Development of a Simulation Laboratory for Chemical Engineering Instruction
David Kofke Principal Investigator
MetadataShow full item record
This project will demonstrate the feasibility of a Chemical Engineering Simulation Laboratory (CESL) as a tool for instruction of chemical engineering concepts. The CESL is designed to instill an intuitive feel for the operation of chemical processing equipment, an understanding that is ordinarily obtained by chemical engineers only after several years of on-the-job experience. Simulation can complement traditional classroom and laboratory experiences by providing the students with realistic exposure to processes and phenomena that are too expensive, large, time-consuming, or dangerous to examine otherwise. This project will develop three "process" modules. The first shall characerize the draining of a tank. This simple, but interesting problem, will allow concentraing on the general problme of module development. The other two modules will be selected buased upon experience with the first but will are expected to involve several process units (e.g., pumpts, heat exchangers, reators). One will be appropriate for use in steaty-state operation, and the other in unsteady-state oepration. In addition to these three process modules, the project will develop a high-level "control" program that governs the way the process modules are used. The control program will allow the modules to be run in any of three modes (Laboratory, Steady, or Unsteady operation). Flexibility in the design of the control program will allow for the incorporation of additional modules in the future. The seven faculty co-investigators will work closely with industrial consultants, student assistants, the computer vendor, and graphics programming experts to develop the simulation modules. The modules will be introduced into two undergraduate courses (Unit Operations in the fall and Kinetics in the spring). Assessment will be made of pedagogic impact of the modules via parallel control groups to compare quantitative metrics and exit interviews to capture student impressions. Plans are in place disseminate the present the project results at annual meetings of the AIChE and ASEE. The developed software and documentation will be distributed to chemical engineering departments across the nation via an ftp server on the Internet.