Combining Experimentation and Simulation in a Unit Operations Lab Course




The continuous distillation experiment in the Unit Operations Lab was moved to a virtual platform. Students used old data and equipment specifications to simulate the column in Aspen HYSYS. Students experimented without the limitations of existing equipment. For example, they studied the number of trays in the virtual column, something that is impossible with the physical set-up. In this work, we present the outline for the module and discuss student experiences and feedback.

Author Biographies

LiLu Tian Funkenbusch, University of Florida

LiLu Tian Funkenbusch, Ph.D., is an Instructional Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida. Her research interests focus on engineering education, specifically in unit operations laboratory experiments. She has taught Unit Operations Lab for the past three years and is always working to design new experiments to teach and apply important chemical engineering concepts. She earned her Ph.D. from Michigan Technological University and B.S. from the University of Rochester.

Sindia Rivera-Jiménez, University of Florida

Sindia Rivera-Jiménez, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education and affiliate faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida. She creates curricula for engineering design courses and outreach. Her research focuses on the persistence/retention of underrepresented minorities in academic engineering programs during formal and informal experiences. She is also interested in unconscious biases in design teams and creating professional development workshops for industry/academia using blended instructional tools.