Kawamura paper on innovative teaching method wins awards

07/03/2017
 
Malia Kawamura was awarded the Professional Interest Council IV (PIC-IV) Best Paper and the Division for Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies (DELOS) Best Paper at the ASEE Annual Conference. 
 
The awards from the American Society for Engineering Education were for her paper, “An Educational Laboratory Experimental System for Teaching Chemical Reaction Process Dynamics and Control,” a study on innovations in engineering education.  
 
“The goal of my paper was to share an interesting experimental exercise and simulation toolkit that we thought could help fill a gap in the theory learned in chemical engineering courses and what it is like working with chemical plants in industry. We saw a large part of this gap being a lack of physical intuition for how chemical dynamics work—in other words, how a chemical concentration changes with time. We presented a colorimetric reaction (crystal violet bleaching reaction) where the contents of a beaker change from purple to clear after a few minutes, which makes how the chemical concentration changes with time very visual. This is all done with a safe and affordable laboratory setup,” said Kawamura, who studied in Professor Andrew Alleyne’s research group and completed her master’s degree in mechanical engineering in May. 
 
The simulation toolkit was developed in Matlab Simulink, with dynamic and modular blocks that allow for students to enter parameters that have clear physical meaning, which Kawamura said is not available on other simulation software. Her paper provided a process control example which can allow students to relate back to the experiment they have conducted already to increase understanding.