Almost all engineers deal with processing of solids, liquids or vapors in batch or manufacturing processes. The underlying science principles are usually taught in a conventional chemical or mechanical engineering curricula as a sequence of courses in transport phenomena (Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer, and, perhaps, Mass Transfer). These transport topics are often introduced from a somewhat sterile phenomenological perspective with emphasis on mathematical formalism. We propose to introduce the same topics through manufacturing applications without losing fundamental rigor. We believe the proposed approach provides an interesting way for students to gain a fundamental understanding of the engineering sciences that form the basis for design and operation of manufacturing processes. This technique capitalizes on our experience gained in the E4 program, which tells us that increased 'relevancy' holds the students' interests.

In order to test the validity of this approach, we have developed short instructional modules, which cover common transport phenomena topics: transient and steady state diffusion, both heat and mass and others. These topics are introduced through two manufacturing processes, production of integrated circuit chips and fiber spinning. The authors believe that it is possible to introduce the transport phenomena topic embedded in a manufacturing process without loss of instructional time and fundamental rigor.

We continue to evaluate the effectiveness of our approach by monitoring the students' ability to recall, apply, and extrapolate the concepts introduced in these one-week, applications-oriented modules. We have captured our approach in two media: textbook and multimedia format. The former is available in two forms: in browsable and as a PDF. Both are on this CD. Updates will be available at

http://www.chemeng.drexel.edu.

The multimedia is Authorware based. The multimedia offers a very powerful means to create "portable courses".

Our preliminary evaluation of our approach and the CD in fall, 1996 with a class of about 40 students has been encouraging. In an attempt to test the value of the CD based instruction, one-third of the class was given a copy of the CD and the rest (without access to the multimedia CD) served as the control group. The topic of fiber was discussed in its usual completeness in class. The CD contained animations, potentially enabling easier understanding. A carefully designed test problem showed that those with the CD scored significantly higher in the test problem involving fiber-spinning model than those who did not have the multimedia piece.

The project of developing the course and the self-standing multimedia was directed by Raj Mutharasan and Charles Weinberger. The project was funded by the NSF supported Gateway Coalition (EEC 9109794 & EEC 9727413).

 

It has been a wonderful experience for the authors in developing the material and the multimedia. Many students helped us in this project: Bhargavi Garapati, Adam Rhuberg, Kannan Mutharasan and others. We are grateful to NSF and the Gateway Coalition for the support that made it possible. We thank Eli Fromm (Principal Investigator, Gateway Coalition) for providing encouragement and support throughout the project.

 

Raj Mutharasan and Charles Weinberger

August 26, 1997