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					Appendix III-F. ChE Laboratory Developments

                                         Appendix III-F
ChE Laboratory Developments (Dow Corning Foundation MAPS and NSF Gas Absorber
Design Experiment)

Feedback Improvement Strategy: Through student and recent graduate (alumni) surveys
potential areas for program improvement are identified. During the ChE faculty annual retreat,
faculty discuss the area; developing possible changes and courses of action to be accomplished.
The plan is pursued and executed. Students and recent graduates are again surveyed to assess the
efficacy of the implemented plan of program improvement.

Identification of Program Improvement Need: Feedback from constituents (students and
alumni surveys), along with faculty observations, presented the need for upgrades to the
Chemical Engineering Laboratory equipment. As an example, listed below are comments
summarized from the surveys (+ indicates generally positive comments; - indicates area for
improvement).

- Spring 96 (Survey of Recent Graduates)
        + Hands-on lab positive point
        - Could improve here – make more hands-on; add DAQ/Control; update equipment
- Spring 97 (Survey of Recent Graduates)
        + hands on labs; lab reports; memos
        - need different experiments; get labs in better shape; need hands on with pumps
- Spring 98 (Survey of Recent Graduates)
        + good labs; good emphasis on communications;
        - more piping design; get labs in better shape; more hands on labs; more hands on
          instrumentation; update/fix lab equipment
- Spring 98 (Senior Survey)
        + Realistic & hands on labs; good teaching of communications in lab;
        - lab equipment outdated
- Spring 99 (Senior Survey)
        + Hands on labs compliment courses; labs help with writing & speaking skills
        - some lab experiments in poor shape & outdated; more hands on & building experiments

Plan to Improve: In the summer of 1998 ChE program retreat the ChE faculty specifically
addressed the need to elevate laboratory improvement to a level of urgency. The real need for
introducing open-ended lab experiments was also discussed. It was recognized that the $12K
that the combined department received in university support fees would do little to help
improve/upgrade the aging ChE laboratory. Thus, it was decided to pursue industrial and federal
funds. When the first round of industrial proposals were not funded, a comprehensive laboratory
upgrade plan was developed in the summer of 1999 (see attachment F.1). It detailed a proposal
to upgrade specific portions of each of the major transport phenomena labs and suggested
potential funding sources. Included was an idea for novel, DBT (design-build-test) experiments.

Funding: A proposal to the Dow Corning Foundation in the fall of 1999 to fund the Dow
Corning Foundation Enhanced M.A.P.S. Laboratory (Materials, Automation, Processing,
Simulation) was successful and was fully funded ($200,000) in March of 2000. Additional funds
were solicited to match the Dow Corning Foundation funds. Table F.1 summarizes the funding
received to date for laboratory development and upgrades.
Appendix III-F. ChE Laboratory Developments




        Table F.1. Laboratory Enhancement Funding Obtained by the ChE Program
                 Funding Source                       Purpose               Amount
         Dow Corning Foundation               DCF MAPS Laboratory       $200,000 over 4 yrs
         Great Plains Foundation              GC Upgrade & Automation        $12,500
         NSF – CCLI                           DBT Gas Absorber          $100,000 over 2 yrs
         Camille & Dreyfus Foundation         Automated Lab Reactor          $25,000
         SDSM&T Agenda for Excellence         Automated Lab Reactor          $12,300
         Natl. Pork Producers Council         Laboratory Absorber            $22,000
         Merillat Particleboard Plant         Control Panel                   $1,000
         Micro Motion                         Mass Flow Meter                 $5,000

Implementation: The Dow Corning Foundation MAPS Laboratory enhancement project began
in earnest in Summer of 2000 and continues through Spring 2004. Specific highlights are
described below.

Fluids Laboratory: The fluids design experiment has been constructed and used by students in
ChE 361 (Chemical Engineering Laboratory course focusing on Fluid Dynamics) beginning in
Academic year 2000-2001. The experiment consists of a 3-level tower with a ladder allowing
students to access all parts of the experiment (Figure F.1). The objective of this undergraduate
experiment is to design, construct and test a liquid transport system that meets specific
requirements (height, flowrate, optimum power consumption, configuration, and/or cost)
provided by the laboratory instructor. An example of the specific requirements might be to
design a system to transport 8 gpm of water from the
storage tank through a filter to a spray nozzle located
at the receptor vessel on the third level, while
minimizing the cost of the operation on a continuous
basis. Students are expected to perform the design
calculations using the Pipe-Flo simulation software to
determine the pump head requirements. After getting
their design approved by the laboratory instructor,
students construct the piping system on the structure,
select the optimum pump from a number of available
pumps, and then demonstrate the efficacy of their
design through experimental runs. Due to the open-
ended nature of the experiment, every laboratory
group has entirely different specifications; the design
flow rate, type of nozzle or other discharge, in-line
filters, heat exchangers or packed beds, and even
modest variations in fluid viscosity. Students have
available five different pumps (with pump-curves
included) and a variety of pipe sizes and pipefittings
to accomplish their task. A Coreolis-type mass flow
meter was installed to allow students to measure            Figure F.1. Students working on the
accurately the flowrates.                                   DCF MAPS Fluids Tower.
Appendix III-F. ChE Laboratory Developments

Students who used the experiment made favorable comments (Attachment F.2) about the
experience and in particular, they thoroughly enjoyed the concept of designing a system on
paper, implementing and checking their design using a software simulator, then constructing and
testing their design. The new laboratory concept has exposed our students to something quite
different from a traditional chemical engineering laboratory. Here the students are introduced to
an industrial scenario, where they must demonstrate their engineering expertise in the design of a
materials handling system. Integral to the laboratory is the simulation of the process using state-
of-the-art software tools. And the last unique portion of the laboratory is the demonstration that
their system will work and do so cost effectively! In other words, there are multiple possible
solutions, but they need to implement the one that works and is the least expensive.

Heat Transfer Laboratory: A novel open-ended experiment focused on design, simulation, and
analysis of heat exchangers is under construction. Here students will be asked to design a heat
exchanger system to accomplish a desired temperature change or remove a required amount of
heat from a stream. After design, using software packages such as AspenPlus and B-Jac, the
students will go into the laboratory and configure either a shell and tube or plate and frame heat
exchanger to accomplish their required objective. The final step is to run their system to prove
their design. A data acquisition and control system, based on the Camile Connections process
control system, is available to the students for recording data and for achieving steady state in a
safe and efficient manner. The lab and equipment have been setup to make the lab experience
open-ended and as close to what they might expect to see in an industrial facility. A feature of
the system is the ability for students to change the heat transfer area in the plate and frame
exchanger and to switch out the tube bundles, and reconfigure the number of tube passes, in the
shell and tube exchanger. Figure F.2 shows examples of the two heat exchangers and
accompanying instrumentation and piping. This experiment will be tested in the Fall of 2003
and introduced into the heat transfer laboratory (ChE 362) in Spring 2004.




Figure F.2. DCF MAPS shell and tube exchanger (left) and new plate and frame exchanger
(right) being installed in the ChE laboratory.
Appendix III-F. ChE Laboratory Developments

Mass Transfer Laboratory: A novel open-ended experiment focused on design, simulation, and
analysis of absorption is nearly assembled (Figure F.3).
This experiment is funded primarily through a NSF –
CCLI grant, with one of the columns adapted from a NPPC
(National Pork Producers Council) research project. The
theme of design, build, and test follows through with this
experiment as well. Whereby students are presented with
an air stream of a certain flowrate and contaminant
(ethanol, CO2, or NH3) that they must remove. The
students simulate (using AspenPlus) a design to determine
appropriate packing materials, depth of packing, column
size, and water flowrate. Once their design is complete
they proceed into the lab, select a column, add the desired
packing to the specified depth. The last step is to run their
system to determine if they achieved the desired removal.
As a part of this laboratory the students will be using the
state-of-the-art pilot plant data acquisition and control
system (Camile). The computer controls operation of the
column and collects specific real time data, which the        Figure F.3. New MAPS
students specify. Figure F.4 shows examples of both the       absorber columns.
data acquisition / control computer and the Camile (Opto-
22) control hardware modules. Progress to date on this experiment was recently reported to the
ChE education community at the ASEE (American Society of Engineering Education) Annual
meeting in Nashville, Tn (Attachment F.3).




Figure F.4. Computer running Camile Tg control software (left) that is connected via a local
area network to the control hardware modules (right).
Appendix III-F. ChE Laboratory Developments

Control Trainer Laboratory: A Camile-based student trainer system was developed to help
students learn through hands-on experiences about
control hardware and software. Figure F.5 is a picture
of a two tanks in series experiment that was built to
allow students to learn more about controlling real
processes. This system was designed to first introduce
sophomore/junior level students to the Camile Tg
software by asking them to set up the necessary software
to sense and control a water level in one of the tanks.
As a part of this exercise, students will learn about
various sensors. Additionally, they will learn how to
calibrate the sensors, how to correctly wire them to the
computer boards, how to connect a final control element
(air controlled valve), and finally how all of these come
together to make a feedback control loop. This
experiment is a physical adaptation of the two tanks-in-
series Control Station process control simulator
(http://www.engr.uconn.edu/control/).
                                                            Figure F.5. Camile software and
Because the DCF MAPS Laboratory integrates data
                                                            control trainer experiment.
acquisition and control into each of the lab experiments,
and Camile Tg software will be used for the majority of these labs, early familiarity with the
software and hardware is important.

Automated Laboratory Reactor: To complement the reaction engineering and kinetics courses
that chemical engineering students take, and to further build upon the open-ended, Camile
control-based experiments, a Camile Clark ® reactor was purchased. This automated reactor is
being integrated into the chemical engineering laboratory and has the potential to be used in
                                          other lab courses; such as, the polymer laboratory, and
                                          the physical chemistry laboratory. While the primary
                                          emphasis will be to expose chemical engineering
                                          students to a hands-on reaction system, the apparatus
                                          can be used to further enhance other laboratory
                                          experiences. For example, in the polymer laboratory,
                                          students will be asked to synthesize a polymer in the
                                          Clark reactor. Different sized vessels are available for
                                          students to choose from. The finished polymer will be
                                          recovered and then processed and analyzed in the
                                          polymer engineering laboratory equipment. Figure F.6
Figure F.6. Students working on the       is a picture of two students inspecting the Camile Clark
Camile Clark Reactor System.              reactor.


Experiment Development: As a part of the implementation of the laboratory equipment and
experiments, undergraduate and graduate students were employed to design the experimental and
control systems. Students constructed each of the experiments, including specifying equipment,
selecting sensors, fabrication, and assembly of the equipment. The students also accomplished
Appendix III-F. ChE Laboratory Developments

startup of the experiments. While off-the shelf experiments could have been ordered, these units
would not have provided the flexibility and open-ended nature desired in our new experiments.
Thus, by designing and building our own systems we were able to devise the systems to allow
adaptable experiences. Another added benefit was that the students who worked on the
experiment development gained invaluable experience, much like what they could expect to see
on a small industrial project. Altogether, in the four-year period, over 20 students (see Table
F.2) have worked on various aspects of this laboratory development project. For some of the
students, their experiences were instrumental in helping them obtain job offers. Others are still
attending classes and undoubtedly they will be helped immensely by having worked on the
project.

         Table F.2. Students who have worked on various aspects of the Dow Corning
         Foundation Enhanced MAPS Laboratory.
               Student          Degree/Level             Student          Degree/Level
              Matt Meland           BS 2000             Bhavani Puli         MS 2004
            Brandon Johnson         BS 2000            Rick Hamilton         BS 2003
              Jeff Hartman          BS 2002             Jacob Colvin         BS 2003
             Vivian Skaug           BS 2002             Jared Fenton         BS 2005
            Mike Wischmann          BS 2003              Katie Zoller        BS 2005
             Kyle Wermers           BS 2003            Zac Doorenbos         BS 2005
             Molly Mackey           MS 2004            Batzaya Tumar         MS 2003
            Breanne Vottero         BS 2005             Sailaja Chada        MS 2003
               Jason Herr           BS 2002           Bob Cunningham         BS 2002
             Craig DeSmet           BS 2002             Mike Stratton        BS 2002
               Terry Klein          BS 2002             Ben Graham           MS 2003
              Chris Packer          BS 2005


Closing the loop: While the effort to improve the laboratory equipment and experiments is on
going, we reflect back at this point to demonstrate the effectiveness of the improvement cycle
that is in place within the Chemical Engineering Program. For more than a decade, the faculty
has solicited input from numerous constituents in an effort to continually improve the Chemical
Engineering Program. These recent laboratory enhancement and upgrade activities were in
direct response to faculty and constituent identification of a need for laboratory improvements.
Updates have been distributed to alumni, students, industrial recruiters, and other key individuals
regarding the lab efforts. Some of these take the form of informal tours to recruiters, alumni, and
others. The program web pages also reflect on going work and accomplishments (see hot links:
ChE home page; Alumni Christmas Letter; Dow Corning Foundation Year 3 report; or see “hard
copies” in attachment F.4). Now that the efforts have begun to come to fruition, thus “closing
the loop”, the chemical engineering faculty paused to examine recent survey summaries.

Alumni Survey 2003: In 2003 we completed a recent graduate survey of students who had
graduated within the last 5 years (1998 – 2002). The questions asked students to reflect back on
their education at SDSM&T (see http://www.sdsmt.edu/che_survey.html for the survey
questions). In particular, they were asked to comment on the chemical engineering program;
what it did right, what could have done better, and what was done poorly. These general
questions were followed with questions about specific courses or targeted experiences. 39
Alumni responded to the web based survey out of 118, or approximately 33% response rate.
Appendix III-F. ChE Laboratory Developments

In general, the majority of respondents felt that the chemical engineering laboratories were one
of the strengths of the program, with comments like: “Our lab program is far superior to any
other program….”; “Realistic, Hands-On Labs”; “Strong labs and real life applications”; “Labs.
They represent the type of equipment that chemical engineers deal with everyday.”; “The labs
were a great hands on experience for the students.”; “...laboratory curriculum provided me with a
sound background to trouble-shoot plant processes.”. Since a fair number of the alumni
respondents graduated prior to the development of the Dow Corning Foundation MAPS
laboratory, we did still receive comments that suggest that there could still be improvements in
equipment and experiments. A few comments suggested a design, build, test strategy, which we
have already begun implementing. Others recognized that changes were being made as noted by
comments such as:

        The laboratory experiences could have been more self driven. If I understand some of the
        newsletters that I have read, I believe change is already underway to make the lab
        experiments more user-driven and not “cookbook” style. This will be a very positive
        experience, since in the real world there are usually no pre-defined experiments. BS
        2000 graduate, LaFarge North America, Harleyville, SC Plant.

Finally, it was observed that there were a number of comments related to increasing the exposure
of students to hands-on process control experiences and Visual Basic programming. The Dow
Corning Foundation MAPS laboratory is heavily reliant on use of Camile control hardware and
software, so these concerns are already being addressed. Two years ago the ChE curriculum was
changed to replace Fortran instruction with a Visual Basic 6.0 class. This instruction dovetails
nicely with the Camile Tg software, which uses a Visual Basic-like macro programming
language. Students will be exposed to this programming and PLCs in the Camile Trainer
Experiments.

Senior Survey (2003): The Spring 2003 results show that overall 83% of the responses for all the
mandatory ChE laboratories agreed that the labs were worthwhile to exceptionally beneficial.
While there appears to be some recognition of the changes that were occurring, the need for
further improvements in equipment was also indicated (See Attachment F.5 for questions).

Alumni Visits: Over the past two years we have had the opportunity to visit with recent alumni
that stop by the department offices. After touring the laboratory, many comment on the positive
changes being made. Some of their observations include positive comments on the design-build
(hands-on)-test concept and the introduction to hands-on PC based process control systems.
Some felt that learning about sensors, and how to install them would have been very beneficial to
what they had done in industry (see comments in attachment F.6). Doug Aldrich (SDSM&T
Alumni and Dow Corning employee) recently presented the last installment of the Dow Corning
Foundation MAPS Laboratory grant. He related how pleased he and the Dow Corning
Foundation were on the progress that was being made and the wise use of the DCF funds to
develop novel, and modern, laboratory experiences for the SDSM&T ChE students. He was also
quoted in the Spring 2003 SDSM&T Magazine (full article attachment F.7), relating the impact
of the MAPS laboratory development:
Appendix III-F. ChE Laboratory Developments


        “It is not just the lab that is going to be beneficial. I is really tying together all
        the course work, labs and independent research. Getting the professors and
        students really collaborating on this is what is going to make this M.A.P.S. lab an
        absolute step change in how schools prepare their engineers for the future. I am
        just glad that SD Tech is one of these making step changes. This is looking
        forward to a very bright future for both the School of Mines and Dow Corning.”
        (Doug Aldrich, Dow Corning Global Manager of Laboratory Facilities, Science
        and Technology)

Summary: This summary document illustrates one of the successes the chemical
engineering faculty has accomplished through their continual program improvement
process. This example shows that the faculty, using their own observations and input
from program constituents, were able to develop and execute a long-term project to
modernize and advance the ChE laboratories. Successful design and construction efforts
have resulted in a number of modernized, and novel, laboratory experiences. While the
laboratory experiments and equipment in the ChE lab are clearly being improved, it is
recognized that the process is not yet done. Attachment F.8 details repair action items
and ideas for future improvements for the unit operations laboratory. Thus, the feedback
improvement cycle will continue, as it should.


Attachments:
   1. 1999 ChE Laboratory plan
   2. ASEE 2002 article on DBT fluids experiment
   3. ASEE 2003 article on DBT gas absorber experiment
   4. Dissemination to constituents
   5. ChE senior survey questions
   6. Alumni comment pages
   7. DCF MAPS article in SDSM&T Magazine
   8. Future laboratory repairs and improvements

				
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