Two experiments for the introductory chemical reaction engineering course

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This paper describes a pair of chemical reaction experiments developed for Rowan University's introductory course in chemical reaction engineering: an esterification reaction carried out in a packed bed, and a competitive reaction in which the kinetics were influenced by micromixing. The first experiment is the esterification of ethanol and acetic acid to form ethyl acetate. Students first examine this reaction in their organic chemistry class. The experiment developed in this project re-examines this reaction from a chemical engineering perspective. For example, the reaction is reversible and equilibrium-limited, but in the organic chemistry lab, there is no examination of the kinetics. The complementary chemical engineering experiment examines the relationship between residence time and conversion. The second experiment is a competitive system involving two reactions:H 2BO 3 - + H + ↔ H 3BO 35I - + IO 3 - + 6H + → 3I 2 + 3H 2O. The first reaction is essentially instantaneous. Thus, when H + is added as the limiting reagent, a perfectly mixed system would produce essentially no I 2. Production of a significant quantity of I 2 is attributed to a local excess of H +; a condition in which all H 2BO 3 - in a region is consumed and H + remains to react with I - and IO 3 -. In the spring of 2005, for the first time, both experiments were integrated into the undergraduate chemical reaction engineering course. This paper describes the use of the experiments in the classroom and compares the performance of the 2005 students to the 2004 cohort, for whom the course included no wet labs at all.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1-e5
JournalEducation for Chemical Engineers
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Education


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