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Undergraduate Program

Teaching Lab

The Undergraduate Teaching Lab is used for the two required senior-year lab courses in Chemical and Biological Engineering. The recently renovated lab space, located in rooms 166 and 167 of the Science and Technology Center, contains a gas chromatograph, adsorber, chemical reactor, bioreactor, fluid bed, crystallizer, and distillation tower. New equipment has been added as necessary, including a student-built absorber designed by seniors as part of the ChBE 52 Projects Laboratory course.

The ChBE 51 Undergraduate Laboratory course introduces students to basic concepts, experimental techniques, and calculation procedures in unit operations. Past experiments have included:

  • Fluidized bed drying
  • PEM Fuel Cell characterization
  • Heat exchange
  • Ultrafiltration of hemoglobin solutions
  • Material syntheses using a precipitator-digestor and a crystallizer
  • Adsorption
  • Distillation
  • Bioreactor fermentation

The ChBE 52 Projects Laboratory course provides students an opportunity to execute open-ended experimental projects in an area of practical interest. Students work in a team on a project chosen in consultation with and supervised by ChBE faculty and/or industrial technical advisors. To bring the project to a successful conclusion, students must not only analyze experimental results, but also define the key experiments. Projects undertaken by recent BSChE seniors include:

  • Fermentation - production of ethanol from duckweed
  • Product Design - design of a device to produce O2 -enhanced air for treating mountaineers who are suffering from High Altitude Pulmonary Edema
  • Polymer Membranes - synthesis and characterization of membranes containing a temperature-sensitive constituent
  • High Temperature Insulation - synthesis of ceramic microspheres designed to reduce radioactive transport
  • Energy Storage - fabrication and testing of a novel cerium-zinc flow battery.
  • Carbon Dioxide Capture - synthesis and characterization of a lithium zirconate sorbent suitable for high temperature CO2 capture
  • Spectrometry - reconciliation of predicted metal ion complex speciation with experimentally-measured absorption spectra
  • Soft Sensor - development of a Recurrent Neural Network model for the on-line prediction of biomass in a fed-batch culture
  • Enhanced Absorption - characterization of thin flowing liquid films on a spinning disk
  • Solvents - construction and testing of a falling film absorption apparatus
  • Gas Absorber - design, construction, and characterization of a random packed countercurrent absorption column
  • Biomedical Materials - design, synthesis, and characterization of a reinforced hydrogel for use as artificial knee cartilage
  • Filtration - clarification of E. coli using non-adsorptive depth filters
  • Proteins - synthesis of protein-based materials that demonstrate controllable and reversible changes in shape in response to an environmental stimulus