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Digital tools in chemical engineering education: The needs and the desires

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jarka Glassey


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© 2023 Institution of Chemical EngineersEducators in chemical engineering have a long and rich history of employing digital tools to solve fundamental engineering problems. Today, with the megatrend of digitalisation, there is a growing set of tools that can be used for chemical engineering education. However, identifying which tool is ideally suited to support teaching a given chemical engineering concept can be challenging. To answer this question a survey was distributed to Heads of Departments at IChemE institutions and members of the IChemE committees focused on digitalisation. The survey respondents rated Microsoft Excel (VBA), commercial simulators, and scripting tools as ideal for teaching core subjects such as mass and energy balances, mass transfer and reaction engineering while respondents found 3D Models, and Virtual/Augmented Reality models as being most suited for teaching subjects such as process design, safety and sustainability. Mathematical/programming simplicity, ease of maintenance, and low initial investment costs were identified as key non-technical aspects that will hinder the adoption of a given digital tool. Weighing the benefits of education and non-technical hurdles, the respondents preferred the use of simpler digitalisation platforms such as Excel and scripting languages over the more advanced platforms such as Virtual/Augmented Reality where possible. It was identified that the widespread adoption of more advanced digitalisation tools will require removal of the above mentioned non-technical barriers as well as other barriers such as tool shareability.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Udugama IA, Atkins M, Bayer C, Carson J, Dikicioglu D, Gernaey KV, Glassey J, Taylor M, Young BR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Education for Chemical Engineers

Year: 2023

Volume: 44

Pages: 63-70

Print publication date: 01/07/2023

Online publication date: 09/05/2023

Acceptance date: 09/05/2023

ISSN (electronic): 1749-7728

Publisher: Elsevier B.V.


DOI: 10.1016/j.ece.2023.05.002


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