RAPID Intern Demos ChemE Cube™ Competition Prototype

RAPID Engineering intern Seth Ricketts has been working over the last year to build a proof-of-concept, one-cubic-foot modular mixing process as a demonstration for the recently launched ChemE Cube™ Pilot Competition.  

This small, autonomous, modular process includes two self-priming, open-source syringe pumps controlled by a consumer-grade microcontroller and a low-budget 3D-printed continuous flow micro-mixer. See the example Seth created in this three-minute informational video.

The competition

The ChemE Cube competition was developed to assess a chemical engineering undergraduate’s ability learn all of the necessary skills encompassed in the competition, including:

  • Solving a real-world problem by designing a process using creative chemical engineering solutions. 
  • Demonstrating the ability to safely build and operate a complete chemical process (i.e., reaction and/or separation) at a small scale using advanced manufacturing and intensified processing technology. 
  • Calculating and communicating the ways in which industry could “number up” the process to meet required product demand. Numbering up is a concept in which, rather than scaling up a process to meet a desired production quantity, the number of modules are increased to meet demand, operating independent of one another.

The theme for this year is addressing the issue of limited access to drinking water via a modular on-demand surface water treatment mini-plant.

The teams

The six teams piloting the competition include students and faculty advisors from Oregon State University, North Carolina State University, the University of Delaware, Carnegie Mellon University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, and the University of Pittsburgh.

Next year the competition, with a new theme, will open to all universities.

Visit aiche.org/ChemECube to learn more.

Stay tuned for updates from our participants! #ChemECube