
rock-climbing (an activity to which Gabriel, particularly, has
taken a liking). They wake at six every weekday morning, get
the boys on the school bus by seven, and are in their offices
before eight. Then it's full steam ahead until bedtime.
Weekends are devoted to family as much as possible, but
even on their very busy weekdays Margot always finds the
time to stop and listen and teach the children. Says Stum-
bris: "We often read ingredient lists with the kids. Just this
morning over oatmeal Simon was reading the ingredients
in his gummy vitamins and he was amused to see that they
contained metal. That comment got Margot going on a 10-
minute discussion about the function of iron in transporting
oxygen in the bloodstream-and we still made it to their
bus on time.
"Margot is always curious and enthusiastic. She might read
or hear about a topic with the boys and they'll go off and
research together to learn more about it."

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

Students andfacultyfrom Engineering in the Global and Soi
on top of Sugar Loaf, overlooking Rio de Janeiro (M

Vigeant brings that same intellectual curiosity to the
classroom, which inspires a similar attitude in her students.
Recognizing that thermodynamics is an intensely challenging
mathematical subject, she livens up her "quests" (something
that falls between a quiz and a test) by using them to tell
a story throughout the semester. She has used the story of
Tristan and Isolde, and the Greek myth about the quest for
the Golden Fleece, which has the added benefit of actually
having mechanical monsters already built into the story. Last
year's senior chemical engineering class playfully presented
her with a golden-edged certificate for being "Most Likely
to Slay a Dragon Using the Rankine Cycle."
"Dr. Vigeant was one of the most charismatic, energetic
professors that I had. She was always in a great mood and tried
to make any subject interesting, even thermodynamics," says
David Van Wagener, '06, who went on to earn a doctorate in
chemical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.
He now works as an associate engineer in the field of Sustain-
ability Technologies at ConocoPhillips in Bartlesville, Okla.
She incorporates problem-based learning into her courses
whenever possible. She rarely lectures to her Applied Food
Science and Engineering students, for example. Instead,
throughout the semester she presents them with a series

of challenges, such as, "Is
it possible to make a good
doughnut that can be adver-
tised as 'baked, not fried'?"
The students start by frying
doughnuts in class to see what
sort of taste and consistency
to aim for, and then begin
innovating recipes and alter-
native cooking methods like
steaming, baking, and cook-
ing the dough in a panini-type
press. While all that is going
on, she passes around bags of
baked and kettle-cooked "po-
tato chips" for the students to
taste and compare. They, too,
are encouraged to look at the
ingredients, where they learn
that the baked chips are made
to a significant extent of corn,
not potatoes.
She uses that same in-
vestigative approach in the
cietal Context 2010: Brazil Bucknell engineering course
afrgot, far right), designed for upper-class arts
and sciences majors. When the
innovator of that course retired, Vigeant had the opportunity to
re-imagine its contents and methods. She changed the name,
from "Technical and Critical Analysis" to "Life, the Universe,
and Engineering." When she teaches the course, she works
with students at the start of the class to set the agenda for
which technologies (e.g., cell phones, mp3 players, massive
skyscrapers) and systems (e.g., the Internet, genetic engineer-
ing, air pollution regulation) the class will study that semester.
When possible, they actively answer the question "How Does
It Work?" They might collect old cell phones, for example, and
then smash them open to see the inner workings. They also
discuss the social implications of the technologies or systems.
The course is very popular at Bucknell, unfailingly enrolling
to its target capacity of 16 students.

Before Vigeant joined the faculty at Bucknell, there already
was a concerted effort in place to revamp the curriculum to
make it more student-centered and give students real-life
challenges to solve instead of textbook-based problems. Soon
after she arrived, she was enlisted to join fellow engineering
faculty members on Project Catalyst, an NSF-funded, internal
effort to "Engineer Engineering Education" at Bucknell. From
that effort sprang the complete overhaul of both the first and
the final courses that all Bucknell engineering students are
required to take: Exploring Engineering and Senior Design.

Chemical Engineering Education

Although not mandatory, many faculty rede-
signed their other courses as well. "We got the
College of Engineering talking about ideas, read-
ing books, listening to speakers, and developing
new strategies for how to implement new methods
of teaching," she says.
"Margot took a number of leadership roles in
advancing the curriculum both within the Depart-
ment of Chemical Engineering and in the College
of Engineering as a whole," notes Jeff Csemica,
professor of chemical engineering and chair of the
Department of Chemical Engineering at Bucknell.
He praises her "tireless work" on the various com-
mittees and subcommittees charged with broaden-
ing and improving the engineering curriculum.
"She serves as a role model, not only to our women
engineering students, but also to other faculty in
terms of the vitality, creativity, and professional-
ism that she brings to her work," he adds.
Vigeant is quick to point out that colleagues have
been instrumental in getting her into the practice hit
and scholarship of teaching engineering. In particu-
lar, she points to Bucknell chemical engineering
colleagues Mike Prince, Mike Hanyak, and Bill Snyder.
Bucknell is working to make engineering education more
global, and Vigeant has been an ardent supporter as well. In
June 2010 she and colleagues Felipe Perrone, professor of
computer science, and Tim Raymond, professor of chemi-
cal engineering, accompanied a group of 25 students from
various engineering disciplines to Brazil for an intensive,
three-week course, Engineering in the Global and Societal
Context, that looks at engineering (education, businesses,
projects) in another country within the context of that nation's
culture and history. In June 2012 she will be going to China
with another group of Bucknell engineering students and col-
leagues Xiannong Meng, professor of computer science, Jie
Lin, professor of electrical engineering, and Keith Buffinton,
dean of engineering.

Recognizing that it is important to grab the attention of
students early to keep them interested and engaged in en-
gineering, Vigeant took on a leadership role in the redesign
of the first-year seminar Exploring Engineering. She also
served as coordinator of the course for three years. The course
begins with a brief introduction to different types of engi-
neering majors at Bucknell: biomedical, chemical, civil and
environmental, computer science, electrical, and mechanical
engineering. Then, students select three, three-week engineer-
ing challenges to complete with their classmates. One that she
devised, which is still among the offerings, was "Engineering

Taking one for the team: Margot getting
iy a water balloon during the first-year "Douse the Deans"
water balloon catapult-building event.

Athletics," a challenge to engineer a "better" (as defined by
the students themselves) sneaker sole.
Vigeant's biggest contribution to the Exploring Engineer-
ing course was the final challenge of the semester, required
of all 200-plus students enrolled in the course's multiple
seminar groups. She wanted to make the project not only an
engineering endeavor but also a College of Engineering-wide
community service project. "Margot is one of the most ener-
getic, passionate, and dedicated people I know," says Karen
Marosi, associate dean of engineering at Bucknell University.
"She's also incredibly creative, and when she gets a good
idea, she'll go after it no matter what the barriers. Somehow
she always finds a way."
The course's culminating challenge has changed over the
years to keep it interesting and relevant. At first, students were
asked to inventory the Bucknell campus and engineer solu-
tions to make it more accessible to people with disabilities.
When that subject became exhausted after several years, they
did the same for businesses in the college's town of Lewis-
burg. Since 2006, the students, in groups of four, have been
challenged to design and execute a "gizmo" that can be used
to teach children a science or engineering concept such as
the conservation of energy. Their real-life customers are local
teachers and students, home-schooling families, and youth
groups like the Boy Scout and Girls Scouts who attend the
College's much-anticipated Gizmo Expo each December.
"There's a lot of learning that goes on when students have to
convert a paper plan to implementation," Vigeant says. "They
have to define what problem they are trying to solve, pick

Vol. 46, No. I, Winter 2012

Last year's senior ChE class

playfully presented her with a

golden-edged certificate for being

"Most Likely to Slay a Dragon

Using the Rankine Cycle."

the best solution, defend their choice, respond to customer
feedback, build the gizmo-and make it work!" The initial,
consulting customers for the gizmos are education students
in Bucknell's Teaching Elementary Science course, taught by
Lori Smolleck, associate professor of education.
The final step for the student groups is demonstrating the
products at the Gizmo Expo. If any of the adults at the Expo
request the gizmo, the students have to give it away. "It's
our community service," she explains. "I wanted to find a
way to motivate the students' projects, to show that there is
someone out there who cares about this besides us and for
reasons other than a grade."
Vigeant has presented and published numerous times on
the first-year course at Bucknell, and particularly the gizmo
project that she designed.
The final engineering course that Bucknell students take,
Senior Design, got the same kind of overhaul in a project lead
by Jim Maneval, professor of chemical engineering. Rather
than the final product being a design on paper, the course now
culminates with an actual deliverable to a real client, either
on- or off-campus. Margot's chemical engineering students
frequently work with businesses that come to Bucknell's
SBDC. Last year, for example, one group worked with the
owner of a natural soap company, Pompeii Street Soap Co., to
create an all-natural, detergent-free, liquid hand soap. It was

not easy. Turns out, natural ingredients will foam fairly easily,
but the customer/company owner did not want a foaming soap.
The students did eventually succeed; top-secret formulation
and product development is ongoing.

Vigeant considers herself first and foremost a teacher, but
she also conducts chemical engineering research unrelated to
education (though she typically involves her students in that
research). Since leaving UVA, she has continued her research
into bacterial adhesion but took it in a new direction to study
how E. coli flagella move. To do so, she worked with col-
leagues to build for Bucknell a total internal reflection aqueous
fluorescent microscope.
She has collaborated with Ewan McNay, assistant profes-
sor of behavioral neuroscience at The University of Albany
(SUNY), on their research measuring in vivo neurochemistry
with microdialysis by creating a mathematical model of the
brain-probe environment. The tool created by her and stu-
dent Damon Vinciguerra has confirmed that the underlying
assumptions being made by the neuroscientists were valid,
and has provided new insight into the parameters that affect
microdialysis measurements. "Without this tool, we had no
way of knowing whether the data we were getting out was
accurate. Margot's work has general applicability to all micro-
dialysis studies," McNay says. "Working with Margot, I found
her to be very responsive and highly knowledgeable, and
she has excellent writing skills. I wish I had more colleagues
like her." Others who have worked with her express similar
sentiments, and she gets high praise on student evaluations as
well. As Ford, her dissertation adviser, recognized early on,
she is the complete package: a loving daughter, sister, wife,
and mother; a scholar of the highest caliber; a creative thinker;
a faculty member who serves her university in myriad ways;
and a highly effective, committed teacher who is dedicated to
advancing the scholarship of engineering education. O

Chemical Engineering Education






An Experiment for the Undergraduate Unit Operations Lab

University of Connecticut Storrs, CT 06269-3222
Water is a limited resource. Less than 1% of water
on the planet is fresh and easily accessible, and it
is projected that, by 2050, one-third of the global
population will be without a secure source of clean drinking
water.11 These circumstances have prompted research into
techniques that augment the amount of available fresh water
through water reuse and desalination. Membrane separations
have become a popular method of desalination due to recent
advancements in the field coupled with the relatively low
energy requirement compared to thermally driven desalina-
tion. With mass transfer, separations, and process engineer-
ing at the core of their curriculum, chemical engineers are
uniquely suited to design optimized separation processes
involving membranes if given the opportunity to learn about
their operation. It is therefore imperative that we integrate
membrane separations into the undergraduate chemical en-
gineering (CHE) curriculum to prepare our students to tackle
these grand challenges with new technologies.
In all ABET-accredited chemical engineering programs, a
laboratory course is required to provide hands-on experience
to students who have completed their core CHE coursework.
Many CHE programs, including the Department of Chemi-
cal, Materials, and Biochemical Engineering (CMBE) at the
University of Connecticut (UCONN), have been updating
their laboratory curricula to more accurately represent modem
technologies. The undergraduate CHE Laboratory at UCONN
contains only two separations experiments: a pilot-scale
double-effect evaporator and a 20-stage distillation column.

These thermal separation methods have value as classical
chemical engineering approaches. These techniques,however,
are becoming obsolete in certain sectors of industry. Today's
employers demand knowledge of newer separation methods
from recent graduates. As membrane separations become
more commonly employed, students require practical experi-
ence with a system that teaches key membrane separations
concepts while reinforcing mass transport fundamentals. For
this reason, a membrane separations experimental module

Daniel Anastasio received his B.S. in
chemical engineering from the University of
Connecticut in 2009. He is pursuing a Ph.D.
in chemical engineering at the University of
Connecticut while acting as an instructional
specialist for the chemical engineering un-
dergraduate laboratory. His research inter-
ests include osmotically driven membrane
separations and engineering pedagogy.

Jeffrey McCutcheon is the Northeast
Utilities Assistant Professor in Environmental
Engineering Education in the Department of
Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engi-
neering at the University of Connecticut. He
received his B.S. in chemical engineering
from the University of Dayton in 2002 and
his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Yale
University in 2008. His primary research
areas are membrane separations, electro-
spinning, and emerging water treatment
Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

was created for the CHE Laboratory course at UCONN. One
component of this module is a crossflow reverse osmosis
(RO) system.
Previously published studies on RO experimental develop-
ment usually describe dead-end filtration systems .[23] These
systems operate in a batch mode, using a pressure vessel
to force water through the membrane. Dead-end filtration
systems lack the ability to tightly control hydrodynamics,
temperature, and water recovery, and are also subject to
more serious concentration polarization. Other RO experi-
ments employ commercial crossflow membrane modules.[4]
It is often difficult and costly to change the membranes in
these systems, however, limiting the variety of membranes
that can be tested. The system described in this paper is a
crossflow RO system designed to mimic the conditions of an
industrial membrane module while permitting a wide array
of controllable variables. This system allows the students to
observe change in membrane performance with changing
hydrodynamic and fluid characteristics.
This experiment seeks to introduce students to the vital mem-
brane performance parameters: permeability and selectivity.
Sometimes referred to collectively as permselectivity, these
parameters are used to appropriately select a membrane for
any particular separation challenge. Although this experiment
focuses primarily on desalination, an understanding of these
key performance metrics cuts across separation disciplines
and applies to any liquid, gas, or biological separation.
During the experiment, students will calculate the hydraulic
permeability and salt rejection of several commercial RO or
nanofiltration (NF) membranes
and compare their values to

the manufacturer's specifica-
tions. This experiment is also
designed to reinforce mass trans-
fer boundary layer theory through
an examination of concentration
polarization (CP). Students will
learn about the complex interplay
between salt rejection, flux, and
CP, and think critically about
possible applications for each
membrane, considering each one's
permeability and selectivity. The
students will be asked to defend
their conclusions, forcing them
to think critically about the key
design factors in RO desalination
(feed water quality, product water
quality and quantity, and operating
pressure/power requirement).
The system described in this
paper was designed to be mobile,
robust, and easy-to-use. Test cells

were designed such that small, single-use membrane coupons
can be changed quickly between tests to permit the evalu-
ation of multiple types of membranes. Furthermore, given
the length of an individual test, multiple cells in series were
needed to ensure data reproducibility, permitting students
to obtain three flux measurements for every pressure they
test and expediting the generation of data. Due to the rela-
tively short channel length, pressure drop across each cell
is negligible. Finally, the system was mounted to a modified
cart to allow demonstrations outside of the undergraduate
laboratory. This system has been used for demonstrations to
the Membrane Separations class at UCONN and to visiting
high school students as part of UCONN's Exploring Engi-
neering (E2) summer program. While a cart-mounted system
has this added benefit, it is not essential to the functionality
of this system.

A diagram of the cart-mounted RO system layout is pre-
sented as Figure 1. Pre-cut, pre-wet commercial membrane
coupons are sealed into each of the test cells, and the feed
tank is filled with deionized (DI) or saline water. After a brief
equilibration period (30 minutes) at high pressure, students
measure permeate flow rate and conductivity. This process
is repeated at multiple pressures for pure water and at mul-
tiple flow rates for saline water. Using this data, hydraulic
permeability (A) and salt rejection (%R) are determined for
each tested membrane. Boundary layer phenomena are also
considered. The results are compared to the manufacturer's
published specifications.

Figure 1. Schematic flow diagram of the crossflow reverse osmosis system.
Chemical Engineering Education

Students are typically able to perform hy-
draulic permeability and salt rejection tests in
approximately two hours for an NF membrane
and three hours for a brackish water (BW) RO

Figures 2. Photographs of reverse osmosis
test cell (a, above) when closed, (b, below
when opened. The open cell shows the fee
channel (top) and the permeate collector
(bottom). This permeate collector is a sin-
tered stainless steel plate (Mott Corporatio


membrane. The length of this experiment can be extended by introducing
more independent variables or different membranes. Prior to the experi-
ment at UCONN, students read an instructional manualE51 and meet with
a teaching assistant for system operation guidance. The RO system, as
described, allows for control of many independent variables beyond
membrane type and operating pressure, including crossflow rate, solute
type, solute concentration, and temperature.

I. Membrane Selection
Flatsheet membranes have been graciously provided by Dow Water
& Process Solutions for this experiment. Specifically, the BW30, NF90,
and NF270 membranes were selected to provide students a wide range of
membrane permselectivity.[6-91 Dow's seawater (SW) membranes could be
used as well, but the low hydraulic permeability makes tests prohibitively
long at the pressures tested with this system (up to 400 psi). RO membranes
from other manufacturers are also appropriate. This experiment requires
only small membrane coupons (approximately 8 in2 per cell) that can be
S discarded after use.
II. Cell Design
The membrane cells are each composed of two halves fabricated from
black delrin and supported with stainless steel plates. The bottom half
contains a crossflow channel, with dimensions 3" long by 1"
wide by 1/8" deep, fed via threaded ports drilled into the sides
S of each cell. Surrounding the channel is a Viton O-ring (3"
OD, 1/8" thick, McMaster) seated in a groove, which serves
to seal the cell and prevent leaking. The top of the cell houses
permeate collector that prevents damage to the membrane
at high pressure. This collector is made of sintered stainless
steel from Mott Corporation (Farmington, CT). The collected
permeate flows through a 1/8" threaded fitting inserted into
the top of each cell. These fittings are connected to lengths
of flexible PVC tubing for easy collection. The two halves
are placed on threaded stainless steel rods that are mounted
to a stainless steel base plate, which can easily be affixed
to a cart. Washers and nuts are used to support and seal the
cell. Photographs of a sample cell are included in Figures 2.
Detailed cell schematics are available upon request. If fabrica-
tion facilities are unavailable, pre-made cells with a similar
design can be purchased from Sterlitech, General Electric, or
Separation Systems Technology.
III. Key System Components
The feed tank selected was a 5-gal Easy Drain cylindrical
tank with stand from McMaster-Carr (Princeton, NJ). Re-
inforced PVC tubing joins the feed tank to the Multi-Speed
Diaphragm Pump purchased from Wanner Engineering (Min-
neapolis, MN). A drain is installed in this line to facilitate
system cleaning. The pump drive is equipped with a variable
speed controller that regulates the pump diaphragm frequency.
The variable speed pump permits tests in the RO, NF, and ul-
trafiltration (UF) pressure regimes (although only NF and RO
regimes are tested during this experiment). A high-pressure

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

Outlet metering
S valve '
U-] "

Figure 3. Membrane cell train with bypass pressure regulator and outlet valve labeled.

stainless steel braided hose (McMaster) connects the pump
outlet to a stainless steel tee through the surface of the cart.
This tee is connected to the first cell. System pressure and fluid
flow rate are regulated by a pair of valves. The first is a front
pressure regulator (50-500 psi, Wanner), which is installed
on the aforementioned tee directly before the cell train and
functions as a bypass valve. The second valve is a Swagelok
SS-4L2 metering valve (Connecticut Valve and Fitting Co.,
Norwalk, CT), which regulates the flow of liquid that leaves
the cell train. The effluent from this valve flows through a
panel-mountable flow meter (0-1 gpm, McMaster). Liquid
leaving the bypass regulator and flow meter are returned to the
tank via tubing joined with quick-disconnect fittings to permit
easy system flushing.A glycerin-filled pressure gauge (0-400
psi, McMaster) is installed between the membrane train and
outlet valve. Figure 3 is a photograph of the membrane train
with the two valves labeled. These valves are essential to op-
timal function of this system as they allow pressure and flow
rate to be manipulated independently. An air purge port was
also installed to allow the user to purge the system of residual
water after cleaning. Filtered air is recommended to prevent
oil or other particulates from contaminating the system. Sys-
tem temperature is maintained using a Neslab ThermoFlex
1400 recirculating chiller (Fisher) that has been integrated
into the system through a coiled length of 316 stainless steel

tubing that resides in the feed tank. The recirculator ensures
temperature consistency by dissipating any heat generated by
the pump during operation.
When selecting piping, tubing, and other fittings for the
RO system, it is critical that all wetted parts resist corrosion,
which could foul membranes or result in leaks. All pressur-
ized components of the system (from the pump to the outlet
valves and pressure regulator) should be plumbed using
316 stainless steel fittings and pipe. Any low-pressure areas
may be plumbed using nylon or PVC fittings and hose. All
major plumbing components (pipe, tubing, and fittings) were
purchased from McMaster-Carr, unless otherwise specified.
All components were mounted directly to a Rubbermaid
cart (McMaster) that had been modified with an aluminum
backsplash and angle iron tank stand. Table 1 describes the
estimated cost of system components.
IV. Measurement Devices
Permeate is collected directly into 50 mL graduated cyl-
inders (McMaster). The cylinders allow data to be recorded
quickly and easily. A stopwatch is used to accurately mea-
sure the collection times. When a saline feed is used, the
conductivity of the feed and permeate, which correlates to
salt concentration, is measured using an Oakton Conductiv-
ity Probe (Fisher). The probe must be calibrated to measure

Chemical Engineering Education

concentration of the selected solute, which is accomplished by
testing the conductivity of a serial dilution of a 2000 ppm stock
solution of sodium chloride or other salt. A long-stemmed
dial thermometer (McMaster) is inserted into the feed tank
to monitor feed temperature.

Before an experiment, a membrane sheet was cut into
coupons that can fit within the cell and completely cover the
o-ring. Gloves were worn whenever membranes were handled
so as to minimize damage. RO membranes shipped from
Dow are coated with glycerin, which acts as a humectant to
prevent drying. The membranes were stored in DI water for
at least 24 hours to remove residual glycerin. For longer-term
storage, membranes must be kept in a refrigerator to prevent
bacterial growth. Two liters of 5-M sodium chloride stock
solution were prepared for use as a salinity adjuster during
the test. Since the system is pressurized, safety glasses were
worn during operation.
To begin a test, the feed tank was filled with 6 L of DI water,
although more water may be needed depending on system hold-
up volume. While wearing gloves, students loaded membranes
and sealed them into each cell with the selective layer facing
downward toward the open channel. The chiller was set to 25 C,
in accordance to Dow's published test parameters. This set point
may require modification to offset heat generated by the pump
and ambient temperature. The pump was activated to purge air
from the lines. After a few minutes, the system was pressurized
by gradually closing the bypass regulator and outlet valve,
alternating valves until the pressure is 300 psi. The system was
equilibrated at this pressure for 30 minutes to flush air from
the permeate tubes while compressing the membranes to pro-
vide uniform hydraulic resistance throughout the test. Longer
equilibration times are acceptable but not practical within a
laboratory period. After the equilibration period, permeate from
each cell was collected in the graduated cylinders over a period
of time at a desired pressure. Pressures between 100 and 300
psi are recommended, although students were encouraged to
measure flux at the manufacturer's test conditions (70 psi for
Dow's NF membranes, 225 psi for Dow's BW membranes).
To optimize time spent in the laboratory, only 10 to 20 mL of
permeate were collected per cell per pressure and all permeate
was returned to the feed tank after volume was recorded. Once
permeate flow rates had been observed for three to five pres-
sures, the feed concentration was increased to 2000 ppm by
adding stock solution (41 mL of 5-M sodium chloride stock for
a 6-L DI water feed). Using stock solution is important since it
rapidly mixes in water relative to the dissolution of solid salt.
After a brief mixing period, pressure was maintained at the
manufacturer's test specification while crossflow rate varied
from 0.1 to 0.5 gpm. At each new flow condition, students
should wait a few minutes for the fluid in the permeate line to
flush out. A sufficient amount of permeate should then be col-

elected in order to measure the conductivity accurately, but total
permeate volume should be minimized so that the experiment
does not take too long. Once permeate volume and collection
time were recorded, permeate and feed solution conductivity
were measured, and all permeate samples were returned to the
feed. This procedure should be repeated for at least three flow
rates. Measurements should be repeated if time allows. Typi-
cal testing conditions for experiments performed by students
at UCONN are summarized in Table 2.
After gathering all desired data, the tank was drained and
refilled with DI water. The bypass and outlet return lines were
disconnected and placed in a sink or a bucket with the outlet
valve and pressure regulator bypass opened fully. The pump
was then set to sufficient speed such that the flow rate was
above 0.5 gpm. The tank was refilled with DI water as needed
until the effluent conductivity was below 10 microsiemens
(pS). If DI water is in short supply, a pre-rinse using tap water
may be performed before a polishing DI water rinse. Flushing
usually requires approximately 2 gal of water. The system was
then purged with filtered compressed air to remove residual
water. The cells were opened and the membranes removed
to be examined for defects. If another test was to be imme-
diately done, new membrane coupons were inserted and the
procedure was repeated.

Estimated Cost of System Components
Component Supplier Approx.
Recirculating Fisher Scientific $3,000
Pump & controller Wanner Engineering $2,500
Three test cells n/a $1,500
Cart & tank McMaster $250
Meters & gauges McMaster $200
Valves Swagelock, Wanner $350
Tubing & piping McMaster $600
Conductivity Fisher Scientific $600
Total $9,000

Typical Operating Conditions for RO Experiments
Variable Typical Value/Range
Temperature 25 C
Initial feed volume 6 L DI water
High-pressure equilibration 30 min
Feed concentration 0 ppm NaC1, 2000 ppm NaCI
Hydraulic pressure 0 300 psi
Hydraulic flow rate 0.1 -0.5 L/min

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

Due to the system's versatility, there are numerous other
independent variables for students to explore if time permits.
For pure water or saline water, students can explore the impact
of temperature on flux and salt rejection. Temperatures can
range from 15 to 35 C. For saline water tests, the effect of
solute concentration and solute type on observed salt rejec-
tion and CP can be examined. Other recommended solutes
include magnesium sulfate and calcium chloride. Crossflow
rate can also be held constant during salt rejection tests, vary-
ing pressure to increase and decrease flux. Furthermore, other
commercial membranes can be tested.

The relevant variables that differentiate RO membranes
are hydraulic permeability (A) and salt rejection (%R). Salt
permeability coefficient (B) can be used instead of %R,
although rejection is generally a more pragmatic performance
metric. In order to facilitate student analysis, it can be as-
sumed that the feed solution is dilute. Therefore, the feed is
an ideal solution with density and viscosity equivalent to that

of pure water. Solute diffusivity can
be approximated using the Nernst-
Haskell equation.[10l The solution
properties do not change apprecia-
bly during the test since the system
is run at 0% recovery (all permeate
is returned to the feed tank) with a
constant feed concentration. For a
thorough overview of RO theory and
calculations, refer to the textbooks
of Mulder and Baker.[l 2]

Flux is determined by
normalizing the measured
volumetric flow rate of per-
meate by the surface area of
the membrane. Flux is typi-
cally reported in gallons per
square foot per day (gfd) or
liters per square meter per

Figure 4. Pure water flux
vs. pressure for various
NF and RO membranes
from Dow Water &
Process Solutions. Trend
line slopes correspond to
hydraulic permeability, A.
Error bars indicate one
standard deviation. Note
that 1 gfd is approxi-
mately 1.7 1/m2 hr.

hour (Imh). Once fluxes have been determined for each cell
at a given pressure, students will average the three flux values
and calculate the standard deviation. Using these average
fluxes and standard deviations, pure water flux is plotted vs.
operating pressure in accordance with the generalized flux
equation below:
J,=A(AP -A) (1)

where J is water flux, A is the hydraulic permeability con-
stant, AP is the transmembrane hydraulic pressure, and An is
the transmembrane osmotic pressure. As permeate pressure is
atmospheric, AP equals the gauge system operating pressure,
and An is zero for pure water feeds. Figure 4 presents a sum-
mary of pure water flux data gathered by several groups of
students using this system, presented with linear trend lines
and standard deviation error bars. Note that students should
report the units of A-the slopes of these lines-in either
gfd/psi or Imh/bar. This portion of the experimental analysis
teaches students that, in general, NF membranes (NF270 and
NF90) are more permeable than RO membranes (BW30).

Membrane Calculated A value, Calculated A range, Manufacturer's A
Name pure water (gfd/psi) salt water (gfd/psi) range (gfd/psi)
NF270 0.82 0.82-1.02 0.45-0.72
NF90 0.43 0.44-0.52 0.36-0.58
BW30 0.18 0.17-0.19 0.12-0.13


140 0 NF270 /
0 NF90 y 0.6914x -
A BW30 /
120 /

*" 100 -
g100- ,k y = 0.5241x
s / -
= 80- /,

S60- / /


50 100 150 200 250 300
Transmembrane Pressure (psi)

Chemical Engineering Education

Experimentally Observed Hydraulic Permeability (A) and Manufacturer's Reported
A Value Range

When a solute is present in the feed, the An term in Eq.
(1) is not zero. Furthermore, due to boundary layer effects,
the osmotic pressure of the feed solution changes near the
membrane interface. This phenomenon, illustrated in Figure
5, is known as concentration polarization (CP). Salts that are
rejected by the membrane accumulate near the membrane sur-
face while gradually diffusing back into the bulk solution. The
relative rates of convection and diffusion dictate concentra-
tion of solute at the membrane interface. As a result, a steady
state concentration gradient is established in which a bulk
feed concentration, Cb, and a feed-side membrane interface
concentration, Cm, are specified. For a thorough explanation
of CP, refer to the review paper written by Sablani, et al.113] A
simple mass balance for flow of salt into and out of the bound-
ary layer can be integrated into the following form:

b p
Cm -C

where C is the concentration of solute in the permeate and k is
the mass transfer coefficient which, according to film theory,
is equal to molecular diffusivity divided by boundary layer
thickness. The mass transfer coefficient can be determined
using Sherwood number (Sh = kdh/D) correlations avail-
able from a variety of sources .[1014] The empirical Sherwood
correlations presented to students in this experiment were
provided by Muldert[l for both laminar and turbulent flow
in a channel, presented below:
Shainar = 1.85(ReSc-d / L) (3)

Sh tr,u = 0.04(Reo75 Sco33) (4)

where Re is the Reynolds number, Sc is the Schmidt num-
ber, dh is the hydraulic diameter of the channel, and L is the
channel length. For the flow rates mentioned previously, the
system usually operates in transition flow, and the results
of the two Sherwood correlations are averaged. Once Cm is
known, CP modulus (Cm/C) can be reported; for RO, the CP
modulus is always greater than 1. The osmotic pressures of




High P I Flux Direction Low P

Figure 5. Illustration of concentration polarization.
The black line indicates the concentration of solute in

Membrane separations have become a
popular method of desalination
due to recent advancements in the
field coupled with the relatively low
energy requirement compared to
thermally driven desalination.

the permeate solution, bulk feed solution, and feed solution
at the membrane interface can now be calculated using the
idealized van't Hoff equation, shown below:
t = iCRT (5)

where i is the moles of ions produced by the dissolution of
one mole of the solute, C is the molar solute concentration,
R is the gas constant, and T is the temperature. This equation,
which indicates a linear relationship between concentration
and osmotic pressure, is valid for dilute solutions. Thus, for
relatively dilute solutions, the Cm, Cb, and Cp terms in Eq. (2)
can be replaced with J m, and p the osmotic pressures of
the solution at the feed-side membrane interface, bulk feed,
and permeate, respectively.
During experimental analysis, students can be asked to
ensure that the water permeability constant is the same for
the pure water and saline feeds. To use Eq. (1), however, the
students cannot use the observed osmotic pressure gradient
(Aobs = N n ) to accurately evaluate A, as the term does not
account for CP effects. Therefore, only the effective osmotic
pressure gradient (A eff = im i ) should be considered. When
plotting flux vs. driving force (AP Aneff), the data should
be linear with a slope equal to the hydraulic permeability
constant (A) and an x-intercept at zero, similar to the pure
water test results. Table 3 compares A values calculated by
one group of students based on pure water tests, saline water
tests, and Dow's published performance values. Students
should be able to observe that A values do not appreciably
change in the presence of salt. Discrepancies can be attrib-
uted to minor performance differences between individual
membrane coupons.
A more advanced analytical method is flux prediction,
which combines Eqs. (1), (2), and (5) as follows:

Jv =A[AP-(m -p)l

Im (-7b p kXp

from Eq. (1)

from Eq. (2) & (5)

J =A AP (b- p XP) J
w \ b / k

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

Eq. (6), which is a nonlinear algebraic equation, can then be
solved for water flux, Jw, using the experimentally observed
feed concentration and hydraulic pressure along with the pre-
viously determined pure water permeability constant and mass
transfer coefficient. Figure 6 is a parity plot of observed saline
water feed flux data vs. water flux predicted by boundary layer
theory at various crossflow rates and constant pressure. The
film theory model fits the data well for these membranes. This
portion of the analysis is an excellent demonstration of key
aspects of boundary layer theory. If flow rate is varied during
a saline water test, the mass transfer coefficient will increase
with Reynolds number, resulting in a thinner boundary layer,
lower CP modulus, and increased flux and rejection. If pres-
sure is increased at constant crossflow rate, it is expected the
boundary layer will grow as flux is increased and salt is forced
against the membrane, increasing CP modulus and lowering
observed salt rejection. The analysis also permits students
to check the accuracy of their data against film theory and
published data, forcing them to critically consider sources of
error, such as erroneous assumptions, data misinterpretation,
or poor data acquisition techniques.
The second key membrane performance metric is selectiv-
ity, often reported as observed percent salt rejection (%R)
for RO. Rejection-the percentage of feed solute retained
by the membrane-can be calculated using the following

%R= 1- C x100% (7)
Cb I

Figure 6. Parity plot of
experimentally observed
water flux and water flux
predicted by film theory
model with 2000 ppm
NaCl feed at various
crossflow rates. NF mem-
branes evaluated at 70
psi, and BW membrane
was evaluated at 225 psi.
Error bars indicate one
standard deviation. Note
that 1 gfd is approxi-
mately 1.71/m2 h.








An additional means of quantifying selectivity is the cal-
culation of intrinsic salt rejection (%Rint), which accounts
for concentration of solute at the membrane interface. This
rejection value can be calculated as follows:

%Ri, = 1- x100% (8)

These rejections are compared to those published by Dow,
accounting for the manufacturer's error limits, shown in
Figure 7. The intrinsic rejection values are always greater
than the observed rejection values, as the calculation accounts
for CP effects and provides a more accurate measure of how
much salt a membrane is capable of retaining. The observed
rejection results are slightly lower than the published values,
likely due to microscale defects that unavoidably form as
membranes are shipped, cut, and loaded into the system. Mi-
nor defects may also form near the o-ring seals. The results,
however, are within the limits of acceptable error as reported
by Dow. This aspect of the experiment demonstrates the trade-
off between membrane permeability and selectivity. The most
permeable membrane, the NF270, also has the poorest salt
rejection. The inverse is true of the BW30, the least perme-
able membrane. Understanding this relationship is essential
when selecting membranes for an RO process and is a critical
aspect of understanding membrane separations.
All data presented in this manuscript were generated by
senior-level chemical engineering students using the experi-
mental apparatus as a part of the CHE laboratory curriculum.
Students were expected to obtain accurate hydraulic perme-






Predicted Flux (gfd)

Chemical Engineering Education

0 NF270

S ONF90 ^
A BW30

,oo -- IIin i -i iI

ability constants and salt rejection values for each membrane
while generating reasonable CP moduli. They were to observe
the trade-off between selectivity and permeability and deter-
mine the impact of operating conditions, such as pressure and
flow rate, on overall membrane performance. Based on written
and oral lab reports, the majority of students who performed
this experiment were able to meet these goals. Some of the
first student groups to use the equipment cited cell leakage as
a possible source of error. Placing thicker o-rings in the cells
remedied this problem.
The versatility of this system has enabled its use outside of
the unit operations laboratory. We have used this system to
provide a brief introduction to membrane separations as part
of UCONN's Exploring Engineering (E2) Summer Program,
which is aimed at teaching rising high school juniors and
seniors about various facets of engineering. Using food col-
oring instead of sodium chloride in the feed, the system was
used to introduce the students to basic membrane separations
while teaching them the value of making assumptions (in this
case, that osmotic pressure generated by the food coloring is
negligible). Furthermore, this system has been successfully
implemented as a demonstration in UCONN's Membrane

Separations course for senior undergraduates and graduate
students. The experiment was used to introduce students to
more advanced aspects of RO, generating data from which
students could calculate hydraulic permeability, salt rejection,
and CP modulus.

This paper has described the design and use of a versatile
reverse osmosis system that has been implemented in the
chemical engineering senior laboratory capstone course at
the University of Connecticut. Students learn the fundamen-
tal performance variables critical to membrane separations,
namely permeability and solute rejection. Furthermore, the
concentration polarization aspect of this experiment intro-
duces students to a complex mass transport problem while
reinforcing mass transport boundary layer theory.
Once students analyze their data and determine the per-
meability and rejection of the membranes, they must think
critically about possible applications for each membrane
they tested, based on each membrane's permeability and
salt rejection. Students must consider vital parameters to the
RO desalination process, such as feed water salinity, desired

SExperimental Observed E Experimental Intrinsic a Manufacturer's Specification



4. 40%

20% ------

NF270 NF90 BW30

Membrane Type

Figure 7. Observed and intrinsic salt rejection of various membranes based on student observations and values reported
by the manufacturer. Feed solution was 2000 ppm NaC1. Error bars indicate one standard deviation.

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

permeate water quality and quantity, and operating power
requirements and restrictions. While designed as an experi-
ment for the undergraduate laboratory course, this portable
system has curriculum-wide applications, such as providing
demonstrations to freshman-through-graduate-level classes
in addition to demonstrating a chemical engineering process
to prospective students.

The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the
Chemical, Materials, and Biomolecular Engineering Depart-
ment at the University of Connecticut for providing the funds
to build this experimental system. Additional funding was
provided by the Robert and Beatrice Mastracchio Endowed
Scholarship. The authors would also like to thank Dow Water
& Process Solutions for generously donating the membranes
used in this experiment. The data presented in this manuscript
were gathered by Sean Andrew, Nathan Barlow, Emily Cole,
Robert DeFilippe,Aleah Edwards, Kristina Gillick, Jonathan
Goldman, Katherine Ivey, Timothy Largier, Philip Maiorano,
Megan Nolan, Brendan O'Grady, Congtin Phan, Mark Wil-
liams, and Tracy Williams as part of the Chemical Engineering
Laboratory course.

A- Hydraulic permeability constant [gal ft"2 day-' psi-']
C Solute molecular concentration [mol/L (M)]
D Molecular diffusivity of solute in water [m2/s]
dh Hydraulic diameter of channel [m]
i Ionic dissociation constant of solute [mol ions/mol

J -
P -
%Rin -


Volumetric water flux [gal ft2 day-' (gfd)]
Mass transfer coefficient [m/s, or gfd]
Channel length [m]
Pressure [psi]
Ideal gas constant [1.205 psi L mol-' K"']
Reynolds number
Observed salt rejection [%]
Intrinsic salt rejection [%]
Schmidt number
Sherwood number
Temperature [K]

Property of bulk feed solution
Property of feed solution at membrane interface

laminar -
turbulent -



Property of bulk permeate solution
Effective conditions at the membrane interface
Equation for laminar flow
Equation for turbulent flow

Fluid viscosity [kg m-' s']
Osmotic pressure [psi]
Fluid density [kg/L]
Fluid crossflow velocity [m/s]
Difference evaluated between feed and permeate

1. "Freshwater," Freshwater Information. National Geographic. n.d. Web.
20 Dec. 2010. ment/freshwater>
2. Moor, S.S., et al., "A Press RO System: An Interdisciplinary Reverse
Osmosis Project for First-year Engineering Students," Chem. Eng. Ed.,
37(1), 38 (2003)
3. Mohammad, A.W., "Simple Experiment to Study Mass Transfer Cor-
relations Using Nanofiltration Membranes," Chem. Eng. Ed., 34(3)
264 (2000)
4. Slater, C.S., "A Manually Operated Reverse Osmosis Experiment,"
Int. J. Eng. Ed., 10, 195 (1994)
5. Anastasio, D., "Evaluating Reverse Osmosis (RO) Membranes for
Water Desalination," CHEG 4137W and 4139W. UCONN School of
Engineering. Web. 26 Dec. 2010 www/ROF2011 .pdf>
6. "FILMTEC Reverse Osmosis Membranes Technical Manual,"
Dow Water & Process Solutions. Dow Chemical Company. n.d.
Web. 20 Dec. 2010 0344/0901b80380344689.pdf >
7. "Dow Filmtec NF270-400". Dow Water & Process Solutions. Dow
Chemical Company. n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2010>
8. "Dow Filmtec NF90-400," Dow Water & Process Solutions. Dow
Chemical Company. n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2010>
9. "Dow Filmtec BW30-400," Dow Water & Process Solutions. Dow
Chemical Company. n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2010>
10. Geankoplis, C.J., Transport Processes and Separation Process Prin-
ciples, 4th Ed., Prentice Hall, Inc., 883 (2003)
11. Mulder, M., Basic Principles of Membrane Technology, 2nd Ed.,
Kluwer Academic Publishers (1996)
12. Baker, R.W., Membrane Technology and Applications, 2nd Ed., John
Wiley & Sons, Ltd. (2004)
13. Sablani, S., et al., "Concentration Polarization in Ultrafiltration and
Reverse Osmosis: A Critical Review," Desalination, 114,269 (2001)
14. Cussler, E.L., Diffusion: Mass Transfer in Fluid Systems, 3rd Ed.,
Cambridge University Press (2009) 0

Chemical Engineering Education

Random Thoughts...



Education Designs, Inc.
North Carolina State University

ee if this one sounds familiar. You work through an
example in a lecture or tell the students to read it in
their textbook, then assign a similar but not identical
problem for homework. Many students act as though they
never saw anything like it in their lives, and if pressed they
will claim they never did. It is easy to conclude-as many
faculty members do-that the students must be incompetent,
lazy, or incapable of reading.
A few of our students may be guilty of those things, but
something else is behind their apparent inability to do more
than rote memorization of material in lectures and readings.
The problem with lectures is that it's impossible for most
people to learn much from a bad one, while if the lecturer is
meticulous and communicates well, everything seems clear:
the hard parts and easy parts look the same; each step seems
to follow logically and inevitably from the previous one; and
the students have no clue about the hard thinking required to
work out the flawless derivation or solution going up on the
board or projection screen. Only when they confront the need
to do something similar on an assignment do they realize how
much of what they saw in class they completely missed.
It's even worse when an instructor tells students to read the
text, fantasizing that they will somehow understand all they
read. There are two flaws in this scenario. Many technical texts
were not written to make things clear to students as much as
to impress potential faculty adopters with their rigor, so they
are largely incomprehensible to the average student and are
generally ignored. On the other hand, if a text was written with
students in mind and presents things clearly and logically, we
are back to the first scenario-the students read it like a novel,
everything looks clear, and they fail to engage in the intel-
lectual activity required for real understanding to occur.

A powerful alternative to traditional lectures and readings
is to have students go through complete or partially worked-
out derivations and examples in class, explaining them step-
by-step to one another. One format for this technique is an
active-learning structure called Thinking-Aloud Pair Problem
Solving, or TAPPS.t'21 It goes like this.
1. Prepare a handout containing the derivation or solved
problem to be analyzed and have the students pick up a
copy when they come in to class. Tell them to form into
pairs (if the class has an odd number of students, have
one team of three) and designate one member of each
pair as A and one as B (plus one as C in the trio).
2. When they've done that, tell them that initially A will be
the explainer and B (and C) will be the questioner(s).

Rebecca Brent is an education consultant
specializing in faculty development for ef-
fective university teaching, classroom and
computer-based simulations in teacher
education, and K-12 staff development in
language arts and classroom management.
She codirects the ASEE National Effective
Teaching Institute and has published articles
on a variety of topics including writing in un-
8 i dergraduate courses, cooperative learning,
public school reform, and effective university
Richard M. Felder is Hoechst Celanese
Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering
at North Carolina State University. He is co-
author of Elementary Principles of Chemical
Processes (Wiley, 2005) and numerous
articles on chemical process engineering
and engineering and science education,
and regularly presents workshops on ef-
fective college teaching at campuses and
conferences around the world. Many of his
publications can be seen at edu/effective_teaching>.

Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

The explainers will explain a portion of the handout
to the questioners, line-by-line, step-by-step, and the
questioners will (a) ask questions (if the explainers say
anything incorrect or confitsing), (b) prompt the ex-
plainers to keep talking (if they fall silent), and (c) give
hints (if the explainers are stuck). If both members of a
pair are stuck, they raise their hands and the instructor
comes over and helps. The second friction is based on
the fact that vocalizing one's thinking about a problem
sometimes leads to the solution.
3. The students first individually read the description of
the formula or model to be derived or the statement of
the problem to be solved; then the explainers explain it
in detail to the questioners and the questioners ask ques-
tions, keep the explainers talking, and offer hints when
necessary. Give the class 2-3 minutes for this activity.
4. Stop the students when the allotted time has elapsed,
randomly call on several of them to answer questions
about the description or problem statement they just
went through, and callfor volunteers if additional
responses are desired. Add your own explanations and
elaborations (you're still teaching here). Then have the
pairs reverse roles and work through the first part of
the derivation or problem solution in the same manner.
When results are obtained that are not in the handout,
write them on the board so everyone can see and copy
them. Proceed in this alternating manner through the
entire derivation or solution.

After going through this exercise, the students really un-
derstand what they worked through because they explained
it to each other, and if they had trouble with a tricky or con-
ceptually difficult step they got clarification in minutes. Now
when they tackle the homework they will have had practice
and feedback on the hard parts, and the homework will go
much more smoothly for most of them than it ever does after
a traditional lecture.
Cognitive science provides an explanation for the effective-
ness of this technique.[P34 Experts have developed cognitive
structures that enable them to classify problems in terms of
the basic principles they involve and to quickly retrieve appro-
priate solution strategies, much the way expert chess players
can quickly plan a sequence of moves when they encounter
a particular type of position. Novices-like most of our
students-don't have those structures, and so they have the
heavy cognitive load of having to figure out how and where
to start and what to do next after every single step. Faced with
this burden, they frantically scour their lecture notes and texts
for examples resembling the assigned problems and focus

on superficial details of the solutions rather than trying to
really understand them. They may learn how to solve nearly
identical problems that way, but even moderate changes can
stop them cold.
Sweller and Cooper"31 and Ambrose et al.[41 report studies
showing that students are indeed better at solving new prob-
lems when they have first gone through worked-out examples
in the manner described. When they have to explain a solution
to a classmate, their cognitive load is dramatically reduced
because they don't have to figure out every trivial detail in
every step-most of the details are right there in front of them.
Instead, they have to figure out why the steps are executed the
way they are, which helps them understand the key features
of the problem and the underlying principles. The effect is
even greater if they are given contrasting problems that look
similar but have underlying structural differences, such as a
mechanics problem easily solved using Newton's laws and a
similar one better approached using conservation of energy.
Having to explain why the two problems were solved in dif-
ferent ways helps equip the students to transfer their learning
to new problems.
Give it a try. Pick a tough worked-out derivation or solved
problem, and instead of droning through it on PowerPoint
slides, put it on a handout-perhaps leaving some gaps to be
filled in by the students-and work through it as a TAPPS
exercise. Before you do it for the first time, read Reference
2, note the common mistakes that reduce the effectiveness of
active learning (such as making activities too long or calling
for volunteers after each one), and avoid making them. After
several such exercises, watch for positive changes in your
students' performance on homework and tests and in their
attitudes toward the class. Unless a whole lot of research is
wrong, you will see them.

1. Lochhead, J., and A. Whimbey, "Teaching Analytical Reasoning
Through Thinking-Aloud Pair Problem Solving," in J.E. Stice (Ed.),
Developing Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Abilities: New
Directions for Teaching and Learning,No. 30. San Francisco: Jossey-
Bass (1987)
2. Felder, R.M., and R. Brent, "Active Learning: An Introduction,"
ASQ Higher Education Brief, 2(4), August 2009, edulfelder-public/Papers/ALpaper(ASQ).pdf>, accessed 11/1/2011
3. Sweller, J., and G.A. Cooper, "The Use of Worked Examples as a
Substitute for Problem Solving in Learning Algebra," Cognition and
Instruction, 2, 59-89 (1985)
4. Ambrose, S.A., M.W. Bridges, M. DiPietro, M.C. Lovett, and M.K.
Norman, How Learning Works: 7Research-basedPrinciplesfor Smart
Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass (2010) 0

Chemical Engineering Education

All of the Random Thoughts columns are now available on the World Wide Web at and at

teaching tips )


New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003

planned to play for the Chicago Cubs. I was making great
progress toward that goal at the age of seven when my
baseball team won the championship in the summer of
1969. I was never on another championship team and my
plans of a pro baseball career ended in high school. All that
remained of my dream were hoarded shoeboxes of baseball
cards. Today, the hall-of-famers whose cards I collected are
becoming a collection of old dead guys.
As Holles[t1 pointed out, "Old Dead Guys" make great sub-
ject matter for activity breaks in the classroom. While teach-
ing Heat and
Mass Transfer, I
combined Hol-
les' "Old Dead
Guys" with my
former hobby of
card collecting
to create a set
of trading cards
ing the scien-
tists behind the
groups of trans-
port phenom-
ena, immortal-
izing the names
that permeate
chemical engi-
neering texts:
Reynolds, Nus-
selt, Fourier,
Prandlt, Rayleigh, Peclet, Grashof, Sherwood, and Schmidt
to name a few.
A pack of these old dead guy cards could not be purchased
at the Five-&-Dime, rather they had to be earned, one card
at a time. The card containing a photographic image of Jean
Baptiste Biot on the front and his biography on the back
could only be acquired by correctly noting on an exam that
the Biot Number is the ratio of internal thermal resistance to
boundary layer thermal resistance, quantified as the quotient
of the film coefficient to the thermal conductivity of the body.
In a similar manner, the Osborne Reynolds card could only
be owned by correctly identifying that the Reynolds Number

was the ratio of inertial to viscous forces, quantified as the
product of mean velocity and hydraulic diameter, divided by
the kinematic viscosity. The Biot was the first card awarded
in the Fall 2002 semester when I first employed these cards
as a motivational teaching tool. Only a handful of students
came to class prepared to be the recipient of a J.B. Biot card,
consequently there are only a few in circulation, making this
card as rare as a T206 Honus Wagner baseball card.
Although I no longer teach Heat and Mass Transfer, the
nerd cards (as lovingly named by the students) phenomenon
continues among New Mexico State University chemical en-
gineering students through the student chapter of AICHE. The
deck has been expanded to 48 cards to include the "father" of
chemical engi-
Jean Baptiste Blot neering George
Born: April 2 1774; Paris, France Davi[2] and
Died: February 3, 1862; Paris, France Davi l and
other names
French physicist, best known for his work in polarization of light.
In 1800 he became professor of physics at the College de France, common to
through the influence of LaPlace, from whom he had sought and the discipline
obtained the favor of reading the proof sheets of the "Mecanique he d pl
Celeste". such as Nor-
J. B. Biot, although younger than Fourier, worked on the analysis ton, S olv ay,
of heat conduction even earlier in 1802 or 1803. He attempted, Haber, Bosch
unsuccessfully, to deal with the problem of incorporating external Ha B ,
convection effects in heat conduction analysis in 1804. Fourier Langmuir, and
read Biot's work and by 1807 had determined how to solve the
problem. Arrhenius. The
In 1804 he accompanied Gay Lusac on the first balloon ascent Series 2 deck
undertaken for scientific purposes, in 1820, with Felix Savart, he also includes
discovered the law known as "Biot and Savart's Law". He was
especially interested in questions relating to the polarization of some old liv-
light, and for his achievements in this field he was awarded the g gus
Rumford Medal of the Royal Society in 1840. ing guy well
known within
Bi hL intemal thermal resistance the profession
ks boundary layer thermal resistance for their text-
books. Only
about a dozen
Se"" of the Series 2
7 of48
decks remain
within the student chapter's coffers; most have been sold to
current students, were made available to department alumni
through Facebook and eBay, awarded as door prizes at chap-
ter meetings, or given as gifts to alumni and dignitaries who
give of their time to speak at a meeting of the NMSU AICHE
Student Chapter. A planned Series 3 deck will further increase
the list of names familiar to those in the discipline.

1. Holes, J.H., "Old Dead Guys," in Chem. Eng. Ed., 43(2), 150 (2009)
2. Cohen, C., "The Early History of Chemical Engineering: A Reassess-
ment," in The British J.for the History of Science, 29(2), 171 (1996) 0
Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012


Results of the 2010 Survey on



University of Kentucky Paducah, KY 42002
Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA 17837

The Chemical Reaction Engineering (CRE) course,
while currently an essentially undisputed part of the
core chemical engineering curriculum, is actually a
fairly recent addition to the curriculum. A retrospective paper
by Fogler and Cutlip[' describes the introduction of the topic
in the 1940s as one characterized by "gross approximations"
for slide-rule calculations as part of broader process opera-
tions courses, while today it has developed into a dedicated,
more computationally oriented course.
In 1957 the AIChE Education Projects committee began a
series of surveys of the undergraduate curriculum as offered
by chemical engineering departments in North America.
These surveys continued under the auspices of the AIChE
Special Projects committee until the late 1990s. In 2008,
AIChE formed an Education Division which recognized the
value of the survey for its characterization of how courses
are taught at a broad range of institutions as well as for the
opportunity to share innovative and effective teaching meth-
ods associated with specific courses. This paper presents the
results for the second in the series of surveys conducted by
the Education Division.
Much of the content of this paper was previously published
as part of the American Society for Engineering Education
2011 conference proceedings.[2] This paper adds additional
analysis and comparison with data from previous surveys.

The Chemical Reaction Engineering course (CRE) is the
topic of the 2010 survey. The aforementioned AIChE Educa-
tion Projects committee previously conducted surveys on the
same course in 1974,[3] 1984,[4] and 1991.[5] Other surveys

on this course from that committee may exist but were not
obtained by the authors. The current survey was designed in
part to update the results published for those surveys.
The survey was conducted via Internet server hosted by
the University of Kentucky running an open source software
package, LimeSurvey (). E-mail invitations
to participate were initially sent to all department chairs in
the United States and Canada requesting participation from
the faculty members teaching the relevant coursess. A second

David L. Silverstein is currently the PJC
Engineering Associate Professor of Chemical
and Materials Engineering at the University of
Kentucky, College of Engineering Extended
Campus Programs in Paducah. He received
his B.S.Ch.E. from the University of Alabama
in Tuscaloosa; his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemi-
cal engineering from Vanderbilt University
in Nashville; and has been a registered P.E.
since 2002. Silverstein is the 2004 and 2011
recipient of the William H. Corcoran Award
for the most outstanding paper published in
Chemical Engineering Education during the
previous year, and the 2007 recipient of the Raymond W. Fahien Award
for Outstanding Teaching Effectiveness and Educational Scholarship.
Margot Vigeant is an associate professor of
chemical engineering at Bucknell University,
where she has enjoyed working with students
since 1999. She graduated with a B.S. in
chemical engineering from Cornell University,
and her M.S. and Ph.D. from The University
of Virginia. With Mike Prince and Katharyn
Nottis, she received the 2011 "best paper"
award from the ASEE Educational Research
and Methods Division and from PIC IV. Since
2009, Margot has also been moonlighting as
an associate dean of engineering.

Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

request was sent to the instructors of record for the CRE course
during the 2009-2010 academic year when that information
was publicly available on the Internet. From that population
of 158 programs, 62 usable surveys representing 60 institu-
tions were received.
This 38% response rate represents an improvement from
the results of the 2009 survey on the freshman introductory
courses161 (31%), but still falls short of the response rates in
1974 (58%) and 1984 (91%). No response data is available
for the 1991 survey.
Responding programs represented great regional diversity
and size, covering the United States and three Canadian
provinces. Seventy percent of responding programs were from
public institutions. The smallest responding department had an

5% 1

First term junior Second term

Third term

First term SE

Figure 1. 2009-2010 offerings of CRE by term as reported






40% 40




1974 1984 Survey Year 1991

Figure 2. Timing of first offering of CRE course. Data for 20
by instructors.

overall undergraduate chemical engineering enrollment of 37
students in 2010, while the largest had 730 undergraduates."7
Median undergraduate program enrollment for responding
institutions is 177.
The complete survey in print form is available in the ASEE
Proceedings paper.[21

The most common timings for the course within a program's
curriculum were at the end of the junior year or at the start of the
senior year, with a slight edge to the junior-year start. The dis-
tribution of the timing of course offerings is given in Figure 1.
Figure 2 offers a historical comparison of offerings by term,
which indicates there has been a shift toward offering the
first course in CRE to the junior
year. In 1974, 13% of reporting
programs taught the course in
Quarter the junior year, and in 2010 that
Semester percentage is about 50%.
Of the 60 institutions reporting,
55 indicated they offered a single
course in CRE. The remaining
five offered two courses. Of
those institutions, three were on
the quarter system. Those 60 in-
stitutions reported 3.7 h/wk total
S devoted to the course, broken up
cond term Third term into an average 2.9 h/wk on lec-
senior senior
ture, 0.6 h on problem solving,
ed by instructors, and 0.2 h/wk on experimental
laboratory. Only five of the 55
offer experimental laboratories,
ranging from 30 minutes to 3
hours weekly.
Junior senior In 1971, 3.06 h/wk of lecture

and problem laboratory were
reported, with 0.40 h/wk in
experimental laboratories. The
"typical" undergraduate experi-
ence has never included a labora-
tory specifically for this course.
In 1971, 30% of universities
responding indicated experimen-
tal labs, with an average reported
time of 1.5 h/wk. The 1984 report
indicated 6% of courses included
2010 a 1-hour experimental lab and
4% had a 3-hour experimental
09-2010 as reported laboratory. The 1991 survey in-
dicated an average of 3.41 h/wk

Chemical Engineering Education




E 35%
8. 30%
| 20%

I _


in lecture, with an average of 1.91
h/wk experimental laboratory
among the 22% of departments
offering a laboratory as part of the
CRE course. Figure 3 shows the
historical changes in laboratory
exercises associated with CRE

The typical size of a class
section does not appear to have
changed significantly over the
past several decades, as shown in
Figure 4. Since the bin sizes var-
ied for each survey analysis, it is
not possible to compare between
survey results directly. In 2009-
10, the average class size was 40.
This falls in between the 1984
average of 43 and the 1990-91
estimated average of about 33.
When comparing section en-
rollment data with Figure 3, it ap-
pears that as class sizes increase,
the number of programs incorpo-
rating laboratory exercises into a
traditionally lecture course seems
to decrease.
Classes are primarily taught
by professional instructors, with
only eight programs (12.5%) re-
porting teaching assistants (TA's)
delivering lectures. Among those
programs, a maximum of 10% of
lectures were given by TA's, with
the average being 3.7%.
The prerequisite courses de-
clared by instructors in 2010
are given in Figure 5. Note that

Figure 3 (top). Percentage of
responding programs offering
laboratory exercises in con-
junction with the CRE course.
Data for 2009-2010 as reported
by instructors.
Figure 4 (middle). Section
size for the CRE course. Data
for 2009-2010 as reported by
Figure 5 (bottom). Prerequisite
courses (formal and informal)
reported by instructors.
Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012



. 30.0

k 25.0

o 20.0


0.0 4-


2010 Data
Average: 40.2
Max: 120
Min: 5

* 1991
* 2010

100 more

Number of Students per Section

Figure 4


.2 25%

1 20%.



1974 1984 1991 2010
Survey Year Figure 3


90% 0 1991
s80% E]2010
t 70%
3 20%

10% .. ,

s0 Figure

e Figure 5



lb 9 4

transport-related courses
have increased in frequen-
cy of requirement. Some
programs simplify the pre-
requisite list by requiring
"junior-" or "senior-stand-
ing," and do not give this
full list of requirements
explicitly in their course
A wide range of student
deliverables was required,
as shown in Figure 6. When
likely "open-ended" prob-
lems (independent and team
projects, open-ended prob-
lems) are combined, about
54% of courses require
open-ended design work.
In the 1991 survey, 93%
of departments indicated
they would occasionally or
often use open-ended de-
sign problems if they were
available in their textbook.
In that 1991 survey, 33%
of departments indicated a
project assignment.
The primary unit system
used in CRE problems has
also changed over time.
Figure 7 shows how there
appears to be a transition
from a push to SI in 1984
followed by a return to
American Engineering
(AE) units in 1991 to a
more balanced but leaning
SI approach today.
Figure 6 (top). Deliver-
ables required for the
course in 2009-2010 as
reported by instructors.
Figure 7 (middle).
Characterization of unit
systems used in prob-
lems encountered in the
CRE course. Data for
2009-2010 as reported
by instructors.
Figure 8 (bottom). Soft-
ware used in the CRE
course in 2009-2010 as
reported by instructors.

Chemical Engineering Education


70% E 1984
60% 1991
o 60%
A 50% -

.S 40%


o 20%


Figure 7 Mostly SI Balanced Mostly AE

S 70%
M 60%
"S 50%

o 40%
In 30%
5 20%

e (

Figure 8

Itl _



Software usage
by programs was
varied, as shown in
Figure 8. Perhaps
most notable is the
lack of industrial
process simulation
combined with the
emergence of finite
element modeling.
In 1991, the most
common language/
program reported
(71 programs) fol-
lowed by Lotus
(presumably the 1-
2 3 1 d


C. C

M0 10

None 10% 20% 30% 40% >50%

Figure 9. Percent of homework assignments requiring use of computer software in 2009-2010 as
reported by instructors.

^.-J SBplU 6dLIC ^----------------------
Basic, Pascal, and 70%
The use of com- u 60%
puter software in ,
routine homework t 50%
assignments is sig- C
-0 40%
nificant as shown 40
in Figure 9. Other 30
use of computers o
in the course in- o 20%
cludes use of course '
management soft- 10%
ware (CMS such
as Blackboard) or 0%
web pages primarily s .
for making avail- -o ,
able class notes and ,,e
homework solu-
tions. Some utilize
Internet-based ref-

erences for thermo-
dynamic and trans-
port properties, or
to collect real-world operati
exams from previous years
"level playing field" for tho
of old exams. Video from
Busters is used for safety di
from FEM/CFD software ar
as en
are also used by some, suc
title/info.shtml>. The Chenmi
videos available online. S(
supplementary material, inc
associated websites.
Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

Figure 10. Adoption of textbooks. For a particular lead author, multiple editions may be
represented. Data for 2009-2010 as reported by instructors.

onal data. Other schools provide Textbooks reported as currently in use include:
for students to study, providing a Fogler, Elements of Chemical Reaction Engineering, 4th Ed.
ise without access to collections Levenspiel, Chemical Reaction Engineering, 3rd Ed.
television programs like Myth- Roberts, Chemical Reactions and Chemical Reactors
scussions. Animations collected Rawlings & Ekerdt, Chemical Reactor Analysis and Design
e used. Online reactor labs such Fundamentals
chance the course. Online texts Hill, An Introduction to Chemical Engineering Kinetics
:h as Carl Lund's KaRE TExT, and Reactor Design
IResearchlkaretext/front_matter/ Schmidt, The Engineering of Chemical Reactions
cal Safety Board also has relevant Froment and Bischoff, Chemical Reactor Analysis and
ome textbooks offer significant Design
luding tutorial software, on their Figure 10 illustrates the rise and fall in popularity of CRE
textbooks over the past 36 years.

* 1974

* 1991

* 2010

~` a,,~ rA


The changes in course
topics are reflected in
changes in textbook
coverage and the use of
those chapters. Figure
11 shows the usage of
particular chapters in
Fogler's textbook in both
1991 and 2010 among
those institutions report-
ing adoption of the text.
There is general sat-
isfaction with existing
texts on the subject,
though some would like
to see a more concise
textbook containing one
semester's coverage.
Some express an interest
in additional coverage of
safety topics and bioreac-
tors, although as shown
in Figure 11 the reported
usage of a chapter on
bioreactors has actually
decreased since 1991.
Some cite weak areas in
specific textbooks in cov-
erage of mixing, reaction
kinetics, and non-isother-
mal reactor design.
Along with changes in
the core coverage, there
have been changes in
when core topics have
been taught. The 1971
survey reported that 13%
of programs covered the
subject of reaction equi-
librium in the CRE course.

Figure 11. Chapter topics taught as organized by Fogler's text. When editions have different
titles, similar chapters have been combined. Data for 2009-2010 as reported by instructors.

In 1984, this increased to 65% of

responding departments indicating reaction equilibrium was
taught in the CRE course, with 12% indicating it was taught in
the thermodynamics course or sequence. Twenty-two percent
responded "other" or "both." In 2010, only 5% of programs
indicated the subject was covered in CRE.
Another topic considered in previous surveys is the theory
of absolute reaction rates (a statistical mechanics approach). In
1974, about 58% of programs covered the theory of absolute
reaction rates. The 2010 survey indicated 78% of programs
covered the topic. Coverage of other emerging topics in CRE
in the 2010 survey is presented as Figure 12.
Chemical engineering programs are likely to use this course
for ABET outcomes assessment. The fraction of reporting

programs using this course for ABET a-k outcomes is shown
in Figure 13.

Survey respondents were asked what they believed were
the biggest issues encountered by students taking this course.
The majority of responses indicated the following common
ODE solving skills
Mathematical software skills
Chemistry preparation
Unsteady-state conservation law writing
Dependence on "design equations" rather than funda-
mental conservation laws

Chemical Engineering Education



L 70%

S 60%
e 30%



8%-_ a 2010






Concern over transfer
of prerequisite knowl-
edge to core courses is
common, and is reflected
in the list, as is the on-
going tension between
engineering approxima-
tion and solution based
on first principles.

Instructors often take
different approaches to
teaching. For many re-
sponding to the survey,
instructors viewed them-
selves as a guide or facil-
itator, bringing students
through the textbook
material in a "rational
way" and providing al-
ternate explanations to
the text. Others attempt
to give a "big picture"
view, tying various ele-
ments of the course (and
the curriculum) together
into a cohesive whole.
For some, the role shifts
as needed, from mentor
to partner to coach de-
pending on the student
and the situation. Some
instructors express the
need for them to make
the topic interesting and
accessible, and to de-
velop new examples and
homework problems.
The role as an evalua-
tor was also commonly
noted. Some indicate
their role is to build on
the textbook and not
repeat what is explained
well. Introduction of
modern tools for de-
sign and simulation was
emphasized by others.
Another role cited by

Figure 12. Coverage of modern topics in CRE courses for 2009-2010 as reported by instructors.




r 70%
M 60%
'. 50%

I 40%





(a) an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering,
(b) an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data,
(c) an ability to design a chemical engineering system, component, or process to meet desired needs,
(d) an ability to function on an inter-disciplinary team,
(e) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems,
(f) an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility,
(g) an ability to communicate effectively,
(h) the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global societal context,
(i) an ability to engage in life-long learning,
(j) knowledge of contemporary issues,
(k) an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.


Figure 13. Percent of programs using the CRE course as part of their ABET EC2000 assessment
process for program outcomes. Data for 2009-2010 as reported by instructors.

several instructors is a need to translate the ideality of a textbook to the challenges of the real world, including imperfect data,
equipment failures, variability in feed stocks, management issues, etc.

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012


E 80%
E 70%
I 60%

5 40%
0 40%
2 30%

g 20%

As part of the survey, responding instructors were asked
to share some of the teaching methods and resources they
believe were most effective. To follow up on those responses,
a panel-led discussion was held at the 2010 AIChE Annual
Meeting in Salt Lake City to build the description of methods
and responses to the aforementioned concerns with teaching
the course. Synthesized from both the survey and the discus-
sion, the following topical elements were highlighted:

Emphasis onfundamentals. Starting from a mass bal-
ance rather than working from "design equations" was
recommended. Algorithmic approaches are effective.
Peer-to-peer instruction in problem sessions is effective.

Safety. While safety has always been an important
element of the course, it is likely to become even more
critical in response to changes to ABET Chemical En-
gineering program criteria. Chemical reactivity hazard
analysis will likely become a major topic in the course
(or in a dedicated safety course) while runaway reactions
will continue to be emphasized. There are opportunities
to develop resources to aid teaching these topics. Safety
should also be brought into class discussion frequently in
the context of "what if" questions.

Software. Fogler pioneered the development of
CRE-related tutorial software in the 1990s and recently
updated those resources. Finite element simulations and
other CFD software can lead to effective introductions to
more realistic reactor modeling. Spreadsheet-based rate
simulators are available, as are simulations for complex
reaction pathways with effective kinetics. The emergence
of computational software has made complex systems like
multiple reactions accessible,'" but training on how to
use the software effectively remains an issue. Program-
ming, including working from a partially completed
program or one with significant errors, can be effective
in teaching concepts like examining the role of activation
energy in multiple reaction systems or hot spots in a PFR.
Othersfocus on setting up problemsfor computer solu-
tion in class, then e i,, ring the solution software. Having
TA's run help sessions for software can be effective.

Laboratories. Numerous laboratory systems were named,
including: yeast fermentation; horseradish peroxidase
marking; crystal violet dye decomposition; temperature-
controlled flash photalysis (isomerization); RTD using
dye injection; electrochemical water decomposition;
alcohol decomposition/digestion; air bag detonation;
ChemE Car design or demonstration; saponification of
ethyl acetate in a batch reactor, a CSTR, and two CSTRs
in series; methanol-to-gasoline conversion; photo-
catalytic destruction of aqueous pollutants; catalytic
isomerization of butane in a PBR; reaction of diazydiphe-
nylmethane with substituted carboxylic acids; reaction
between sodiumthiosulfate and hydrogen peroxide in an
adiabatic batch reactor; hydrolysis of crystal violet dye in
an isothermal tubular reactor and a CSTR; isomerization
of sulfite in a Parr reactor; alkaline fading ofphenol-

phthalein in a batch reactor; hydrogen peroxide/sodium
thiosulfate in an adiabatic batch reactor; catalytic
methanol oxidation on a Pt wire; kinetic measurements
of alkaline phosphatase (ALP)-catalyzed dephosphoryla-
tion ofp-NPP in a CSTR; and reaction kinetics governing
lactose conversion of dairy products. Note that the 1974
and 1984 survey reports include a list of all experimental
systems reported by the respondents.

Mathematics. Peer teaching was suggested as an effec-
tive way of developing student math skills. Game show
approachesfor in-class problem solving can be effective.
A background in probability/statistics is becoming in-
creasingly important in applying risk analysis to reactive
systems, to catalytic reactions, andfor sensitivity analy-
sis. Propagation of error is another area where prepara-
tion could be improved. Some would argue that analytical
mastery should be demonstrated before computational
methods are used.

Economics and other practical considerations. Some
assert that discussing economics is impractical before
formal coverage in a process design course, while oth-
ers state it is important to bring practical limitations on
reactor design and operation into the discussion during
the course. Material handling issues (such as polymers)
should be discussed. Some suggest having co-op students
tell stories related to industrial practice. The role of
rating existing equipment tends to be underemphasized
compared to design. Team projects requiring reuse of
equipment, equipment profiling, and detailed specifica-
tions are recommended. Others seek to replace generic
reactions (A+B -- C) with real chemical systems.

Emerging topics. While exposure to bio- and nano- topics
will continue to be important, energy will likely emerge as
an area of emphasis in the short term. Ethics and safety
will also likely increase in emphasis. Simulation-based
engineering is developing as an important area of study
and practice.

The following list of effective teaching elements and sug-
gestions represents a combination of the discussion and the

Critical thinking and conceptual learning. The
importance of always asking students "why," "how,"
etc., was emphasized. Many would argue the concep-
tual understanding of CRE is often more valuable than
the computational aspects. Concept questions that can
be used with (or without) classroom response devices
clickerss) are available at com> courtesy of a project led by John Falconer. Ad-
ditional conceptual-learning resources are available as
part of the AIChE Education Division Concept Ware-
house, .

Group work. Significant time is devoted to group problem
solving by many instructors. Some formalize roles within
the group: Thinker is asked to solve problem, but does
not get to use book or paper and pencil. Source of Knowl-
dge has access to book and problem statement;
Chemical Engineering Education

may only share verbally. And Recorder the only one
in the group with paper/pencil/calculator. They all must
work together to solve the problem. Thinker will also be
the group spokesperson to the rest of class.

Asynchronous lecture. One instructor uses pre-recorded
lecturesfor instruction and spends class time on learning
activities that build on the assigned preparation. A wide
range of active learning exercises is then used, including
teaching by analogies, inquiry activities, minute papers,
contexts, debate, panel discussion, role playing, etc.
Other instructors teach the course as a self-paced course
with a computerized examination system. Another com-
mon approach is recording and archiving lectures live
and posting for later review.

Novel homework approaches. For one instructor, home-
work is an individual/team effort, where the team has
the submission graded and individuals submit their own
solution to verify effort. The grade is assigned based on a
combination of the team and individual contribution. An-
other instructor requires written reflective assessment of
homework submissions. Literature reviews and analysis
are common.

Project- andlor Problem-Based learning approaches are
cited by several instructors.

Analogies were often suggested as means of effective teach-
ing. Particular examples include:
Site balances are compared to the number of chairs in a
Batch reactors are compared to cooking vessels.

Elementary reactions are compared to the likelihood of
people (or pool balls) colliding. Two will hit fairly often,
but three-way collisions are exceedingly unlikely.
Tracer experiments are compared to observing a person
in line at Space Mountain and then watching for when the
same person emerges from the exit.
The slab approximation for solving the n-order Theile
modulus problem is as though a catalyst pellet has the
peel of an orange in which all reactions happen; we then
peel our pellet and "press" it flat into aflat slab.

Some of the analogies take the form of in-class activities:
Rate limiting step: one student starts with a deck of cards
and slowly deals them to a second student who passes
them to a third who has to walk all the way across the
room to pass each one to a fourth, etc., to "explain" a
rate-limiting step.

Residence time distributions: An activity where the
students "own" a nightclub and want to know how long
people stay at the club (too short and they don't spend,
intermediate and they spend, too long and their spending
dies off).

The learning environment, both physical and contextual
(what is done in class), can also play a role in helping stu-
dents learn.

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

Active learning, as seen in many of the responses already
detailed, is common and effective.

Many instructors are deliberately reducing lecture and
increasing discussion and group problem solving.

Computer projectors are typically available, and many
instructors project their solutions to problems and
explore the models developed in class. PowerPoint is
extensively used, as are online videos and images of real
reactor systems. Some environments allow students to
solve problems on computers alongside the instructor.

Some classes are taught in a studio environment to facili-
tate interaction among students.

In addition to program-determined outcomes, individual
instructors tend to have areas of emphasis corresponding to
their individual perceptions of importance of class topics.
While no single course emphasizes all of these, individual
goals for this course include:
Application of conservation laws


Capstone integration

Cost concerns

Distinguish between ideal and nonideal reactors

Distinguish between reaction-dependent factors and
reactor-dependent factors

Distinguish between stoichiometry and rate law

Estimation methods

Experimental analysis of rate laws

Fundamentals of catalysis and surface reactions

Industrial chemistry

Intuition on reactor operation

Numerical methods


Overcoming equilibrium limitations

Problem-solving skills

Reaction system design (reactor + heat exchange +

Reactor sizing

Simulation skills

Use offundamental thermodynamics

Utility of microscopic and macroscopic descriptions

In many ways, Chemical Reaction Engineering may be
taken as a bellwether of chemical engineering education in
practice. It is one of the few courses taken exclusively by

chemical engineering students; teaching practices in this
course are therefore a good indicator of what is "typical" for
the chemical engineering undergraduate experience.
The CRE course appears to be in the midst of a shift. It is
moving earlier in the curriculum, as more programs offer the
course in the junior year. The coverage is evolving, driven by
technology (computational capability, FEM/CFD), by ABET
(safety), and by other emerging topics. Despite the changes, the
core coverage of the course has remained fairly constant.
Class sizes appear cyclical over the past several decades
and appear to currently be around a local maximum, mirroring
the national trends in engineering and chemical engineering
Commonly accepted and literature-proven methods of
instruction are commonly applied within the course. Use of
clickerss" is common both as formative assessment and as a
teaching tool. Resources supporting an emphasis on conceptual
learning, such as publication of conceptual questions online, are
increasing. Problem-based learning approaches and laboratories
are available, although not in the majority of programs. Many
programs are utilizing improved simulations of laboratories to
obtain learning outcomes similar to laboratory exercises. Active
learning approaches are widespread and varied, and those who
use them are satisfied that they are effective.

The authors would like to thank all of the instructors who
completed this survey; the department chairs who passed on

the request; and the University of Kentucky College of En-
gineering computing services, which hosted the survey. We
would also like to acknowledge the assistance of Professor
Don Woods of McMaster University for his review of the
survey draft and continuing advice.
The full response data set is available from author David
Silverstein upon request. The previous survey reports for
this course are available on the AIChE Education Division
website, .

1. Fogler, H.S., and M.B. Cutlip,"Chemical Reaction Engineering (CRE)
Education: From the Era of Slide Rule to the Digital Age," Proceed-
ings of the 2008 AIChE Centennial Topical Conference on Education;
American Institute of Chemical Engineers; November 2008
2. Silverstein, D.L., and M. Vigeant, "How We Teach: Kinetics and Reac-
tor Design," Proceedings of the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American
Society for Engineering Education,American Society for Engineering
Education; June 2011
3. Eisen, E.O.,"Summary Report: Teaching of Undergraduate Kinetics,"
American Institute of Chemical Engineers; Dec. 4, 1974
4. Eisen, E.O., "Summary Report: Teaching of Undergraduate Reactor
Design," American Institute of Chemical Engineers; Nov. 28, 1984
5. Eisen, E.O., and M.C. Ragsdale, "The Teaching of Undergraduate
Kinetics/Reactor Design," American Institute of Chemical Engineers;
Nov. 14,1991
6. Silverstein, D.L., M. Vigeant, D. Visco, and D. Woods, "How We
Teach: Freshman Introduction to Chemical Engineering," Proceedings
of the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Engineering
Education (2010)
7. American Society for Engineering Education "Engineering College
Profiles and Statistics 2010," accessed online at: org/> (accession date July 8,2011) 0

Chemical Engineering Education




Oregon State University Corvallis, OR 97331-2702
Education research has provided substantial evidence
that active learning strategies have a positive impact
on student learning.11 Using pre/post-test data of more
than 6,000 physics students, Hake[2] found that courses that
used active-learning methods had learning gains that were
twice as large as the gains for classes that used only traditional
lectures. Similarly, over a span of 13 years, Poulis, et al.,[3]
studied more than 5,000 students in chemical engineering,
electrical engineering, industrial engineering, chemistry, and
physics classes. They found the pass rate in the classes that
used active, concept-based instruction was 25% greater than
those classes that used traditional lecture.
Student resistance, however, can deter implementation of
these alternative active-learning approaches.[41 Furthermore,
the prevalence and impact of student resistance is often un-
derstated. Students react to the change from sitting passively
in lecture to becoming actively engaged in their own learn-
ing. This change challenges their assumptions about what
learning involves and the appropriate roles of the student
and the instructor,151 revealing their expectations of what it
means to be in a "good class"'6] and what should be "nor-
mal operating procedure."'71 It is argued that students know
what works to achieve high grades in the traditional lecture
environment and resist changes to "the system." One study
of seven anatomy and physiology instructors who changed
their classes to incorporate active-learning pedagogies found
that five encountered significant student resistance.181 In the
context of Problem-Based Learning, Woods191 identifies stages
of coping with such changes that are similar to coping with a

catastrophic event, including: shock, denial, strong emotion,
resistance, acceptance, struggle, better understanding, and,
finally, integration. While this model suggests that student
resistance can fade with time, there is the danger that initial
student resistance will cause an enthusiastic instructor to
abandon innovative pedagogies. One goal of this study is
to examine how student perceptions change with time as an
active-learning technology is integrated into the department
learning environment.

Milo Koretsky is a professor in the School
of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental
Engineering at Oregon State University.
He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees
from UC San Diego and his Ph.D. from
UC Berkeley, all in chemical engineering.
He currently has research activity in areas
related to thin films engineering education
and materials processing and is interested
in integrating technology into effective edu-
cational practices and in promoting the use
of higher-level cognitive skills in engineering
problem solving.
Bill Brooks is Ph.D. candidate in the School
of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental
Engineering at Oregon State University.
He is the primary programmer for the WISE
learning tool. As an undergraduate student,
he studied hardware engineering, software
engineering, and chemical engineering. His
thesis research involves investigating the in-
terplay of content, pedagogy, and technology
in student learning.

Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

Active-learning pedagogies have become enabled by
technology-based classroom tools. For example, the use
of Personal Response Systems, or clickers, has increased
substantially.[t0'." Clicker technologies enable students to
provide instantaneous feedback to instructor questions via
a handheld device. Each clicker unit has a unique signal so
that the answer from each individual student can be identified
and recorded. Most clickers are limited to multiple-choice
questions, however.
This study uses an alternative, technology-based tool, the
Web-based Interactive Science and Engineering (WISE)
Learning Tool.[l21 Its use of computer technology permits a
significantly wider range of learning activities than clickers
allow. Specific to this study is the ability to ask students to pro-
vide short-answer, written explanations following multiple-
choice questions. Pedagogically, the short answers provide
students opportunities for metacognition through reflection.1131
Chi, et al.,1141 argue that the active process of explaining en-
courages students to integrate new knowledge with existing
knowledge and leads to richer conceptual understanding. In
addition, analysis of free-response explanations can provide
researchers greater insight into the nature and range of student
misconceptions.[5 171 A second goal of this study is to ascer-
tain if students believe that providing written explanations
increases the effectiveness of conceptual questions.

This study analyzes student responses over time to a survey
about their perceptions of the use and effectiveness of WISE.
Specifically, the research questions are:
1. How do student perceptions change with time as a new
active-learning technology becomes integrated into the
department curriculum and culture?
2. Do students perceive that written explanations facilitate
deeper reflection about their answers to the multiple-
choice concept questions?
3. Is there any evidence in their statements of how students
conceive conceptual learning?

This study spans five years and encompasses a cumulative
total of 237 student participants. All students were enrolled
in the second term of a junior-level, undergraduate Chemi-
cal Thermodynamics course at Oregon State University. The
research was approved by the Institutional Review Board
and participants signed informed-consent forms. The course
is required for chemical engineers and taken as an elective
by a small number of biological and environmental engi-
neers. Therefore, each cohort has had similar programmatic
experiences across the two and a half previous years of the
curriculum. It is not possible to characterize the equivalence
of each cohort in detail, however, and results of this study
should be interpreted with that in mind.

The Web-based Interactive Science and Engineering (WISE)
Learning Tool is used to collect student responses.112 WISE is
enabled through a Wireless Laptop Initiative, which mandates
that every student own a laptop computer. In the course studied
in this paper, WISE was used once a week in the two-hour
recitations that the entire cohort attended. Over the five years
of the study, an increasing fraction of the cohort used Inter-
net-capable, smart cell phones instead of laptops. The same
instructor taught the course all five years. This instructor has
substantial teaching experience, including with active-learning
techniques. While this study represented the first experiences
in using WISE, the instructor has implemented several other
technology-based innovations in the curriculum.
WISE is designed for use in the context of a learner-centered
class based on active learning and real-time formative assess-
ment. It allows an instructor to pose questions that probe for
conceptual understanding and supports a variety of student
response types, including: multiple-choice answers, multiple-
choice with short-answer follow-up, short answers, numerical
answers, ranking exercises, and Likert-scale surveys. After
the students have submitted a response to an activity, the
instructor can review a summary of the results with the class.
Depending on the class response, the instructor can choose
an appropriate method (e.g., peer instruction, instructor
explanation) to reinforce or correct understanding. WISE
also presents the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to
the knowledge base in student learning in engineering. The
use of the computer to probe student thought processes has
been demonstrated as an effective education research tool.118
Two elements of WISE make it particularly useful. First,
students are assured of anonymity in their responses. Second,
the automatic recording of student responses allows instant
summarization of students' understanding and convenient
collection of the results for analysis.
Figure 1 shows an example of a typical concept question as
it would be displayed simultaneously on the students' laptops
or smart phones. Such concept questions are designed to be
conceptually challenging but typically require no computa-
tion so that students cannot rely solely on equations to obtain
the answer. They focus on the most important concepts in a
subject. The concept questions that were used were designed
towards several possible objectives, including: to elicit or
reveal pre-existing thinking in students, to have students
apply ideas in new contexts, to ask students to qualitatively
predict what will happen, to use examples from everyday
life, or to have students relate graphical and mathematical
representations. The question shown in Figure 1 asks the
students to select a multiple-choice response, to provide a
written explanation of their response (termed a "short answer
follow-up"), and to rate their confidence. While this general
format was the most common used in the course in this study,
other question types were also used, including short answer,
numerical answer, and ranking exercises.

Chemical Engineering Education

Figure 2 (next page) shows a photograph of the use of WISE
during a class. The logistics of delivery are based on the Peer
Instruction pedagogy developed by Eric Mazur.091 Students
are first asked to respond individually to the concept question
posed. They then self-select into small groups to discuss the
answer. Next, the question is posed again and they respond
individually. Finally, the instructor displays the results and can
either explain the rationale for the correct answer or can lead
a class-wide discussion, if appropriate. An analysis of student
responses in WISE based on different delivery methods is
reported elsewhere.11 This type of active-learning pedagogy

is often technologically supported with clickers. Clickers,
however, are limited to the multiple-choice portion of the
question. One goal of this study is to determine if students
perceive that the reflective elements of questions like those
shown in Figure 1 prompt deeper thinking and evidence-
based reasoning.
Student perceptions of WISE were measured in each of the
first five years that this technology-based, active-learning tool
was used in the thermodynamics course. Year 1 represents
the first time WISE was used throughout any course. Over
the time of the study, WISE was integrated into other courses

WS_ Web-based Interactive Science and Engineering
Learning Learning Tool

Oregon State

Virtual Hand Raise
Study Group
My Statistics

Logged in as:

Contact point
Milo Koretskv

Conceptualization Exercise

The enthalpy of mixing for a mixture of cyclohexane and toluene is shown below. Consider the adiabatic mixing of
1 mole of cyclohexane and 1 mole of toluene at 25 OC. The final temperature will be:

6?5 -----




0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4

0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1

XCIlI 1?

OLess than 25 OC
O Greater than 25 OC
OEqual to 25 C
0 Need more information

Multiple choice answers

Explain your answer.

Short answer follow-up .c l.;L. on

Please rate how confident you are with your answer.

substantially moderately moderately substantially
unsure unsure tralconfident confident
unsure unsure confident confident

Confidence follow-up

0 0 0 0 0


Figure 1. A sample interactive concept question, as the students see it in the WISE learning system. The "short answer
follow-up explanation" prompts students to be reflective in their response to the multiple-choice question.

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

Figure 2. Students engaged in a learning activity using WISE.

in the curriculum, including the three required sophomore-
level courses that preceded thermodynamics. The department
culture also facilitated the transition to using WISE. There
is broad collegial and administrative support for this active-
learning initiative, some of which is described as follows:
faculty in the program were willing to adopt the technology
into their courses; the department has historical value of
curricular innovation and a focus on student learning; the
department head understands the value of and is supportive
of curriculum reform; the faculty demonstrate respect for
previous curricular innovations by the faculty member who
developed WISE (the primary author of this paper); and
many of the faculty who integrated WISE also voluntarily
participate in an engineering education research seminar led
by this faculty member.
The survey instrument consists of eight Likert-scale state-
ments (l=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree) and three
questions that require written comments. The Likert-scale
statements are shown in the first column of Table 1. State-
ments 1 through 6 were adapted from a similar study on
clickers.[211 Statement 8 was written specifically to address
Research Question 2 in this study. A non-parametric Kruskal-
Wallis test1221 was used to compare student responses to each
statement by year and to determine if the median rank was

statistically different (i.e., not statistically the same). This test
does not assume the populations are normally distributed,
but does assume that the distribution for each year has the
same shape.
Three free-response questions were also asked, as fol-
1. Describe any problems specifically based with technol-
ogy that you encountered when WISE was used in class,
2. Describe any benefits of using WISE in class, and
3. Write any additional comments or thoughts.
In this study data are reported for Years 1,2, 4, and 5. In each
of these years the course was taught in the same classroom,
which had adequate wireless coverage for all of the students'
laptops. The class was moved to an alternative room in Year
3 that had insufficient wireless coverage to allow all of the
students in the class to simultaneously access WISE on their
laptops. This classroom environment presented an additional
challenge in delivering the technology-based, active-learning
pedagogy. Eventually, the class was divided in half, with one
half using WISE and the other half doing a pencil and paper
activity, and then the activities were reversed. This delivery
was significantly different from the four other years. Conse-
quently, this cohort was excluded from the study.
Chemical Engineering Education

The average ratings for the eight Likert-scale statements
and the number of responses for Years 1, 2, 4, and 5 are
shown in Table 1. A five-point scale was used with a rating
of 1 indicating the student "strongly disagrees" with the state-
ment, a rating of 3 being neutral, and a rating of 5 indicating
the student "strongly agrees." All of the responses in Table 1
indicate that, on average, students viewed all eight statements
favorably each year. In Years 4 and 5, six of the eight state-
ments had average ratings greater than 4. The highest-rated
responses are in bold. In three of the years, students agreed
most strongly with the statement that their written reflections,
the "short-answer follow ups," were useful in promoting re-

flection and encouraging deep thinking. They also indicated
they were more engaged intellectually and more actively
involved through WISE. The lowest-rated statement was
the one that asked if WISE, specifically, was responsible for
improved awareness of misunderstandings.

Figure 3a plots the percentage of students who agree with
each statement (ratings of 4 or 5) for each year in the study
and Figure 3b plots the percentage who disagree (ratings of
1 or 2). For all statements, the proportion of students who
agree with the statement is much greater than the proportion
of students who disagree. Additionally, for most statements
it appears that the percentage of students who agree trends
upward with time and the percentage of students who disagree



u 60%




O Year 1
* Year 2
*Year 4
* Year 5



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Survey Question Number

D Year
SYear 2
* Year 4
* Year 5

I 40%

20% -

0% -
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Survey Question Number

Figure 3. a) Percentage of students who agree (rating of 4 or 5) with each of eight statements in the student survey for the
four years of the study. b) Percentage who disagree (rating of 1 or 2). See Table 1 for the statements.

Average scores of student survey at the end of the Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics 2 class, using a Likert-scale
(1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree).*
In the last column, the p-value for the Kruskal-Wallis test, applied to the "unsteady-state" data in Years 1, 2, and 4.
Year Year 2 Year 4 Year 5
Statement (N= 44) (N = 59) (N =59) (N =75)
1. In this course, I am more aware of my misunderstandings than in 3.52 3.95 4.37 4.16 0.0000
courses taught by traditional methods.
2. The change in awareness of my misunderstandings is due to WISE. 3.05 3.37 3.76 3.64 0.0004
3. Using WISE helps me to understand the concepts behind the prob- 3.61 3.69 4.22 4.24 0.0001
4. I am more actively involved in class when WISE is used 3.84 3.88 4.15 436 0.3371
5. I have to think more in class sessions that use WISE than those that 3.89 4.00 4.19 4.15 0.3899
do not.
6. Seeing the class responses to a concept question (bar graph) helps 3.57 3.78 3.64 3.75 0.4059
increase my confidence.
7. If WISE was used in other classes, my conceptual understanding in 3.16 3.49 4.08 4.09 0.0000
those classes would be better.
8. The short answer follow-ups to multiple-choice questions helped me 4.02 4.14 4.41 4.20 0.0307
to think more about the question and the answer.
The highest-rated responses are in bold.

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012 45

Figure 4 (right). Aggregate average
student rating of all eight state-
ments plotted vs. the year of the
study. Year 1 was the first time
WISE was used for a course. The
line represents a fit to the pro-
posed "unsteady-state" process of
student normalization.

trends downward. This change of
perception with time is discussed in
the next section.

Change in Attitudes With Time
Figure 4 plots the aggregate aver-
age rating of all eight statements vs.
year of the study. Year 1 represented
the first comprehensive use of WISE
in a class. The ratings show a pro-
portionate increase in Years 1-4, and
then level off in Year 5. We attribute
Years 1 through 4 as a transition (un-
steady-state) period as this technol-
ogy-enabled, active-learning tool is
integrated into the curriculum at OSU. We
indicates student attitude at "steady-state"
this course. For convenience, we label it a
the purposes of this paper, but acknowled
is speculative. The initial 4-year period
generation of college students.

believe that Year 5
or "saturation" for
s "steady-state" for
Ige this assignment
corresponds to one

Based on this observation, we asked, "For which state-
ments can we state to greater than 95% confidence that the
ratings had changed over Years 1 to 4 of the study?" The
p-values for such a statistical analysis using the Kruskal-
Wallis test are shown in Table 1. Five statements (1,2, 3, 7,
and 8) have p-values less than 0.05. We can infer that there
is statistical evidence that student ratings for these statements
improved with time. Three statements (4 6) have p-values
much greater than 0.05. This result indicates that there is not
statistical evidence that students are rating these higher with
time. Said differently, even though ratings appear to gener-
ally trend upward for statements 4 6, we cannot state with
confidence that this trend is not due to statistical variation
from year to year.
The statements that show statistically significant upward
trends are distinctly different in character than those that do
not. The ones that do not show significant changes repre-
sent more direct in-class activity ("more actively involved
in class" or "think more in class sessions") and emotional
responses ("bar graph helps increase my confidence"). On
the other hand, those that show a significant upward trend

are more interpretive, specifically about learning ("aware of
my misunderstanding," "understand the concepts," or "my
conceptual understanding would be better"). These latter types
of statements are more likely to be influenced by students'
subjective attitudes about the technology-enhanced learning
tool. In a similar study on student perception, White, et al.,[23'
also found initial reticence of students to admit the extent to
which they have learned in the transition to a problem-based
learning pedagogy.
The nature of answers to the free-response questions of the
survey is consistent with this analysis. In Year 1, there were
several statements indicating trepidation about the use of WISE.
Several students expressed concern that the class time used for
the active-learning exercises would detract from the amount
of material covered (e.g., "I felt like if we did not use WISE
we would be able to cover much more material in the class.").
Additionally, the following response alludes to some general
negative discourse among the cohort: "I think you will have
recieved (sic) enough info from students on why they didn't
like it, I think that the questions asked with reguards (sic) to
concepts help us to direct our thinking, but the concepts cannot
be written in some book, read and learned without a thought
process happening." These types of statements were absent
from student comments in the Years 2, 4, and 5, suggesting a
shift in the normative expectation from other students.
As WISE has been delivered over time, students' percep-
tions of its effectiveness improve, and they view it as more

Chemical Engineering Education


2 ,4 4.10
/ 4 4.07


O, /

c 3.8 ,/3.79
c /
.1-a /'
L.. /

o 3.6
.2 ,,4* 3.58
aI /

0 1 2 3 4 5


beneficial to their learning. There are several factors that could
contribute to this change in student attitude, including:
1. Assimilation of WISE in the department's learning
2. Improvement of the technology
3. Improvement in the instruction
We believe that the most significant factor in the change
in attitude for the cohorts in this study is the assimilation of
WISE in the department's learning environment, i.e., with
time WISE has simply become part of the normative student
expectation about learning. The first year it was used in the
junior-level thermodynamics course, there was interaction
with seniors (some of whom were retaking the class) who
did not use this technology the year before. We speculate
that this disparity sets up a dynamic of "why do we have to
do it when they didn't?" More importantly, over the next
two years, WISE was integrated into the three sophomore-
level courses (Material Balances, Energy Balances, and
Process Data Analysis). Thus, by Year 4, most students had
three previous courses where WISE was used to facilitate
active learning. The effect of this assimilation is clear when
reading the free-response survey items from Years 4 and 5
where students frequently contextualize their comments for
the thermodynamics class based on experiences from past
classes (e.g., "No problems in this class but some classes
I have had have had problems with logging on or submit-
ting answers"). Such curricular integration makes students

less likely to dismiss this pedagogy as a pet project of a
maverick instructor. When adapting innovative educational
technology and pedagogy, as much as possible, it is useful
to have a coordinated approach through a set of courses in
the curriculum.
The second factor affecting students' perception of WISE is
the technology. Especially with new technologies, even small
glitches in performance can be greatly amplified in student
perception. Since the software was developed in-house, a
"continuous improvement" approach was used where small
changes in the software were made in response to student
feedback. Perhaps more importantly, the wireless connectiv-
ity in the College of Engineering has systematically been
improved over the five years of this study. In response to the
survey question, "Describe any problems specifically based
with technology that you encountered when WISE was used
in class," the percentage of students that stated there were
no technology-based problems increased in each year of the
study (except Year 3 as explained above). In Year 1, 51%
of the students reported no problems, 59% in Year 2, 67%
in Year 4, and 78% in Year 5. The most common problems
cited were network connectivity (27% in Year 1 to 14% in
Year 5) and battery life (10% in Year 1 to 5% in Year 5).
These problems are generally at the level of the technology
infrastructure and not associated specifically with the WISE
software application.

Finally, teaching with learner-centered pedagogies requires
that the instructor deploys a different
set of skills than the traditional didac-
tic lecture. There can be a transition
as an instructor adapts. For example,
Keeney-Kennicutt, et al.,[241 describe
student attitudes about a web-based
*I 1-7, average
writing and assessment tool they
8 used in a general chemistry course.
Their study shows a similar pattern
in student response growing more
favorable over time; however, unlike
the study reported in this paper, their
initial perceptions were overwhelm-
ingly negative (four out of the five
items had more students disagree
than agree). They attribute the change
in student attitudes over the seven
semesters in the study primarily to
the adjustments they made in instruc-

Figure 5 (left). Student aggregate
average rating for statements 1-7
and average rating for statement 8
vs. year in the study.

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012


S4.0 -

I 3.5

1 2 4 5


tion and implementation. While aspects of instruction were
changed over the five years of this study, we believe that this
effect was the least significant of the three discussed above.
It is critical for instructors adapting innovative pedagogies
for the first time (and for administrators evaluating those
instructors) to recognize that there is a transition period as
students adjust to the new expectations. In this context, it is
important to be prepared for the possibility of strong initial
student "push back." As shown in Figure 3b, the percentage
of students in this study who disagree, part of whom initially
formed a "vocal minority," decreases dramatically with time
from as high as a quarter of the cohort for some statements
in Year 1 to just a few percent in Year 5. This type of student
resistance within a class can be attenuated by repeatedly ex-
plaining to students the purpose of and rationale for the active-
learning technique[61 and building rapport in the classroom.1251
Due to the factors cited above, however, it may take several
years for students to completely normalize expectations and
reach "steady-state."

Perception of Value of Written Reflection in Learning
As Table 1 shows, in Years 1,2, and 4, the average rating for
statement 8, "the short-answer follow-ups to multiple-choice
questions helped me to think more about the question and the
answer," had the highest value of all the Likert-scale state-
ments. It was also rated very favorably (4.20/5.00) in Year 5.
Figure 5 compares the aggregate averages of the other seven
statements to the statement 8 rating for each year of the study.
Clearly students viewed the reflective written explanations as
beneficial to learning. One of the advantages of the laptop-
based technology interface of WISE is the ability to develop
a more diverse range of question types than available with
clicker technology. In their view, simply asking students to
reflect on their answer choices to multiple-choice questions
affords reflection and encourages thinking.
A recent study of the use of clickers in Introductory Biology
studied the effect of displaying an "intermediate bar graph"
after students answered a concept question, but before they
discussed with their peers as compared to a control group
where the intermediate class result was not shown.[261 The
authors found this practice negatively impacted the answer
choices following peer discussion. They attribute the result
to students unthinkingly accepting the consensus of the class
in selecting the second multiple-choice answer. In a similar
study, we found that when using WISE, such an intermediate
display had no effect on student choice as compared to the
same type of control group.[20] While other factors need to be
considered in comparing the two studies, one could speculate
that by having students provide a written reflection, they
were prompted to already be "thinking" when they saw the
intermediate results. Such an explanation is consistent with
the disparate results between studies.

With the increasing use of clickers in the classroom,
we suggest that the development of a written free-
response capability into Personal Response Systems would
be fruitful for clicker manufacturers. Alternatively, instructors
could have students write answers with pencil and paper while
using these active conceptual questions. This modification
may only partially realize the desired reflection, however.
Finally, as an alternative to laptops, programs like WISE that
integrate written reflection can be enabled by smart phones.
Over the five-year study, unsolicited responses from students
commenting on their use of smart phones have steadily in-
creased (0 in Years 1 and 2, 2 in Year 3, 12 in Year 4). Of
these 14 responses, only one cited a technical issue using the
phone (lower than the rate for laptops). To the contrary, most
respondents seemed to be boasting about using a smart phone
(e.g., "I had no problems. I enjoyed being able to use my
iPhone instead of bringing a computer to class"). Reflection
plays a critical role in promoting learning. We believe that
there is a great opportunity in using smart phone technology
to promote reflection in this active-learning pedagogy.

Student Interpretation of Conceptual Change
A primary goal of the active-learning pedagogy enabled by
WISE is to transcend beyond asking students to memorize
definitions and algorithms and instead to focus on conceptual
learning. Posner, et al.,[271 believe that a critical condition for
such conceptual change to occur in a student is when his/her
prior knowledge comes into cognitive dissonance with new
knowledge. The resolution of this conflict can lead to learn-
ing if the concept being examined is restructured and the
conception is incorporated into an integrated schema, like
that of experts.
There are many comments to the free-response portion of
the survey that reflect students' own interpretation of con-
ceptual learning based on their experience with the WISE-
enabled, active-learning pedagogy. For example, one student
reflected on where he/she has difficulty with conceptual
"I usually understand concepts that are intuitive, it's the
counter intuitive areas I struggle most with. In this course
I quickly found out what was counter intuitive and learned
how to think of it differently to make it intuitive."
Another student indicated a change in his/her view of what
it means to know and understand:
"From my previous courses, I just learn and apply. I will
be honest that, in most of the case, I just know how to do
it mathematically (sic) and get the right answer, but...what
does it mean behind the math, I don't think I'm that aware
until I got into this class. This class required lots of under-
standing instead ofjust problem solving. And I did learn
alot (sic) and experienced a different way to learn."

Chemical Engineering Education

These comments reflect a very individual interpretation of
their experience in alignment with the goals of the curricular
innovation. It should also be realized, however, that through-
out the term this goal of conceptual learning has been made
explicit to students, so their comments should be considered
with that in mind.

Student attitudes were measured over the first five years that
the WISE-based active-learning pedagogy was introduced
into a junior-level chemical engineering course. In general,
students viewed this learning experience more favorably with
time. This study has several ramifications for instructors con-
sidering technology-based integration of pedagogy into the
classroom. Elements that affect student perceptions include:
(1) degree of curricular integration and the department culture,
(2) the ability to improve technology as problems arise, and (3)
modifying instruction appropriately for this type of pedagogy.
In addition, students view the activity of providing written
reflections as very helpful to learning. Technology develop-
ers and course designers who desire pedagogical integration
of conceptual questions might consider ways to prompt such
reflection in students, although more study is needed to see
if improved student performance does indeed align with the
student perceptions seen here.


The authors gratefully acknowledge support from an LL
Stewart Faculty Scholar Award and the National Science
Foundation under the grant NSF 1023099, "Collaborative
Research: Integration of Conceptual Learning Throughout the
Core Chemical Engineering Curriculum." The authors also
appreciate helpful discussion with Debra Gilbuena. Any opin-
ions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed
in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily
reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

] laboratory


for Chemical Engineering Undergraduates

1 University of Nebraska Lincoln, NE 68588
2 University of Missouri Columbia, MO 65211

Undergraduate curricula for chemical engineers of most
universities include experimental studies of absorp-
tion, distillation, fluid flow, heat transfer and other
topics. All these experiments seek to give undergraduates a
practical sense of the basic principles they need to understand
during their careers. Recently, the undergraduate chemical
engineering program at the University of Missouri began to
change its use of the experiments. This change came about
from concerns of students who often felt that these experi-
ments (two classes, total of six credit hours), while useful,
did not give them a practical understanding of the principles
and practices they would deal with in industry. Also, the dean
of the college was encouraging faculty to apply "experiential
learning" techniques in their classes.
Experiential learning may be defined as "a process through
which a learner constructs knowledge, skill, and value from
direct experience." In this paper a brief outline of the major
activities of experimentally learning are presented. These
activities are initiated with a "problem" that challenges the
student. The problem is followed by the student "developing
a plan, testing this plan against reality to discover a solution,
and reflecting on the results to determine whether there are
other or better solutions to the problem. The testing phase
requires the learner to apply information that is often left out
of the learning that occurs in a traditional education setting.
Application is a critical component that identifies this theory
as experiential and provides educators with a framework
for designing learning activities in which students combine
thinking with doing.""]

Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012

Centrifugal pump experiments have existed in various
chemical engineering laboratory curricula throughout the
years.[2 31 These experiments primarily focus on the pump's
properties, including head and shaft power. LabView has also
been shown to assist in student's understanding of a phenom-
enon when data collection is in real time.[4]

Nicholas C. Vanderslice received his B.S.
degree from the University of Missouri in
Columbia. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D.
in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His
main interests include sustainability and
Rich Oberto is
S a research elec-
Sits tronic technician
in Engineering
Technical Ser-
vices at the University of Missouri College of
Engineering. He has been employed at MU
for the last 24 years. In addition to his avid
interest in electronics, Rich has a passion for
playing the snare
Thomas R. Marrero, P.E., is a professor of .
chemical engineering at the University of Mis-
souri, Columbia. He earned his B.S. from the
Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, M.S. from
Villanova University, PA, and Ph.D. from the
University of Maryland, College Park, all in .
chemical engineering. Tom has been em-
ployed by fourlarge corporations for a total of
15 years in areas of research and design en-
gineering. He is interested in environmental
and sustainable engineering, teaching, and research on carbon dioxide
direct reduction, acetylene fuel for distributed power sourcess, and the
transport of containerized coal in hydro-pipelines.

Chemical Engineering Education

To address this need for better learning of chemical engi-
neering principles, several new modular experiments were
added to our curriculum and some of the existing apparatus
were modified. One of these new modular experiments in-
volved the performance characteristics of a centrifugal pump.
This experiment included observations of the pump perfor-
mance characteristics and applications of the experimental
results. One illustrated application was a typical industrial
scenario: "What will be the centrifugal pump flow rate and
cost of pumping power?"
This report describes the centrifugal pump experiment
conducted during the spring 2010 semester; instruction used
experiential learning techniques, and results indicate the
experiment was a notable enhancement to the laboratory

The centrifugal pump experiment's success was partially
due to the incorporation of computer data collection and
control technology.
The data collection sources were: pressure, flow, motor
voltage and current, and impeller speed. The speed was deter-
mined by a pulse signal, six pulses per revolution. The current
was measured with a magnetoresistive device. These source
signals were direct inputs to a LabView program.
The centrifugal pump is powered by a brushless DC motor.
For the control of this DC motor a simple-voltage-regulator
device was utilized. This device allowed impeller speed con-
trol by the LabView program; precise to 1 rpm. The speed
control system is possibly unique and cost-effective. The
motor control operation was very reliable and user friendly
based on extensive testing.
Appendix A provides a detailed description of the design,
construction, and cost of the centrifugal pump system.
Using LabView data collection and control software,
data were collected instantaneously from the system, which
contained a water feed tank, centrifugal pump, flow meter,
pressure gauge, and finally a flow-control valve, see Figure 1.
The LabView software transmitted flow rate, head, impeller
speed, temperature, voltage, and amperage of the system into a
data file. In addition, power input to the pump was determined
from the product of measured voltage and amperage. The
centrifugal pump impeller speed was an independent variable
and was controlled by setting the voltage in LabView. All
experiments were carried out at room temperature. The cen-
trifugal pump system used during the Spring 2010 semester
is shown in Figure 2 (page 54).

The centrifugal pump operating procedure is presented in
Appendix B. The operation of the pump system generated a
Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

performance curve, head vs. flow, as a function of impeller
speed (N). A brief summary of the procedure follows.
The students set the pump to a constant impeller speed value
while the valve was completely open (The inlet, suction-side
valve to the pump needs to be fully open before turning the
pump on). Once the system reached steady-state, which takes
only a minute as evident in LabView, data collection was
started. The valve was slowly closed until completely closed.
The completely closed valve corresponds to the pump "shut-
off' head. The student was then able to change the impeller
speed of the pump, and collect performance curves for as
many speeds as needed. System operations or raw data were
collected in Excel spreadsheets for the students to analyze,
correlate, and present in their laboratory reports.
The students were also instructed to test the centrifugal
pump Affinity Laws for systems with constant impeller di-
ameter. These include:
QaN (1)
H a N2 (2)
P c N3 (3)
where Q is flow rate, H is head, P is output power, and N is
the pump's impeller rotational speed, revolutions per minute.ts5
For example, the Affinity Laws were applied to calculate a
standardized head for the system, as follows:

Hstd = max (4)

The students were also expected to calculate the cost to
cool 1,000 computers using one pump per computer over
the course of the year. To simulate the use of the centrifugal
pump to provide cooling water to cool computers, it was as-
sumed that the pumps would operate 8,000 hours of the year
at constant speed.

Figure 1. Schematic of the centrifugal pump experiment.


Flow Meter

To do this, an arbitrary set of tabulated data for system
frictional losses as a function of velocity was provided by the
instructor, see Appendix C. This data set needed to be correlated
by the studentss. The system curve provides quantitative values
for the friction losses, as a function of flow rate through the
virtual system of computers. Frictional loses were assumed to
be proportional to the square of velocity.
The intersection of the curves, pump head vs. flow and sys-
tem head vs. flow, determines analytically and graphically the
estimated local best efficient point (BEP) for pump operation.
The absolute best efficient point is where the flow and head
are at the greatest efficiency.161 The students found the local
best effect point, which is the maximum efficiency for a given
flow rate. This is commonly done in industry to size pumps
and to specify system steady-state operating conditions. The
BEP values for pressure and flow at a constant speed were
then used to calculate the power input and output of the pump,
and find the efficiency of the pump at its operating conditions.
These values were determined by the following formulas; see

The Best Efficient Point (BEP) and the Efficiency for
Each Centrifugal Pump Impeller Speed Value
Impeller Speed Flow Rate Pressure Efficiency
(RPM) (L/min) (kPa) (%)
2010 1.35 6.55 22.3
2340 1.61 7.95 25.1
2610 1.81 9.90 28.7
3330 2.36 16.7 38.8
3510 2.52 19.3 42.2

Appendix D for sample calculations:

nput (Watts) = V (Volts) I (Amps) (5)

POupu, (Watts) = Poput (J/s)= Q (L/min)
1 min/60 s 1 m3/1000 L* P (kPa) (6)

= Q ( m3/s) ( N/m2) (7)

Efficiency (%) = PoLpuo' *100 (8)
From these calculated results, the students were also able
to calculate the yearly cost of electricity, as follows:
Cost(Annual)=Number of Pumps *(Operation Time P nu)
Cost of Electricity (9)
By doing this, students completed a preliminary design
estimate for the cost of pumping power and system flow

Results are calculated in Appendix D and presented below.
A) Performance and System Curve

Each student or team of students was able to provide a
complete performance and system curve from the experiment,
s shown in Figures 3 (page 54). In this figure, the ordinate is
he pump's pressure head and the abscissa is the water flow
ate, with each performance curve at a constant impeller speed.
n the relation of head vs. flow rate for each impeller speed,
he intersection of the performance curve and system curve
ives the point where each pump will operate. The intersection
f these lines is also where the frictional loss for each pump
design is at a minimum, and makes the point the best
efficient point (BEP).
B) Best Efficient Point
From Figure 3 and Excel spreadsheets, the students
determined the BEP's for the system curve provided.
For the BEP values, the students were also able to
go back to the raw data and retrieve the voltage and
amperage values to calculate input power to the pump,
and pump efficiency, as listed in Table 1. A typical set
of data for the pump performance has been provided
electronically and is available at>.

Affinity Analysis Results for Operation of a Centrifugal Pump
N (rpm) Q (L/min) Q, Error % AP (kPa) AP,, (kPa) Error % Potput (W) P.d (W) Error %
2130 1.44 1.52 5.65 6.22 6.99 12.32 0.149 0.18 18.68
2633 1.82 1.88 3.34 10.04 10.68 6.33 0.305 0.33 9.88
3302 2.34 2.36 0.79 16.44 16.79 2.13 0.641 0.66 2.94
3741 2.67 2.67 0.08 21.45 21.55 0.47 0.955 0.96 0.55
4382 3.13 3.13 0 29.57 29.57 0 1.543 1.54 0

52 Chemical Engineering Education

The Amount of Energy and Annual Cost of the Individual Pumps
at the BEP
Impeller Speed Efficiency Energy Input Annual Cost per
(RPM) (%) (W) pump ($)*
2010 22.3 0.66 2.72
2340 25.4 0.85 3.50
2610 28.7 1.04 4.28
3330 38.8 1.69 6.96
3510 42.2 1.92 7.91
Annual = 8000 hours at constant speed

C) Application
The complete cooling problem is presented in Appendix C,
and the energy requirements from Table 1 were used by the
students to solve this problem. Students assumed the BEP
values represent pump operating conditions (pressure and flow
rate) at highest system efficiency. From this they assumed the
pump system for computer cooling would operate at these
conditions. The students then calculated the annual operating
cost for each pump (see Table 2). Results indicated that at the
lowest impeller speed, the cost was at a minimum. It may be
noted that the efficiency for the pump increased with impeller
speed (see Table 2, second column).
For the annual cost of 1,000 pumps at the lowest operating
cost, the lowest cost is $272/yr.
D) Affinity Analysis
The students were also able to standardize the data
to find the error of the system as shown in Table 3.
This practice, while simple, was shown to be largely absent
from the knowledge of students before the laboratory, but once
the concept was explained, the simplicity and practicality of
it surprised many students.

The experimental apparatus and protocol demonstrated the
performance characteristics of a centrifugal pump, verification
of affinity laws, and application of pump flow rate/head data
with system hydraulic characteristics to specify steady-state
operating conditions, BEP. In addition, at BEP values, the an-
nual cost of pumping for a practical application was estimated.
The new centrifugal pump experimental study was "hands-on"
about the practical use of pumps, and students responded to
this lab experience as a more practical learning opportunity
than the previous lab.

The relatively low cost and time needed to design and con-
struct the centrifugal pump lab, plus the considerable learning
by the students, implies that the
lab experiment was success-

ful and could be used at other
universities, if needed.

Students were asked to in-
clude a brief paragraph that
described their educational
assessment of the centrifugal
pump lab. Nineteen assess-
ments were received. A major
consensus was an appreciation
of the lab's practical value.

Some students mentioned the value of hands-on learning of the
various principles; most students thought that the application
to industrial practices was far more interesting.
In addition, many of the students thought that as essential
as pumps are for the chemical process industry, they had been
minimally, if at all, taught in previous classes. The students
also appreciated the hands-on experience with a working
pump system with real-time results (observations, calcula-
tions, and graphs). Also, students thought the knowledge of
how to find the Best Efficient Point was worth learning.
Finally, in several assessments, students asked for added
complexity to the lab system. Namely, to include more
changes in variables, such as pump size, impeller speed at a
constant control-valve setting, and determination of energy
efficiency for these changes in pump design and operation.
From the Spring 2011 semester, seven assessments were
collected and the predominant themes of the educational as-
sessments are included in Table 4.

The authors appreciate the assistance provided by Philip D.
McCormick and for supplying data and sample calculations.
Also, many thanks to Mike Carraher for preparing the pump
system circuit diagram.

1. Wurdinger, S.D., Using Experiential Learningin the Classroom: Practical
Ideasfor All Educators, ScarecrowEducation, Lanham, MD, (2005)
2. Davies,W.A.,R.G.H. Prince, and RJ.Aird, "An Engineering Applica-
tions Laboratory for Chemical Engineering Students," Chem. Eng. Ed.,
25(1) 16,(1990)
3. Jones, W.E.,"Basic Chemical Engineering Experiments," Chem. Eng.
Ed.,, 27(1) 52, (1993)
4. Vaidyanath, S., J. Williams, M. Hilliard, and T. Wiesner, "The Develop-
ment and Deployent of a Virtual Unit Ops Laboratory," Chem. Eng.
Ed.,, 41(2) 144, (2007)
5. Bachus,L.and A. Custodio, Know and Understand Centrifigal Pumps,
Elsevier, Oxford (2003)
6. Kelly, J.H., "Understand the Fundamentals of Centrifugal Pumps,"
Chem. Eng. Prog., 106(10) 22, (2010)


Education Assessments by Students of Experiential Learning Experience- Centrifugal
Pump Lab
(Spring 2010)
Favorable Constructive
Practical value (4) Experiment too simple (2)
Hands-on learning ( 3 ) Add more features, such as pumps of different size,
control valves, etc. ( 2)
Interesting industrial application ( 1 )
Learned new information about centrifugal Determine effects on energy consumption of any
Pumps (4) additional features (1)
Real-time experimental results ( 2)
BEP determination valuable ( 3 )
(n) = approximate number of students who made similar comment.

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

The pump motor is a brushless dc motor that operates be-
tween approx. 5V and 12V. The pump will shut off at voltage
greater than 12V. The pump requires housing: XSPC Premium
Laing DDC Clear Acrylic Top -Version 3.0. The motor's start-
ing voltage is higher than the minimum operational voltage,
and the speed of the pump varies with voltage range. Also
the pump will not run in reverse.
Analog output voltage from LabView ranges from 0 to 10V.
The circuit contains both Scaling trim pots and offset trim pots
Offset trim pots have +/-15 V connected on either side. Scaling
trim pots are in the feedback loops or on the input.
The circuit was designed to be both inexpensive and run
on a single power supply.

E College



Figure 2 (above). Photograph of the
centrifugal pump experiment.

Figures 3 (left and below). Best Efficient
Point (BEP) at intersections of system curve
and centrifugal pump performance curve(s)
as function of impeller speed (rpm).


30 A

*_B ,BEP(O)



L. 10

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5
Water Flow Rate (L/min)

i4 Chemical Engineering Education

Pump Performance Curves:
A (3540 rpm) y = -1.3262x2 + 0.5228 x + 29
B (3330 rpm) y = -1.3516x2- 0.3309x +25.01
C (2610 rpm) y = -1.4025x2 0.282x + 15.002
D (2340 rpm) y = -1.3596x2 -0.6461x + 12.331
E (2010 rpm) y = -1.5414x2 0.069x + 8.152
System Curve: y = 3.0156x2 + 9x10-14 x 5x10-13

where y = head (kPa) and x = water flow rate (L/min)



DAQ motor

Figure A-1. Diagram of centrifugal pump system control and interface circuit.

The dc-de converter is used to supply bipolar power to the
op-amp IC in order for it to operate from OV. The 0-10V
from labview transformed to 1.2-12V for the motor. A 2-stage
opamp scheme includes:
1st for scaling, mixing signals (manual and data acqui-
sition (DAQ)) and preliminary offset,
2ndfor LED in Resistive-optical-isolator (more offset
and scaling plus some linearization)
The offset can be used to approximate the OV DAQ output
with the minimum voltage of the control regulator (1.2-1.7
V). The voltages going into motor starts at 6.8V and stops
at 4.8V.
The scale factor of LabView voltage is not an issue due
to the measuring of the voltage and current of the motor in
The tachometer has a voltage divider pull-up arrangement
to match the counter input voltage to the DAQ.
Vregl (LM317K) is adjusted to a fixed value of 15V and
is used as a pre-regulator. Vreg2 is used in adjustable mode
implemented using the Resistive-optical-isolator. Non:-gal-
vanic current sensor (NT-5) does not affect the operation of
the circuit from which the current is being measured. It also
provides no stray current paths. Capacitors on schematic with
a value of OF are place holders for optional capacitors that
were not used on the reference design.

Figure A-1 presents a diagram of the centrifugal pump
system control and interface circuit. A color version of the
schematic can be found at com/schematic2.pdf>. The colored circuit schematic facili-
tates the design and verification of the system circuitry with
the use of Multisim 11.0 in the Labview suite.
Parts Lists and Costs
A tabulation of the centrifugal pump lab costs and parts list
is provided in Figure A-2 (page 56).
Total Cost of Parts: $893.75

The procedure is available to students on Blackboard and
readers at pdf>.

Determination of Pump Operating Conditions:
Data: One thousand computers must be cooled and
CHE3243 lab data have been obtained. These data are the

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

Parts list for Cenrifuga:a Pump
(Not induding mounting structure)

A. Control and interface circuit

Resistors: (1/4 Wntt)
10KO x
82K x 2 S 05 ea.

(all are Bourne 3~'h9W)
10KO 3

$400 ea $24.00


.01iF x 2 ceramic
227? ceramic
33 pf TanLalum
6.8 pF Tantalum

Solid State Parts:
LM317K ) 2

$5.00 ea. $1000

Misc Parts:
NT-5 Current Senso
v l( 2 optical isolator

Mean Well 24V Sw thing Power Supply (CLG-10D241
Ip (optl ondl)
3pin molex connector (for tachometer connector)

8. Pump and transducers

Swift'ch MCP355 (PnfrrfIiLI.I pump
XSPC hoiusng accessory for Pipe ii ting s
Omrrn, Flowsensor FLR1000

Omegadyne PX-209-030-10V

C., Miscellaneous:

Valve, Fittings a nd tubing

Figure A-2. Parts List and Cost for Centrifugal Pump Lab.

Chemical Engineering Education

$1!1 I)






(al 32Y6W's)

(Total all Capacilo.-sl

basis for calculating the BEP (Best Efficient Point); the
intersection of the pump characteristic curve and the system
The 1,000 computers release 15,000,000 Btu/hr. The system
friction losses are as follows:
Calculate the Pump (each) Flow Rate, Head, BHP, Ef-
ficiency, and Speed (RPM) for the BEP that requires the
least annual cost for electrical power. The data for this task
is included in Table C-1.
Assume commercial rate is 5 cents/kWh.
Assume pump operations are 8000 hr/year.

Input data are from Figure 3 and Table 1. Values for annual
energy used to calculate power cost are based on a July 2010
power cost for Columbia, MO.
Input Data
V = 6.5 V Impeller Speed = 2010 RPM
I = 0.11015 A Flow Rate = 1.35 L/min = 0.0000225 m3/s
A) Input Power
P =V*I
Input V
Where V is pump voltage and I is pump amperage
Pput = 6.5 V 0.1015 A = 0.66 W
B) Output Power
P =Q*P
Where Q is flow and P is the pressure
Putput = 0.0000225 m3/s 6.55 kPa 1000 Pa/kPa= 0.147
C) Efficiency
Efficiency = op, 100%
Efficiency = 100% = 22.3%
D) Determination of Local BEP
Pump Impeller speed = 2010 RPM
Pump Performance curve for selected speed:
y=-1.5414x2 + 0.069x + 8.152
System Curve:
y=3.0156x2 + 9.0xl0-14x + 5x10-13

Solving the system of equation by Solver in Excel gives:
x=1.35 L/min y= 6.55 kPa
which corresponds to Table 1.
E) Annual Cost
Electrical cost was assumed at $0.0515/kWh.
Total Cost (Annual) = Number of Pumps Operation Time
* Cost of Power *PIn
Total Cost (Annual)= 1000 pumps 8000 hour
$0.0515 kW
*0.66 W = $272/yr
kWh 1000W
Affinity Law Calculations
For the affinity law calculations input data is taken from
Table 3.
Input Data
Px = 29.57 kPa
N=2130 RPM Nmx =4382 RPM

F) Standardization of Value by Affinity Laws for
Constant Impeller Diameter

std max --

where Px is the maximum experimental pressure and N is
the maximum impeller speed.

Psd = 29.57 kPa 4382130 = 6.99 kPa
sd( 4382
G) Percent Error
Pstd Pexp
Error % exp* 100%

6.99 kPa 6.22 kPa
Error % = 6 Pa6.22 100% =12.32%
6.22 kPa

System Data for Flow Rate vs. Pressure Drop
Water Flow Rate, lb/hr Total Pressure Drop, psi
200 1.0
400 4.0
800 16.0

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

]' classroom





University of Colorado Boulder, CO 80309-0424
We previously reported the advantages of using
screencasts in chemical engineering courses." In
the current paper we discuss uses of screencasts,
describe their availability, present data that demonstrate how
extensively they have been used, and provide additional stu-
dent feedback. More than 430 screencasts have been prepared
for seven chemical engineering courses: engineering calcu-
lations (computing), materials and energy balances, fluids,
heat transfer, thermodynamics, kinetics/reactor design, and
separations/mass transfer. Screencasts were prepared using
Camtasia Studio 7 software,12] which captures both narration
and real-time screen input. These screen recordings were ed-
ited and processed into MP4 videos that are posted online.
Two aspects of these videos make them appealing: most are
10 minutes in length or shorter, and they are not of profes-
sional quality. Because they are short, they maintain students'
interest, and they also do not take much of an instructor's
time to prepare. A large number of short screencasts gives
an instructor flexibility. They are like a living set of notes an
instructor can add to and remove material from, case by case.
They can be used to explain any learning activity. Because
they are not professional quality, the instructor does not have
to do multiple takes. Instead, they are similar to a class pre-
sentation of the same material. The feedback indicates that
students in a number of classes use them frequently and are
overwhelmingly positive about them.

Screencasts allow instructors to be more efficient; for ex-
ample, they don't have to repeat the same explanation multiple
times in office hours. Instead, they can refer a student to one or

John L. Falconer is the Mel and Virginia Clark Professor of Chemical
and Biological Engineering and a President's Teaching Scholar at
the University of Colorado Boulder. His research interests include
zeolite membranes, heterogeneous catalysis, photocatalysis, and
atomic and molecular deposition. He teaches kinetics and thermo-
dynamics courses.
Garret D. Nicodemus is a post-doctoral researcher in the Chemi-
cal and Biological Engineering Department at the University of
Colorado. He has taught a course in material and energy balances
and has been involved in developing conceptests and screencasts
for chemical engineering courses. His research interests include
tissue engineering and polymeric materials for membranes in gas
Janet deGrazia is a senior instructor in the Chemical and Biological
Engineering Department at the University of Colorado. She teaches a
number of courses in the department including a course on technol-
ogy for non-engineers. As chair of the Undergraduate Committee,
her interests lie in curricular innovations and the use of technology in
education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado
in chemical engineering.
Will Medlin is an associate professor of Chemical and Biological
Engineering and the ConocoPhillips Faculty Fellow at the University
of Colorado. He teaches courses in kinetics, thermodynamics, and
material and energy balances. His research interests are in the area
of surface science and heterogeneous catalysis.

Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012

Chemical Engineering Education

1.1 The Rate of Reaction
1.2 General Mole Balance Equation
1.3 Batch Reactors
1.4 Continuous-Flow Reactors
1.5 Industrial Reactors
2.1 Definition of Conversion
2.2 Batch Reactor Design Equations
Isothermal Batch Reaction Part 1
Isothermal Batch Reaction Part 2
Solving O.D.E.s with POLYMATH
2.3 Design Equations for Flow Reactors
Comparing CSTR and PFR Balances
2.4 Sizing Continuous-Flow Reactors
2.5 Reactors in Series
Comparing Reactors in Series
Determining CSTR Volumes in Series
Replacing a CSTR with 2 CSTRs
Sizing Two CSTRs in Series
Using Reciprocal Rate Data
2.6 Some Further Definitions
Chapter 3: RATE LAWS

Figure 1. Screenshot of web-
site that show screencasts associated with the table of
contents ofFogler's Essentials of Chemical Reaction

more screencasts and ask him or her to return with questions.
This allows an instructor to leverage his/her efforts by solving
an example problem once and then referring the students to
the video. Because the videos are short, they can be used as
modules that provide a logical sequence for specific topics.
Previous studies have indicated the value of screencasts for
improving student learning. Totol'34' used 60 screencasts in a
general chemistry class for distance learners. His screencasts
addressed concepts from homework assignments on which
students scored poorly the year before. Students with access
to the screencasts scored 11% better in the course overall and
22% better on the difficult concepts on which prior students
scored poorly. In addition, the students overwhelmingly liked
the screencasts. Similarly, Stelzer, et al.,157' used web-based
multimedia learning modules prior to class as an addition to,
or even replacement for, the textbook. Student performance
on questions assigned to be answered before class improved
significantly when compared to those who did not have ac-
cess to the videos.
The Khan Academy'8' is a library that contains more than
2,400 screencast videos covering math, science, and other

topics. As explained on the website, "Each video is a digest-
ible chunk, approximately 10 minutes long, and especially
purposed for viewing on the computer." The website claims
that more than 74 million lessons have been delivered. Pinder-
Grover, at el.,19,101 used screencasts in a large materials science
course, using both qualitative and quantitative approaches to
assess the effectiveness of their approach. They found that
overall performance was positively linked to screencast usage.
Garrigus1"1 presented half of his lectures in the Texas public
school system as screencasts, using the rest of the time for
active learning. He found that class time was more efficient
because he was able to engage the students in active learning
and address individual student needs. Similarly, Bergmann
and Sams pioneered a comparable approach, the "flipped
classroom," which focuses on using screencasts instead of
lectures"21 In this model, video lectures are assigned before
class, allowing the teachers to spend more time during class
working directly with students. Their flipped classroom ap-
proach has been adopted in schools worldwide.1131
Screencasts have also been used to train faculty and students
to use educational technology. The Laurier Library' 4' devel-
oped a site to instruct faculty in the production of screencasts,
including resources to create them at their own universities.
Western Kentucky University has prepared screencasts as
video tutorials for campus training technology for Human
Resources and the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching,
adopting the model from Bowers, et al.I'51 The University of
Michigan library found that students who viewed instructional
screencasts were able to not only complete a multi-step re-
search process, but also able to apply concepts they learned
to new situations.

Available Screencasts
We have more than 430 screencasts posted on> and on iTunesU and are continuing to
add more. The thermodynamics and kinetics/reactor design
courses have more than 120 screencasts each, and fluids and
material and energy balances have more than 60. Screencasts
are still being prepared for engineering calculations (com-
puting), heat transfer, and separations/mass transfer; these
courses have less than 30 screencasts each. The screencasts
are organized by course topics and also by the tables of con-
tents of commonly used textbooks for these courses. Figure 1
shows a screenshot from the website of part of the table of
contents for Fogler's kinetics book.'161 Links to screencasts
useful for a chapter section are listed under that section. A
short text summary description of the screencast content is
displayed when a mouse pointer moves over a screencast link.
The screencasts are in MP4 format and can be watched online
or downloaded onto computers, tablets, and smart phones.
They can also be viewed in or downloaded to iTunes from
iTunesU (search for University of Colorado).

Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

Screencast Applications
The screencasts on include:
Example problems: most of the screencasts are solutions
to numerical problems similar to those found at the end
of textbook chapters. As we switched our instruction to
more active learning, particularly using ConcepTests,
student-held clickers, and peer instruction,117-21/ students
requested more worked-out examples, and screencasts
were prepared to address this request. These screencasts
can be used to supplement or replace the example prob-
lems presented in conventional lecture-style courses.
Exam reviews: for example,five screencasts that pre-
sented solutions to problems on previous final exams
were made for review for a thermodynamics final exam
instead of an evening exam review that has been used in
the past. The class had 110 students, and each of these
videos was watched almost 100 times. The students did
better on the final exam than in previous years, so the
screencasts were at least as effective as a live review.
Software tutorials: screencasts are an effective way to
explain the use of software.
Explanations of how to use tables and graphs:for
example, some screencasts explain how to use the steam
tables to find properties of water, whereas others clarify
phase diagrams or engineering charts.
Explanations of confusing concepts or introductions to a
topic: these are like mini-lectures.

How Students Can Use Screencasts
Screencasts allow students to proceed at their pace so
they can better understand the material, whereas instructors
cannot go at a pace in class that is optimal for everyone.
Students can also look at screencasts on their own schedule
and they can play them more than once. They can stop and
take notes and rewind; they can control the rate of informa-
tion supplied to them. Thus, they have more control over
their learning. Watching a screencast is more active than an
in-class example.
Screencasts can be particularly useful for students who
cannot attend office hours (e.g., because of part-time jobs,
extra-curricular activities, course conflicts) or students who
need to refresh material from a prerequisite course. Students
are sometimes poorly prepared for a course, especially when
they took the prerequisite courses more than a year earlier.
Screencasts provide a way for them to review at the begin-
ning of the semester. Similarly, some graduate students do
not have undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering,
and screencasts might help prepare them for graduate classes.
Some of our seniors take the Fundamentals of Engineering
(FE) exam, which includes topics they may not have seen for
two or three years. Screencasts are an effective way to reach a
larger number of students than could attend a review session.
Thus, screencasts are also organized by the topics in the FE
exam on the website.

Student feedback
We have used screencasts for three years, in courses ranging
from freshman chemistry to graduate-level kinetics, and the
feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Some typical
anonymous comments at the end of the semester from students
in a thermodynamics course in Fall 2010 were:
"Screencasts helped me understand concepts that I
wasn't completely comfortable with."
"The screencasts were the best thing that helped me
learn in this course."
"The screencasts help tremendously in providing good
"The screencasts were extremely helpful for understand-
ing material and preparing for exams."
"The screencasts are also VERY helpfid for homework
and study. I use them a lot!"
"Screencasts helped a LOT!"
"I really like the screencasts; they help me learn the
The responses to the question at the end of the Fall 2009
semester in thermodynamics, "How useful have you found
the screencasts (videos) as a learning tool?" were also very
positive, with 72% of the respondents saying they were use-
ful or very useful. Feedback from 62 students in the Spring
2011 fluids course was similar: More than 91% of the students
found them useful to very useful. The number of students
who used the screencasts frequently (10 or more times) was
high, and more than half the class claimed to have watched
over half the screencasts.
One indication of the value of the screencasts is the number
of times they have been played. We first posted screencasts
online in August 2010 and gradually increased the number
to more than 430. As shown in Figure 2, the number of

50,000 2500
40,000 tche 2000
30,000 1500
20,000 1000 UA

U 10,000 t 500 a
U Screencasts j
watched/week C
0 0-
1 11 21 31 41 51 61
Weeks website online

Figure 2. Number of screencasts watched per week
and total number of screencasts watched since initially
posting screencasts online.

Chemical Engineering Education

Z 400 40,000

300 30,000
u 4---; Available
S200 20,000

1 11 21 31 41 51 61
Weeks website online
Figure 3. Number of screencasts available online,
watched and downloaded from both com> and iTunesU.

screencasts watched each week varies widely, with some of
the maxima corresponding to exams during the semester and
to final exams. The screencasts have been played more than
43,000 times as of September 2011. In March 2011 (week 31
in Figure 2) the screencasts were also added to iTunesU, which
allows them to be watched online or downloaded for offline
use. As shown in Figure 3, in less than 28 weeks over 41,000
screencasts were downloaded, so that these screencasts were
either watched or downloaded more than 84,000 times.

Planned Additions/Improvements to the Website
Screencasts are still being added to the website, with the
goal of at least 75 screencasts for each of the courses. Bio-
logical engineering examples are also being added since most
chemical engineering programs have a significant biological
emphasis. We also plan to try an open forum in our courses
to get feedback on aspects that are unclear or incorrect so that
modified screencasts can be prepared.

An example problem solution presented in a screencast can
potentially be more effective than a similar problem in a book.
Detailed narration can be provided without a lot of prepara-
tion time. The screencast can emphasize what are known to
be confusing aspects and point out common mistakes. It can
also demonstrate a problem-solving format and demonstrate
the types of solutions expected on homework assignments.
A 10-minute screencast of the solution to an example
problem might take 30-40 minutes of the instructor's time to
prepare, assuming the solution and calculations are already
complete. An approach that we have found effective122' in-
cludes the following:
SPrepare a rehearsal script of exactly what will be
included in the screencast. Include notes on points to


Vol. 46, No. 1, Winter 2012

Start the screencast stating its purpose.
Pause while recording to make the screencast shorter.
Equations can be written, a diagram can be drawn, or
numbers can be multiplied during the pause and the
result explained when the recording restarts.
Record the screencast as if presenting a problem solution
in class, with all the attendant pauses, hesitations, dead
times, and external noises.
Follow a problem-solving outline: start with diagrams,
label knowns and unknowns, use units throughout, make
assumptions explicit, check solutions at the end, and so
Repeat a section if a mistake is made, rather than start-
ing the recording over.
Remove the errors and dead times after the recording is
complete. This can be done by an undergraduate student
assistant. Note that the dead times and other extraneous
parts can be left in without compromising the screencast.
Add highlights, annotations, and call-outs post-recording
to focus a student's attention. This can be done by a B.S.
level chemical engineer. These are not necessary, but
highlighting can help minimize confusion, and call-outs
can provide alternate explanations, definitions, or refer-
ences to other materials.
If the screencast looks like it will be longer than 10 min-
utes, break it into two screencasts.

The cost for software and hardware to prepare screencasts
is low. Tablet PCs cost less than $1,000 and Camtasia Studio
7,[21 which was used to record all screencasts on our website,
costs less than $300. Other screen capture programs can be
used,1231 but Camtasia is simple to learn, user-friendly, and has
editing tools that can enhance the quality of the screencast.

Over 430 screencasts have been prepared and disseminated
online for seven core chemical engineering courses, and
more are being added weekly. These screencasts are orga-
nized for each course by topic and also by textbooks' tables
of contents. They have been played more than 43,000 times
and downloaded 41,000 times. Student feedback has been
extremely positive. Screencasts were prepared that present
solutions to example problems, exam reviews, explanations
on how to use software, and mini-lectures that introduce a
topic or explain a concept. Suggestions were offered on how
to produce screencasts. We encourage faculty to consider
using the screencasts on as part of
their courses or informing their students of the screencasts'
availability so they can decide if the screencasts are useful.

We gratefully acknowledge support by the National Science
Foundation (Grant DUE 0920640), the Engineering Excel-

lence Fund at the University of Colorado, and Shell. We also
thank Michael Holmberg,Audrey Schaiberger, and Catherine
Youngblood for help in preparing these screencasts.

1. Falconer, J.L., J. deGrazia, J.W. Medlin, and M. Holmberg, "Using
Screencasts in Chemical Engineering Courses," Chent. Eng. Ed., 43(4),
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3. Toto, J., The Mini-lecture Movie Effect on Learning in an Online Gen-
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of Chemistry, Mesa College, San Diego, CA (2007)
4. Toto, J., and K. Booth, "Effects and Implications of Mini-Lectures
on Learning in First-Semester General Chemistry," Chemn. Educ. Res.
Pract., 9(3), 259 (2008)
5. Stelzer, T., G. Gladding, J.P. Mestre, and D.T. Brookes, "Comparing
the Efficacy of Multimedia Modules with Traditional Textbooks for
Learning Introductory Physics Content," Am. J. Physics, 77(2), 184
6. Chen, Z.Z.,T. Stelzer, and G. Gladding, "Using Multimedia Modules to
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8. Khan, S., Khan Academy. 2011. (July 22,2011)>
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10. Pinder-Grover,T.,J. Millunchick, and C. Bierwert, ."Using Screencasts
to Enhance Student learning in a Large Lecture Material Science and
Engineering Class," 38th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Confer-

ence. Millunchick.pdf> (2008)
11. Garrigus, J., "Webcasting and the Active Learning Classroom,"> (2008)
12. Schaffhauser, D., "The Vod Couple," The Journal (8/1/2009). (2009)
13. Bergmann, J., and A. Sams, Learning 4 Mastery,>
14. The Laurier Library casting> (2010)
15. Bowers, J., J. Dent, and K. Barnes, "Video Tutorials: A Sustainable
Method for Campus Technology Training," Educause Quarterly,
32(3) CAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolume/VideoTutorialsASustainable-
Meth/182602/> (2009)
16. Fogler, H.S., Essentials of Chemical Reaction Engineering, Prentice-
Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ (2010)
17. Mazur, E., Peer Instruction: A User's Manual, Prentice Hall, Upper
Saddle River, NJ (1997)
18. Crouch, C.H., and E. Mazur, "Peer Instruction: Ten Years Experience
and Results," Ant. J. Phys., 69(9), 970 (2001)
19. Smith, M.K., W.B. Wood, W.K. Adams, C. Wieman, J.K. Knight, N.
Guild, and T.T. Su, "Why Peer Discussion Improves Student Per-
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Chemical Engineering Education

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Author Guidelines for the



The laboratory experience in chemical engineering education has long been an integral part
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experiences. A set of general guidelines and advice to the author can be found at our Web site:

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The ideas should be broadly applicable and described in sufficient detail to
allow and motivate others to adapt the ideas to their own curricula. It is noted
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objectives, and describe the rationale and approach.
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sufficient detail to allow the reader to judge the scope of effort required
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