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Unit Operations Lab

chemical engineering

The Unit Operations Laboratory
at Rose-Hulman has a long history of being an integral part of the undergraduate chemical engineering program.  This is in keeping with our conviction that students learn best by doing.

Experimental Modules
The department moved into a new building in 1984. Since then,
over 20 different experimental modules are available for unit operations lab projects.  These modules include distillation, gas absorption, liquid extraction, drying, filtration, microfiltration, membrane separations, mixing, heat exchangers of several types including boiling and condensation, vapor-liquid equilibria, gas and liquid fluid flow, pumps, cooling tower, kinetics including fermentation, process control, and other miscellaneous modules.

Project Lab Model
The lab has been operated as a project lab as opposed to a 'cookbook' lab where the project objective is varied from group to group on any given experimental module.  In some cases projects are assigned requiring data be taken for scale up.  This has worked well with boiling heat transfer, cooling towers, filtration, drying and membrane separations.  Operating the lab in this fashion requires a large commitment from the faculty and in any given quarter five of the eight full time faculty are involved in the Unit Ops Lab.

Labs and Oral Reports
Oral reports have been an integral part of the lab since moving into the new facilities in 1984.  Each lab group of three gives three oral reports that are critiqued by other groups.   Faculty are present at all oral reports to 'grill' each group.  This again requires a hefty commitment of time from the faculty.  The reward comes when students call back after graduation saying they are able to hold their own when asked to report orally on their first job assignment.