(334c) Developing a New Undergraduate Laboratory Curriculum

Authors: 
Williams, D., Imperial College London

The paper will describe the implementation of a new practice based curriculum which has been developed during the past 3 years at Imperial College in London for our chemical engineering undergraduates.

The programme centres on two major new teaching facilities which we have developed.

The first was the design and installation of a 4 storey high industrial quality pilot plant in the heart of our Department. This allows innovative and industrially relevant training to be delivered to our undergraduates in an academically rigorous environment.

Our Pilot Plant facility includes a number of unique teaching innovations :

  -  Pilot Plant can be operated by iPad's by the students or lead learners, in the plant space or indeed anywhere in the world.

-   Pilot plant control software has student configurable process control options, allowing a range of control strategies to be evaluated during teaching by the students.

  -  Plant has 250 sensor/instruments, approximately 3 times the normal number used. These extra instruments allow us to deliver a number of unique teaching and learning experiences. For example, we have a number of process lines with multiple flow measurement technologies deployed in series allowing students to assess the real differences in alternative flow measurement technologies.

-  An interactive e-learning module for student training on the Pilot Plant control system has been developed in conjunction with ABB.

-    Students work in an ergometrically designed control room ideontical to what they would find in best industrial practice, with optimised human-machine interfaces.

-  The Pilot Plant contains all the safety features you would expect to find on a real industrial plant included SIL rated instrumentation, permit to work system, 3 phase UPS system, independent dual processor safety controller, SMS messaging, multi-lingual emergency paging, alarm management system, integrated klaxon warning system and remote video visualisation of all pilot plant locations.

The second major new facility was a large dedicated UG teaching laboratory which can house over 60 students at any one time using any of the 40 experimental systems deployed in the laboratory. Supported by a new cohort of professional teaching fellows, the new laboratories provide a rich learning experience for our 1st year, 2nd year and 3rd year laboratories. These UG laboratories are themed:

- 1st Year Foundation Laboratories

-2nd Year Knowledge Laboratories

-3rd Year Discovery Laboratories

 Together these two facilities are our Discovery Teaching and Learning Space which I descibe in detail this presentation and how they form a core part of our UG curriculum.