Using Process Principles as An Introduction to Process Technology
Ronald W. Rousseau, School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 311 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332-0100
The first course in a discipline is an eye-opener for new students: an initial interaction with concepts and core technologies, meeting faculty members with whom they may have continuing interactions, and an introduction to a unique language and perspective of the world they are entering. In chemical engineering (or chemical and bioX engineering) this comes together in what traditionally has been called Chemical Process Principles, Mass and Energy Balances, or simply Stoichiometry. However, development of a skill-based culture in which rigorous attention is given to quantitative analysis and the synthesis of processes based on a relatively small number of concepts is an essential, yet almost unacknowledged, feature of this course. These features were among the philosophical bases for the authors of the text Elementary Principles of Chemical Processes (R. M. Felder and R. W. Rousseau, Wiley, 3rd ed., New York, 2000.) and led to their emphasis of real chemical species in their examples and problem sets. It also was the rationale for including case studies in which students were presented descriptions of functioning chemical processes, and then led through those processes with series of problems that increased in depth and complexity. The importance of these issues in planning and teaching this essential course will be illustrated in the planned presentation.