Engineering Design: the Information Component

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The curriculum of the Bucknell University Chemical Engineering Department includes a required senior year capstone course titled Process Engineering, with an emphasis on process design. For the past ten years library research has been a significant component of the coursework, and students working in teams meet with the librarian throughout the semester to explore a wide variety of information resources required for their project. The assignment has been the same from 1989 to 1999. Teams of students are responsible for designing a safe, efficient, and profitable process for the dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene to styrene monomer. A series of written reports on their chosen process design is a significant course outcome. While the assignment and the specific chemical technology have not changed radically in the past decade, the process of research and discovery has evolved considerably. This paper describes the solutions offered in 1989 to meet the information needs of the chemical engineering students at Bucknell University, and the evolution in research brought about by online databases, electronic journals, and the Internet, making the process of discovery a completely different experience in 1999.


ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Engineering Education Beyond the Millenium

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