- 3:15 PM

A Course Module on Chemical Product Design

James C. Watters, Chemical Engineering Department, University of Louisville, 2301 S. Third St, Louisville, KY 40292

The changing nature of the chemical engineering profession has promoted interest over the past decade in introducing students to product design concepts in addition to traditional chemical process design. I began teaching design at Louisville in fall 2004 following the retirement of a senior colleague who had taught it for over 20 years, and decided to incorporate a module on product design into the second course of our two-course sequence. First the students and I survey the text “Chemical Product Design” by Cussler and Moggridge (Cambridge University Press, 2001). Then the students are required to spend about one month identifying a needed product and performing a preliminary product design for it, including financial analysis, following the Cussler-Moggridge procedure.

This paper briefly presents the textbook procedure of Cussler and Moggridge, and then presents several examples of products proposed and analyzed by our senior students over the past four years. Some products proposed include:

• A swizzle-stick capable of detecting a date-rape drug in a mixed drink;

• Chewing gum to whiten teeth;

• Chewing gum to deliver the USDA daily vitamin regimen;

• Nanofluid production using induction heating; and

• Design and production of a better golfball.

The paper discusses some of the student projects, as well as some common issues students have with such an open-ended exercise. The design exercise is assigned in the last month of the senior year, between Spring Break and Finals, so as well as encouraging the students to be as creative as possible, I ask them to make it an enjoyable exercise. I have found the student projects to be generally of acceptable quality and instructive, and am very heartened that, indeed, our graduates can think and rise to a challenge, as we are about to loose them on an unsuspecting world!