May 12, 2011

Seventy-four chemical engineering (ChE) juniors and seniors presented their design poster presentations on May 3, in the ChE laboratory. Nineteen design groups worked during the spring semester on the assignment.

Juniors in the ChE optimizations and economics course used computer software to address the issue of combustible dust. The senior capstone project required students to synthesize the information they learned from all of their ChE courses. Seniors designed and conducted an economic evaluation of the production of cumene, a constituent of crude oil and refined fuels.

The project comprised four phases. Phase one consisted of research about raw materials and design components. Phase two consisted of the computer simulation of a base case design of the process. Phase three consisted of the economic evaluation of the base case, and Phase four concluded the optimization of the design to reduce costs.

About 40 local industry professionals evaluated the design posters. They assessed the students’ projects based on criteria, such as environmental safety and compliance, ethical considerations, and budget. The engineering professionals recognized the group projects as beneficial to the students’ future careers.

“[The project] gives [students] the ability to work with others and solve a problem,” said Chris Keran, health environmental safety and security manager, OxyChem. “This gives them the opportunity to show the engineering skills that they’ve learned so far and optimize the solution to the problem.”

Brian Carey, operations manager, PCS Nitrogren, described the ChE poster presentations as an opportunity for students to network with engineering professionals.

“Getting to interact with people from varying industries allows students to ask questions about how their project relates to real-world technologies and real-world production, engineering questions, safeties and procedures, and compliance.”

The ChE students used information acquired over the course of their ChE matriculation at LSU. These skills included material and energy balances, computer simulation of chemical processes, economic evaluation, design alternatives to reduce costs, and safety and environmental design components.

“By completing this course, the students learn how to apply a wide variety of chemical engineering sills to completely design a chemical process and evaluate their design,” said Armando Corripio, professor, Cain Department of Chemical Engineering.

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Article by Aariel Charbonnet, College of Engineering Public Relations Graduate Assistant



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