Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Lab classes

This semester I am taking the chemical engineering lab and statistics class. We apply the equations and concepts that we learned in current and previous classes. For example, my group is working on an experiment to calculate some heat transfer coefficients that we learned about last semester in CHE 311, Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer. In addition to heat transfer, some of the other topics that experiments cover are fluid flow, reaction engineering, and separations.

My CHE 316 class has two components: a lab and a lecture. Everyone has the same lecture twice a week where we learn about statistical analysis of experimental data. The class is divided into smaller lab sections that meet at different times twice a week. Students work in groups of 2-3 to run experiments using various chemical engineering equipment. Some of the equipment in the Unit Operations Lab include a mixer, evaporator, and distillation column that spans two stories. If you want some more specific information about the chemical engineering and materials science labs, you can find it here. Pictured below is the bottom of the large distillation apparatus in the CHE 316 Unit Operations Lab in the Engineering Building.


The professors are really approachable and understanding of the fact that this is the fist time that some of us are using equipment like this. But, they also push us to make our own decisions because the most effective way for us to learn is to work through the problems ourselves.

There are a lot of other lab and hands-on classes for the other engineering majors as well. Even in the first engineering class, EGR 100 (which all engineering majors are required to take), students work in groups to build something and solve a problem. One of the projects is designing and programming a Lego robot car to navigate its way through an obstacle course. There are also senior design classes in addition to other laboratory and design classes. In the Michigan State University College of Engineering, there are many opportunities to get hand-on engineering experience in class.

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