(547e) Developing Design Projects That Scan The Length Scale
Although the design of traditional petrochemical-based chemical plants still provides an important role in the education of chemical engineers, the construction of such plants is scarce in the US. More and more, chemical engineers, especially in Europe, the US, and Japan, are involved in the design and manufacture of new, chemical-based products. The design of these new products, often involving biologically derived chemicals, requires the chemical engineer to consider phenomena occurring at multiple length-scales. For example, in the manufacture of a drug patch, a chemical engineer might be involved in determining the action of enhancers and excipients on the surface of the skin (nano-scale), what adhesives are suitable to adhere to human skin (colloidal-scale), the transport phenomena involved in the movement of APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) across the skin and the bioavailability in the body (micro-scale), and finally the manufacture of the patch itself (macro-scale). These phenomena occur over a wide range of length scales and an understanding of each is crucial to the development of a successful product. Examples developed at West Virginia University including this and other product designs involving multiple length-scales will be discussed.