Athens, OH 22 February 2012 – I will do my last unit operations lab tomorrow! Unit Ops is a chemical engineering senior class where small groups perform experiments that they decide what and how they want to test in order to fulfill the objectives given. What I love about this class is that it is applying the theories that I have been learning for the past few years. As a chemical engineer, there is little lab work after general chemistry and physics, but this class not only goes back to seeing concepts in action, it provides examples of real, life chemical engineering problems.
We all have individual design projects, where we are assigned one of the experiments and have to scale-up and solve a real life problem. My design project is that I have to treat a plant waste product that is released into a lake. The waste product is crystal violet dye in water, so it is safe for the environment, but it is a very bright purple color. It is decolorized when sodium hydroxide, NaOH, is added to it, but that makes it basic, so I have to worry about the pH being unsafe for the lake. In addition I have to choose the best reactor for the reaction to occur in and be as cost efficient as possible.
I am excited to solve the problem and feel like a “real” engineer.