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