427775 Integrating Electrochemical Engineering Education and Research: Use of Laboratory-Module-Aided Case Studies

Monday, November 9, 2015: 10:00 AM
251C (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Vijay Ramani, Chemical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL

This presentation will outline an active (and inductive) learning approach to teaching an elective course on renewable energy technologies. This is an institute-wide graduate level elective, housed in the chemical engineering department but open to all disciplines. Senior undergraduate students in good standing are also allowed to take this course. Given the wide disparity in student background, traditional instruction methods fail very quickly, necessitating new approaches.

As a specific example, I discuss a module wherein students can be: a) given a brief background in fuel cell technology, b) presented with a case study that clearly confirms degradation of fuel cell stacks, and c) asked to run diagnostics on typical fuel cell membrane electrode assemblies in the laboratory using selected electrochemical methods. This sequence will be followed by a discussion wherein the data is analyzed, and the concepts of electrocatalyst support corrosion and electrocatalyst dissolution are introduced. To reinforce these concepts, the students will then be asked to evaluate corrosion-resistant electrocatalysts and to comment on whether the added costs justify the new material. Within this framework, the timelines for integrating a new laboratory discovery to the production line are discussed. In this manner, students are exposed to theory, practice, and relevance.

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