Filtered CHCHE Courses (2023-24)
This course will introduce the Chemical Engineering discipline, career options and research opportunities through lectures and panel discussions by faculty and alumni. Graded pass/fail.
Introduction to the solution of engineering problems through the use of the computer. Elementary programming in Python is taught, and applied to solving chemical engineering problems in data analysis, process simulation, and optimization. No previous knowledge of computer programming is assumed.
Equilibrium staged separations. Membrane separations. Absorption. Distillation. Liquid-liquid extraction. Introduction to mass transfer.
A comprehensive treatment of classical thermodynamics with engineering and chemical applications. First and second laws. Applications to closed and open systems. Equations of state. Thermochemical calculations. Properties of real fluids. Power generation and refrigeration cycles. Multicomponent systems, excess properties, fugacities, activity coefficients, and models of nonideal solutions. Chemical potential. Phase and chemical reaction equilibria.
Special problems or courses arranged to meet the emerging needs of undergraduate students. Topics have included AIChE's annual Chem-E-Car Competition. May be repeated for credit, as content may vary. Grading scheme at instructor's discretion.
Research in chemical engineering offered as an elective in any term. Graded pass/fail.
Training in the writing of scientific research papers for chemists and chemical engineers. Fulfills the Institute scientific writing requirement.
Elements of chemical kinetics and chemically reacting systems. Homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. Chemical reactor analysis.
A rigorous development of the basic differential equations of conservation of momentum, energy, and mass in fluid systems. Solution of problems involving fluid flow, heat transfer, and mass transfer.
An introduction to the use of social media for scientific communication. Social media platforms are discussed in the context of their use to professionally engage scientific communities and general audiences. Topics will include ethics, privacy, reputation management, ownership and the law, and will focus on the use and impact of social media for personal and professional career development. Lectures will include presentations by invited experts in various specialties, a number of whom will have worldwide recognition. Not offered 2023-24.
Examines the Earth's resources including fresh water, nitrogen, carbon and other biogeochemical cycles that impose planetary constraints on engineering; systems approaches to sustainable development goals; fossil fuel formation, chemical composition, production and use; engineering challenges and opportunities in decarbonizing energy, transportation and industry; global flows of critical elements used in zero-carbon energy systems; food-water-energy nexus; analysis of regional and local systems to model effects of human activities on air, water and soil.
This course combines three parts. First, it will cover fundamental aspects of kinetics, mass-transport, and fluid physics that are relevant to microfluidic systems. Second, it will provide an understanding of how new technologies are invented and reduced to practice. Finally, students in the course will work together to design microfluidic systems that address challenges in Global Health, with an emphasis on students' inventive contributions and creativity. Students will be encouraged and helped, but not required, to develop their inventions further by working with OTT and entrepreneurial resources on campus. Participants in this course benefit from enrollment of students with diverse backgrounds and interests. For chemical engineers, suggested but not required courses are ChE 101 (Chemical Reaction Engineering) and ChE 103 abc (Transport Phenomena). Students are encouraged to contact the instructor to discuss enrollment.
Principles and applications of solid state NMR spectroscopy will be addressed with focus on structure and dynamics characterization of organic and inorganic solids. NMR characterization methods in the areas of heterogeneous catalysts, batteries, energy storage materials, etc. will be reviewed. More specific topics include NMR methods in solid state such as magic angle spinning (MAS), cross-polarization (CP), NMR of quadrupole nuclei, multiple pulse and multi-dimensional solid state NMR experiments, dynamics NMR. Hands-on experience will be provided via separate laboratory sessions using solid NMR spectrometers at Caltech Solid State NMR facility.
Introduction into the gas-phase processing techniques used in the fabrication of electronic materials and devices. Kinetic theory of gases. Surface chemistry and gas-surface interaction dynamics. Film deposition techniques: physical and chemical vapor deposition, atomic layer epitaxy, liquid-phase epitaxy, molecular beam epitaxy. Introduction into plasmas and their role in patterned etching and layer deposition. Charging damage during plasma processing. Determination of key parameters that control the ion energy and flux to the wafer surface. Not offered 2023-24.
The properties and photoelectrochemistry of semiconductors and semiconductor/liquid junction solar cells will be discussed. Topics include optical and electronic properties of semiconductors; electronic properties of semiconductor junctions with metals, liquids, and other semiconductors, in the dark and under illumination, with emphasis on semiconductor/liquid junctions in aqueous and nonaqueous media. Problems currently facing semiconductor/liquid junctions and practical applications of these systems will be highlighted. Part a not offered 2023-24.
Student groups complete a one-term, data-science project that addresses an instructor-approved chemical engineering challenge. The project may be an original research idea; related to work by a research group at the Institute; an entry in a relevant national/regional contest; a response to an industry relationship; or other meaningful opportunity. There is no lecture, but students participate in weekly progress updates. A student may not select a project too similar to research completed to fulfill requirements for ChE 80 or ChE 90 abc.
An introduction to the chemistry of polymers, including synthetic methods and mechanisms of macromolecule formation, characterization techniques, reactivity, and applications. Not offered 2023-24.
An introduction to the physics that govern the structure and dynamics of polymeric liquids, and to the physical basis of characterization methods used in polymer science. The course emphasizes the scaling aspects of the various physical properties. Topics include conformation of a single polymer, a chain under different solvent conditions; dilute and semi-dilute solutions; thermodynamics of polymer blends and block copolymers; polyelectrolytes; rubber elasticity; polymer gels; linear viscoelasticity of polymer solutions and melts. Not offered 2023-24.
The foundations of heat, mass, and momentum transfer for single and multiphase fluids will be developed. Governing differential equations; laminar flow of incompressible fluids at low and high Reynolds numbers; forced and free convective heat and mass transfer, diffusion, and dispersion. Emphasis will be placed on physical understanding, scaling, and formulation and solution of boundary-value problems. Applied mathematical techniques will be developed and used throughout the course.
Survey of heterogeneous reactions on metal and oxide catalysts. Langmuir-Hinshelwood versus Eley-Rideal reaction mechanisms. Reaction, diffusion, and heat transfer in heterogeneous catalytic systems. Characterization of porous catalysts.
Discussion of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalytic reactions, with emphasis on the relationships between the two areas and their role in energy problems. Topics include catalysis by metals, metal oxides, zeolites, and soluble metal complexes; utilization of hydrocarbon resources; and catalytic applications in alternative energy approaches.
Fundamentals of aerosol physics and chemistry; aerodynamics and diffusion of aerosol particles; condensation and evaporation; thermodynamics of particulate systems; nucleation; coagulation; particle size distributions; optics of small particles. Offered 2023-24.
The course introduces rational design and evolutionary methods for engineering functional protein and nucleic acid systems. Rational design topics include molecular modeling, positive and negative design paradigms, simulation and optimization of equilibrium and kinetic properties, design of catalysts, sensors, motors, and circuits. Evolutionary design topics include evolutionary mechanisms and tradeoffs, fitness landscapes and directed evolution of proteins. Some assignments require programming (Python is the language of instruction).
An introduction to the fundamentals and simple applications of statistical thermodynamics. Foundation of statistical mechanics; partition functions for various ensembles and their connection to thermodynamics; fluctuations; noninteracting quantum and classical gases; heat capacity of solids; adsorption; phase transitions and order parameters; linear response theory; structure of classical fluids; computer simulation methods.
An advanced course emphasizing the conceptual structure of modern thermodynamics and its applications. Review of the laws of thermodynamics; thermodynamic potentials and Legendre transform; equilibrium and stability conditions; metastability and phase separation kinetics; thermodynamics of single-component fluid and binary mixtures; models for solutions; phase and chemical equilibria; surface and interface thermodynamics; electrolytes and polymeric liquids.
May be repeated for credit. Advanced problems in heat, mass, and momentum transfer. Introduction to mechanics of complex fluids; physicochemical hydrodynamics; microstructured fluids; colloidal dispersions and active matter. Other topics may be discussed depending on class needs and interests. Not offered 2023-24.
Climate change has already begun to impact life on the planet, and will continue in the coming decades. This class will explore particular causes and impacts of climate change, technologies to mitigate or adapt to those impacts, and the economic and social costs associated with them - particular focus will be paid to distributional issues, environmental and racial justice and equity intersections. The course will consist of 3-4 topical modules, each focused on a specific impact or sector (e.g. the electricity or transportation sector, climate impacts of food and agriculture, increasing fires and floods). Each module will contain lectures/content on the associated climate science background, engineering/technological developments to combat the issue, and an exploration of the economics and the inequities that exacerbate the situation, followed by group discussion and synthesis of the different perspectives. Not offered 2023-24.
This course will cover the basic principles of biological and medical imaging technologies including magnetic resonance, ultrasound, nuclear imaging, fluorescence, bioluminescence and photoacoustics, and the design of chemical and biological probes to obtain molecular information about living systems using these modalities. Topics will include nuclear spin behavior, sound wave propagation, radioactive decay, photon absorption and scattering, spatial encoding, image reconstruction, statistical analysis, and molecular contrast mechanisms. The design of molecular imaging agents for biomarker detection, cell tracking, and dynamic imaging of cellular signals will be analyzed in terms of detection limits, kinetics, and biological effects. Participants in the course will develop proposals for new molecular imaging agents for applications such as functional brain imaging, cancer diagnosis, and cell therapy. Not offered 2023-24
Special courses of readings or laboratory instruction. The student should consult a member of the faculty and prepare a definite program of reading, computation, theory and/or experiment. The student must submit a summary of progress at midterm and, at the end of the quarter, a final assignment designed in consultation with the instructor. This course may be credited only once. Grading: either grades or pass/fail, as arranged with the instructor.