Educating Chemical Engineers in Product Design
Joseph A. Shaeiwitz and Richard Turton
Chemical Engineering Department, West Virginia University
P.O. Box 6102, Morgantown, WV 26506-6102, USA
Historically, chemical engineers have worked on continuous chemical processes that run 24 hours per day for most of the year, characterized by large units such as distillation columns and reactors. The capstone design class has traditionally involved design and economic analysis of such a process. However, the future of chemical engineering may not be in the traditional, large, continuously operating chemical plant. Rather, the future may be in the development and design of what can be termed chemical products. To introduce students to this new paradigm, a capstone experience involving chemical product design was implemented on an experimental basis. The results were three designs, involving either application of chemical engineering principles to a new technology or the design of a device using chemical engineering principles. Assessment results suggest that this experiment was successful and that students appreciated the unique design experience.