Classroom Pass Reacts to Thermodynamics Lab

Web Note: Classroom Pass is an Iowa Now project that sent teams of writers, photographers, and videographers to 15 classes on Wednesday, Oct. 22, to showcase the breadth and strength of the University of Iowa's academic offerings for undergraduates as well as its dynamic faculty and state-of-the-art facilities.

Gary into seven teams of three students each, and he is in constant motion. He begins his answers with such suggestions as “You might want to try this.”

He explains, “I don’t give full directions. I want students to figure it out.”

Today’s focus in Thermodynamics/Transport Lab is stirring and frictional loss.

Thermodynamic and transport processes include heat transfer used in such activities as an oven heating your food. Aurand tells a visitor to the lab that heat principles apply to many industrial processes.

“For example,“ he says, “when can you put a lid on a pot and leave it, and when do you have to stand there and stir?

“Sometimes things need to be stirred, whether it’s a reaction to make biodiesel out of soybean oil, a fermentation process to make the enzymes that go in your laundry detergent, or mixing that pot on the stove,” he says. “Chemical engineering students investigate the most effective way to provide agitation to achieve the required mixing at the lowest equipment and energy costs.

“Also, chemical engineering students investigate frictional losses in pipes. If you have ever been to a chemical plant, refinery, or water treatment facility, or if you have ever looked under your sink, you have seen pipes. Engineers design the piping systems that bring water to your tap and natural gas to your furnace,” he says.

Because a large portion of the course consists of writing and presentation, Aurand videotapes student presentations for later student and instructor review.

“Students have to be able to communicate their work to others,” he says. “If they don’t know how to communicate, then they won’t get promoted at work.”

To watch the video, go to