291756 Inductive Methods of Teaching Batch Distillation Through Simulation

Monday, October 29, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
Landon A. Mott, Chemical Engineering, University of Kentucky, Paducah, KY

In a modern world where computers are becoming more and more capable of accurately simulating complex physical activity, traditional engineering demonstrations are moving away from the laboratory and towards the virtual realm.  In this simulatory space, resource limitations and time constraints are lessened obstacles to constructive learning.  This poster involves the combination of batch distillation simulation with the inductive learning process (the process of observation and interpretation based on factual evidence).  As part of the Aspen software package, Aspen Batch Distillation may be used to teach the relationships of key batch distillation variables upon performance.  The student is guided through a developed tutorial involving the modeling of a real batch distillation column and then predicts the column’s performance.  Five inquiry-based activities are presented in which the effects of column pressure, heating rate, column internals, and reflux ratio are determined through simulation.  After determining these effects, the student is asked several “what-if” type questions involving the key variables of batch distillation as well as economic and safety questions designed to provoke the inductive thought process.  As an optional activity, a two and three dimensional experimental design is made available for verification of simulation accuracy via laboratory experimentation on a modeled column.  This experimentation reveals the difficulty of accurate simulation and stresses areas of experimental error which are not considered by simulation.

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