Armfield – Innovators in Engineering Education Equipment
and Industrial Food Technology Equipment

Case Study - NEW METHODS

How MIT and Cambridge University


got the web working for chemical engineering students



Students in Cambridge (England) use equipment in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Armfield HT30XC Computer Controlled Heat Exchanger Module has played an important part in the development of computer controlled experiments over the internet described in a paper* published in the USA journal, Chemical Engineering Education.


Armfield HT33
Shell and tube Heat Exchanger

Armfield HT30XC fitted with the HT33
Computer controlled Heat Exchanger Service Module
Full details

It describes how Armfield equipment has played a crucial role in the
development of experiments which students can conduct over the internet.In this case experiments physically based in the chemical engineering department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were successfully carried out by students at Cambridge University in England.

The paper describes how the equipment was set up at MIT using
the HT30XC fitted with the HT33 shell and tube heat exchanger.

The HT30XC is connected to a computer via its USB port and the experimental set-up is controlled and broadcast to the internet by LabVIEW software.A Java based chat capability is included, allowing communication between students at different locations, as well as between students and tutor, during the experimental session.

The set up found a use at Cambridge University in England where the
one-term, 16 lecture course Process Dynamics and Control is taught to second year chemical engineering students.

Space and time restrictions at the university did not permit hands-on laboratory experiments.By using the MIT iLabs heat exchanger (the Armfield HT30XC fitted with the HT33) and operated over the internet students could conduct the experiment. They worked in groups of three or four and logged on to the experiment using a LabVIEW interface and the Java chat facility to communicate with their tutor.



Evaluating the programme,
the authors say:

"The equipment is designed to
run over long periods of time with
minimal maintenance, and once set
up by the MIT staff it could run for
the complete course with only
occasional supervision.

Technically the equipment and
interface performed without fault
for the duration of the course
(ten three-hour sessions) “.



Developing the system

The work of developing the system was funded in part by-

The Cambridge MIT Institute,
the iLabs project of iCampus
an educational research grant to
MIT from Microsoft Corporation (U.S.).


(*Performing Process Control Experiments Across the Atlantic
by Anders Selmer, Mike Goodson, Markus Kraft, Siddhartha Sen, V. Faye McNeil, Barry S Johnston and Clark K Colton. Chemical Engineering Education, Summer 2005,
© Armfield 2005
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