Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Official blog of the Lehigh University Chemical Engineers


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International Love

Traveling, in my humble opinion, is one of the only ways to truly live. You are exposed to new cultures, people, experiences; essentially a wealth of knowledge that you were previously oblivious to. Studying abroad in college is an amazing opportunity to do that. Why wait to travel until the future? The longer you wait, the harder it may be to actually find the time to go.

Many people are stuck in the mindset that engineers do not have the ability to study abroad, however, here at Lehigh that isn’t the case. It may be a little bit more difficult to fit in to your time here due to the required classes and the structured schedule, but not impossible. Also, if you weren’t looking to go abroad for a full semester, there are shorter trips you could take over summer, winter, or spring break. Here is a list of the different programs that Lehigh offers for engineers!

Bio Engineering
-Australia: Monash University, University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland
-Belgium: Katholieke University of Leuven
-Chile: IFSA Butler Santiago*, IFSA Butler Valparaíso*
-China: Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Global E3 for engineers),
-Hong Kong University of Science & Technology – Engineering
-Costa Rica: IFSA Butler Heredia*
-England: Imperial College London (year only), Queen Mary University of London, University College London, University of Sheffield (Global E3 for engineers)
-Germany: Dortmund exchange (summer only)
-Ireland: National University of Ireland—Galway
-Israel: Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (Global E3 for engineers)
-Japan: Tohoku University (Global E3 for engineers)*
-Korea: Hanyang University (Global E3 for engineers), KAIST (Global E3 for engineers)
-Mexico: ITESM Monterrey*, UDLAP*
-New Zealand: University of Auckland, University of Otago
-Singapore: Nanyang Technological University (Global E3 for engineers)
-Sweden: Lund University (Global E3 for engineers)
LEHIGH-LED
-Ireland: Lehigh in Ireland (summer)
Chemical Engineering
-Australia: James Cook University, Monash University, University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, University of Western Australia
-Belgium: Katholieke University of Leuven
-Chile: IFSA Butler Valparaíso*
-China: Hong Kong University of Science & Technology – Engineering
-Denmark: DTU-Technical University of Denmark (Global E3 for engineers)
-England: Imperial College London (year only), University College London, University of Manchester,
-University of Nottingham, University of Sheffield (Global E3 for engineers)
Indonesia: Institut Teknologi Bandung (Global E3 for engineers)
-Ireland: University of Limerick
-Germany: IES Berlin*, Dortmund exchange (summer only)
-Japan: Tohoku University (Global E3 for engineers)*
-Korea: Hanyang University (Global E3 for engineers), KAIST (Global E3 for engineers), Yonsei Unversity
-Malaysia: Universiti Teknologi Petronas (Global E3 for engineers)
-Mexico: ITESM Monterrey*, UDLAP*
-New Zealand: University of Auckland
-Scotland: University of Edinburgh
-Singapore: Nanyang Technological University (Global E3 for engineers)
-South Africa: University of Cape Town
-Spain: CIEE Alicante*
-Sweden: Lund University (Global E3 for engineers)

As you can see, there is an abundance of choices and opportunities for Lehigh engineers. There are also a bunch of testimonials on the Lehigh Study Abroad page about how inspiring traveling truly is. One in particular, from Kyra Dragone, an engineering major here is as follows:

“Going abroad to London, England was definitely the best experience of my college career. I chose London because I’m an engineering major and I only speak English. I knew I would be uncomfortable in a country where I didn’t understand the language so my options came down to London or Australia. I couldn’t be happier with my choice to go to London, because when you go to Europe you’re not just going to one country. By the end of my 4 months I had visited 11 major cities in 8 different countries. I learned more about culture and travel in my 4 months abroad than I had in my 20 years leading up to it, but studying abroad was more learning about life than anything else. It was an experience of a lifetime and I walked away from it with a new perspective. I made friends that I still stay in touch with (we’re already planning trips to visit each other in the coming year) and have memories that will stay with me forever. I would strongly recommend every student take advantage of the study abroad opportunities offered by Lehigh. If you can travel abroad you should. It’s an experience that words could never fully give justice too.”

For more information on studying abroad at Lehigh, visit: http://www.lehigh.edu/studyabroad/testimonials.html.


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Stress Happens

Stess, now that’s the stuff I don’t like. Here at Lehigh, we are entering our second round of tests, meaning stress is in a high abundance. I actually just had a meeting with Lehigh’s academic success office to get some tips on de-stressing for testing. The director for the Center of Academic Success, Kelly Grim, gave me some great advice on how to get the best results from studying. The main aspect for staying on task is creating a schedule for yourself. Mine looks a little something like this:

Sched

Each color block indicates a different subject/class/meeting/commitment I have during the week, and any blank spaces are “free time.” The bottom section is for homework “due” that day and homework “to do” that day. I have implemented this for the past few weeks and it has helped me to stay on task and on time.

After talking to Kelly, I am going to make a few additions to this schedule. My main issue is that I never feel like I have enough time, so I am adding in time for me to do the things that I want, such as going to the gym, or watching an episode of netflix. Factoring these in ahead of time allows you to do them without feeling bad because in a sense, you planned for them.

Another tip Kelly gave me was creating a study schedule for myself of what I know, what I don’t know, and how much time I have to learn it. You may be thinking, wow, that’s a lot of lists, but in actuality, creating these schedules gives you more power over the situation, allowing your mind to tackle everything that needs to be done more effectively.

Basically, during exam weeks, anything goes. But the main thing to do is to stay on task and to stay positive. Constantly berating yourself isn’t going to help, but binge-watching Greek isn’t going to help either. Good luck on your tests and may the odds be ever in your favor.


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ChemE 31 Second Exam Studying

The second of three quizzes for ChemE is this week. It covers chapters 5 and 6 of the textbook which is based on a lot of chemical concepts. For chapter five it mainly dealt with the ideal gas law, vapor pressure, and Rauolt’s law. Rauolts law connects the vapor pressure of a gas with the mole fraction of the substance in the liquid phase. Chapter 6 revolved a lot around using charts and graphs to find parts of a system.  One of the homework questions involved the the vapor pressure of water at a given temperature. This could be found in chart at the back of the book which lists all of the vapor pressures of water at specific temperatures. Parts of questions from chapter 6 involve phase diagrams which give the percent of moles a substance has at a specific temperature. One question may say that the a liquid started at 200 C and then goes to 130 C and says that a mass has formed along with residue liquid. Using the phase diagram the percent of solid can be found off of it. The best way to study for this quiz is to go over all of the homework questions from chapters 5 and 6. The last  quiz had a lot based on the homework. Both the professor and the teachers assistants have review session that can be very helpful in going over difficult questions. Practice makes perfect especially for this exam.

 


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Engineering Bros as CEOs

In some of my spare time, I actually google chemical engineering news just to keep up with current events. (I know it sounds so lame, but one must stay informed.) Just a few minutes ago I saw the following article from Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/top-ceos-study-engineering-2014-10.

In this article, the Harvard Business review compiled a list of the top 100 CEOs in the world. One individual they specifically mention is the head of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, who grew his company’s value to $140 billion. This is a noteworthy feat obviously, but it is specifically noteworthy because Bezos had a bachelor of Science in computer science and engineering.

According to the article, 24 of the 100 best performing CEOs have a degree in engineering, which is only 5 less than the 29 individuals who have MBAs on that list.

The Harvard Business School dean Nitin Nohria said “Studying engineering gives someone a practical, pragmatic orientation. Engineering also teaches you to try to do things efficiently and eloquently, with reliable outcomes, and with a margin of safety. These are principles that can be deeply important when you think about organizations.”

As I have previously stated in my blogs, I want to have my own makeup line after I spend some time working for a cosmetic company. If we’re being honest, I was always worried that I would not have enough business knowledge to make that dream a reality. That fear is one of the reasons I am pursuing a business minor. After reading this article, I realized there is a large amount of accuracy to what they were saying. I haven’t had a huge amount of exposure to engineering yet, seeing as I am only a sophomore, but from what I have gathered, the education engineers receive is multi-faceted and can be applied many ways.

For example, in my chemical engineering class, I am learning how to create balanced systems and solve for unknown variables with given information by applying past knowledge and making connections between what is given. If we applied this more broadly, I am looking a problem and combining past experience with new information to come up with the best possible solution. The phrase “best possible” can refer to a combination of things, such as: least time consuming, most cost-effective, simplest, or meets the most criteria. Ah yes, now that we generalized it, it sounds to me like that could apply to business decisions as well.

For a second example, let us start on the business side. Business presentations/meetings are a common thing. You can’t just show up and expect to make a presentation happen and convince people to support you. You need to prepare the slides, do your research, run through it a few times so you’re prepared, and THEN give the presentation, all within a strict deadline I might add. Once you win them over, you have to follow up on what you presented. Okay, now engineering. Think about labs! We have three hours to complete a lab that involved pre-work and post-work. I couldn’t successfully complete my labs in that allotted time if I didn’t take the time to read through the procedure a few times and understand the concepts involved in the experiment. Also, afterwards I have to reflect on what I learned, process it, and answer questions about it. The idea of pre-work, work, and post-work is applicable to both business and science.

My main point is something I alluded to in a previous blog, but I will repeat: learning isn’t completely about the lectures and regurgitation on tests, it is also about the broader application. To be a good student means having the ability to make these connections! Be creative and think outside the box.


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Using Chemistry in Chemical Engineering

After the first couple of weeks and the first exam I was surprised at how often chemistry would be used. One of the main reason I wanted to major in Chemical Engineering was to apply chemistry into the concept. I looked into becoming a chemist but decided to go with chemical engineering. One of the basic system questions that comes up a lot is a combustion reaction. Professor McHugh sets up the question with some compound reacts with excess air and then gives us the mole percentage of the products. We have to set up both complete and incomplete combustion reactions ourselves. From there most of the problem is chemistry from finding out the limiting and excess reagent to using that to find the excess amount of air. One of the more recent chapters dealt with gas flow in a system.  Here the volume, pressure, and the temperatures are given but not the moles. To find the moles the Ideal Gas Law PV=nRT is used.  The system is usually given two different pressures or temperatures at the beginning and ending of it. One sort of system involves looking at the phase diagram to decipher the needed information. Chemistry is a useful concept that comes up a lot when solving Chemical Engineering.

 


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My Resume

Hello all. Since we’re in the midst of the Fall hiring season, I decided to upload my resume for y’all to look at. My advice would be that it’s never too late to start building your resume. It doesn’t matter if you’re a incoming freshman or a college upperclassman, and it’s always a good idea to have it ready. It’s also a good way to keep track your progress and activities that you’ve been doing. For my current resume, I’ve included my Co-op experience, Senior design project, and my current job, which is the ChE Department Social Media Assistant.

Yong Jin
School: Box 2412, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, 18015 | 484-707-6626 | yoj215@lehigh.edu
Home: 9 N Church St, Macungie, PA, 18062 | 610-967-5417

Objective
Seeking employment opportunity in the field of Chemical Engineering where my skills are implemented and
enhanced.

Education
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA Expected May 2015
Bachelor of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Related Courses: Physical Polymer Science, Process Control&Simulation, Process Design I, Unit Operations

Related Experience
Infineum Linden Business & Technology Center
Lubes Development West, Mktg & Tech. Co-op Student, Linden, NJ May 2014- August 2014
 Initiated in-depth studies of FTIR data for natural gas engines running over 10,000 hours.
 Laid groundwork for building a reference IR Library of Infineum components.
 Determined competitive marketing positions by exploiting database for North America motor oils.

Infineum Linden Business & Technology Center
Components, Mktg & Tech. Co-op Student, Linden, NJ August 2013- December 2013
 Facilitated the research for understanding the polymer degradation process under oxidative conditions.
 Evaluated chassis dyno vs. bench test parameters and their effects on polymer degradation.
 Examined competitor polymer oxidation behavior in terms of polymer architecture.

Ethylene Oxide Unit Design Team Project
Senior Process Design I, Lehigh University Fall 2014
 Optimized the operation of the EO process to produce 50,000 MT/yr to meet a contract.
 Collaborated with an industry consultant for detailed cost estimate and safety risk assessment.

Social Media Assistant for ChE Department
Iaccoca Computer Lab, Lehigh University September 2011 – Present
 Develop methods to recruit potential Chemical Engineering underclassmen.
 Utilize social media such as WordPress to make impact on future generations of Lehigh students.

Leadership
The Lehigh Chapter of Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers
Founder, Treasurer, and Global Union Rep., Lehigh University April 2014 – Present
 Manage club accounts and maintain accurate record of transactions.
 Establish organization culture while ensuring club activities adhere to the budget.

Southeast Asia at Lehigh
Secretary, Lehigh University August 2014 – Present
 Organize and coordinate campus-wide events to promote unity, culture and diversity.
 Oversee club progress in terms of event success and membership growth.

Activities
AlChE, Lehigh Ultimate Frisbee Team, LUEWB, Snowboard Club, Badminton Club
Skills
Software: Aspen Plus, MATLAB, JMP, MathCad, OMNIC, Microsoft Office
Language: Mandarin Chinese (native)


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Lab vs Lecture

Usually whenever a student mentions lab, it is accompanied by a groan or complain. This is to be expected, considering it is a three hour class where you have pre-work (usually timed quizzes), the actual lab to complete (super stressful), and post-lab work (like the report and follow-up questions.)

Even so, I love labs. I happen to be taking two this semester, one for chemistry and one for physics, and I am a teaching assistant for the first year chemical engineering lab. The thing about a lecture, is that even if you attend, there is no way to guarantee that you pay attention 100% of the time or retain everything that was said. In a lab, it is your job to know, or you could end up with bleached clothes and a solid zero for that report. Those reports can make or break your grade. The structure of having to read the lab prior, carrying it out, and following up on what was seen during that experiment truly solidifies what you have learned in lecture regarding the subject of that particular lab.

For example, my most recent physics lab was on waves, both pulse and standing. Measuring the period and wavelengths of the vibrations of a wire and graphing the wavelength vs. the period is a much more affective way of learning the relationship between these two elements than learning about it in a textbook, mainly because you get a visual representation. Furthermore, looking at the units (meters for the wavelength and seconds for the period), you are able to deduce that the slope of these values is the velocity of the wave. Through this one graph you discover numerous properties and relationships of waves. This also makes a connection to music, such as the affect of tuning an instrument, which was addressed in a post lab question. Not only did we draw the relationship conclusions on our own, but we were able to link them to every day things around us. This is one of the best ways of truly taking ownership of the information being presented to us.

Finally, one of my favorite things about lab, is that you cannot be wrong. I mean, you could potentially mess EVERYTHING up, but as long as you recognize it, address it in your conclusion, and show an understanding for what should have occurred had you not messed everything up, your grade remains virtually unharmed. I would say one of my personal talents is coming up with probable sources of error to discuss in my conclusion. For the lab I mentioned in the last paragraph, I think I discussed at least five.

In conclusion, I would say the best thing about labs is that they are a practical application of what you learn in lecture. Any time you aren’t sure of what to do for a lab, you have a specific topic that you can then read about in your textbook or seek help with. Labs are a great way to improve working with others, time management, and following directions. Does it sometimes get annoying to have 9 hours of my week dedicated to labs? Yes. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t numerous benefits that come with it.

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