(428a) Learning By Doing: Students, Experimentation, and Process Development

Worstell, J. H. - Presenter, Worstell and Worstell, Consultants
Arredondo, J., University of Houston

Every chemical engineer will design experiments and evaluate experimental data at some point during their career.  Thus, it is important for chemical engineering students to have a meaningful experience in their Senior laboratory course.  Unfortunately, during a one semester course, there is hardly time to design, build, and test an experiment.  At the University of Houston, we encourage chemical engineering students to take an Independent Study course during their rising Senior summer.  For that course, they are given an experiment to research, design, build, punch, and commission.  If successful, the experiment is incorporated into the Junior or Senior laboratory sessions.  Not only do these summer students learn experimentation from the grass roots upward, but they get a feel for process development, since what they do during the summer is a miniature process development project.  

This presentation discusses the positive and negative aspect of this concept, a concept that provides evergreen experiments for the Junior and Senior laboratory sessions, detailed experience at experimental design, and experience at process development.