Use of Sequential and Non-Disciplinary Problems to Teach Process Dynamics


  • William L. Luyben Lehigh University


This paper illustrates two useful pedagogical techniques for motivating and teaching students that can be easily applied to teaching process dynamics.  The two basic ideas are: 1) use situations that are not chemical engineering, and 2) use different versions of the same problem sequentially throughout the duration of the course.  The first helps motivate students because they can see that the basic principles of developing dynamic mathematical models have wide applications in many aspects of life.  The second provides the "creative  redundancy" that is needed to really understand a project. One example of this approach is presented.  There are four similar problems that have slightly different mathematical models and/or boundary conditions: the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar (Version 1), the Battle of Trafalgar (Version 2), the Battle of the North Atlantic (1940), and the 2200 battle between the Federation fleet of starships (led by Captain Kirk) and the evil Klingon fleet.

Author Biography

William L. Luyben, Lehigh University

William L. Luyben earned degrees in chemical engineering from Penn State (BS, 1955) and Delaware (PhD, 1963). His industrial experience includes four years with Exxon, four years with DuPont, and three decades of consulting with chemical and petroleum companies. He has taught at Lehigh University since 1967 and has participated in the development of several innovative undergraduate courses, from the introductory course in mass and energy balances through the capstone senior design course and an interdisciplinary controls laboratory.






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