Date of Completion


Embargo Period



chemical engineering, engineering education, game-based learning, membrane separations, rapid prototyping, osmotic power, engineering laboratory

Major Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey McCutcheon

Associate Advisor

Dr. Cheryl Bodnar

Associate Advisor

Dr. Ranjan Srivastava

Associate Advisor

Dr. Kristina Wagstrom

Associate Advisor

Dr. Daniel Burkey

Field of Study

Chemical Engineering


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


This dissertation describes the implementation of several new experiments in the chemical engineering teaching laboratory at the University of Connecticut that were developed to showcase chemical engineering fundamentals in a context that more completely reflects modern chemical engineering. Several experiments themed around membrane desalination were developed to highlight the interplay between fluid mechanics and mass transport in these processes. A third membrane-based experiment shows how salinity gradients can be used to generate power, linking concepts relevant to process thermodynamics and efficiency. Another experiment uses a 3D printer to teach students design considerations for laminar flow reactors, drawing on theory relevant to reaction engineering, mass transport, and fluid mechanics. In addition to these new experiments, the class structure was altered using gamification, which incentivized students to participate in the class beyond simply performing experiments by providing additional ways to engage with the course and with the experiments they were performing. Gamification elements have proven successful in other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classrooms, but had not previously been applied to a chemical engineering laboratory in open literature. The game method was iterated to incorporate elements of game mechanics, narrative, and character progression to further maintain student interest in the class. Similar game-based methods were also used to augment another experiment-based course: a new project-based first year design course. Ultimately, students reacted positively to these changes and participation in optional elements of the laboratory course has increased. To maximize the impact of this work, all experiments and teaching methods are designed to be easily disseminated and customizable to the needs of the instructor, and many experiments that originated as part of this work have been adopted at other institutions.