Introducing ChE Students to Product Design Through the Investigation of Commercial Beer


  • Stephanie Farrell Rowan University
  • James A. Newell Rowan University
  • Mariano J. Savelski Rowan University


Product design is an essential component of chemical engineering curricula in the 21st century, but departments struggle to fit it into an already crowded curriculum. This paper describes the use of commercial beer as a means of introducing freshmen to the concept of product design. Issues relevant to product design are discussed, including packaging, properties of interest to consumers (head retention, color, etc.), patent information, and the importance of marketing the product. After studying an existing commercial product, student teams are required to develop their own product and make a marketing presentation to potential investors. Student feedback indicates that this approach is well-received and presents a first opportunity to consider the design of a chemical engineering product.

Author Biographies

Stephanie Farrell, Rowan University

Stephanie Farrell is Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University She received her BS in 1986 from the University of Pennsylvania, her MS in 1992 from Stevens Institute of Technology, and her PhD in 1996 from New Jersey Institute of Technology Her research expertise is in the field of drug delivery and controlled release.

James A. Newell, Rowan University

James Newell is Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University Prior to joining the Rowan faculty in 1998, he spent three years as an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota. His technical research area is in high-performance polymers.

Mariano J. Savelski, Rowan University

Mariano J. Savelski is Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University He received his BS in 1991 from the University of Buenos Aires, his ME in 1994 from the University of Tulsa, and his PhD in 1999 from the University of Oklahoma. His technical research is in the area of process design and optimization.