Previous Open-Ended Problems
The experiment is to be used in the undergraduate laboratory and the cost less than $500 to build. The judging criteria are the same as the criteria for the National AIChE Student Chapter Competition. The design is to be displayed on a poster board and explained to a panel of judges. Guidelines for the poster board display are provided by Jack Fishman and are given on the CD ROM.
In Thailand alone, snakebites are responsible for the deaths of approximately 2,500 people a year. The interaction of snake venom with newly-developed antivenoms in the human body can be modeled as a chemical reaction engineering catalysis problem. Students use this knowledge to create and solve unique snakebite scenarios. Focus: catalysis, multiple reaction kinetics.
Lubricants used in car engines are formulated by blending a base oil with additives to yield a mixture with the desirable physical attributes. In this problem, students examine the degradation of lubricants by oxidation and design an improved lubricant system. The design should include the lubricant system's physical and chemical characteristics, as well as an explanation as to how it is applied to automobiles. Focus: automotive industry, petroleum industry.
The radioactive effluent stream from a newly-constructed nuclear power plant must be made to conform with Nuclear Regulatory Commission standards. Students use chemical reaction engineering and creative problem solving to propose solutions for the treatment of the reactor effluent. Focus: problem analysis, safety, ethics.
You work for a specialty chemicals company, which produces large amounts of aqueous waste. Your Chief Executive Officer (CEO) read in a journal about an emerging technology for reducing hazardous waste, and you must evaluate the system and its feasibility. Focus: waste processing, environmental issues, ethics.
Your supervisor at Kleen Petrochemical wishes to use a hydrodesulfurization reaction to produce ethylbenzene from a process waste stream. You have been assigned the task of designing a reactor for the hydrodesulfurization reaction. Focus: reactor design.
Most commercial bioreactions are carried out in batch reactors. The design of a continuous bioreactor is desired since it may prove to be more economically rewarding than batch processes. Most desirable is a reactor that can sustain cells that are suspended in the reactor while growth medium is fed in, without allowing the cells to exit the reactor. Focus: mixing modeling, separations, bioprocess kinetics, reactor design.
Kinetic models based on experimental data are being used increasingly in the chemical industry for the design of catalytic reactors. However, the modeling process itself can influence the final reactor design and its ultimate prerformance by incorporating different interpretations of experimental design into the basic kinetic models. In this problem, students are asked to develop kinetic modeling methods/approaches and apply them in the development of a model for the production of methanol from experimental data. Focus: kinetic modeling, reactor design.
Most gourmet foods are prepared by batch processes. In this problem, students are challenged to design a continuous process for the production of gourmet-quality Cajun seafood gumbo from an old family recipe. Focus: reactor design.