288698 Ready to Use Module for Introducing Mixing in a Fluids Mechanics Course

Tuesday, October 30, 2012: 1:45 PM
Frick (Omni )
Richard K. Grenville, DuPont Engineering Technology, Wilmington, DE

As Chemical Engineers we are concerned with the transformation of raw materials into valuable products.  These transformations may require the mixing and reacting of the raw materials and the separation of the desired products from by-products.  Also, as these transformations take place, the materials may need to be heated and/or cooled.  All the disciplines required to understand the operation and design of mass and heat transfer equipment are covered in the under-graduate Chemical Engineering curriculum.

Mixing has been identified as a critical operation for the Chemical Industry (see for example, Smith, 1990, Trans IChemE. 68, pp. 3 - 6) yet it is not, generally, taught to Chemical Engineering students.  There are a number of reasons for this.  Among those given are:

It is the University's job to "teach the basics" and the engineer will learn "practical skills" once he/she has started work.

In order to add a course on mixing, some other subject would have to be removed from the curriculum.

But the same comments are not made about heat exchangers or distillation columns.

If we accept that there is no “market” for a full mixing course at most Universities, how can we ensure that the students get some exposure to this technology before they graduate?  We believe that a working understanding of mixing can be taught by adding lectures as mixing modules to the classic Chemical Engineering courses.  For example:

An agitator impeller is a pump and it can be characterized in the same way as the pump in a piping system that students will have studied in Fluid Mechanics.

Design of agitators for heat and mass transfer can be covered in the traditional courses.

Mixing issues relating to fast, competitive reactions can be covered in the traditional Reaction Engineering course.  When does the assumption that a reactor is “perfectly-mixed” fail?

The content of several proposed modules will be presented

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See more of this Session: Mixing Education
See more of this Group/Topical: North American Mixing Forum