INNOVATION DAY 2022 | chemical engineering

Capstone instructor

Chuck Coronella
Chuck Coronella

The 2022 Senior Capstone course in chemical engineering was taught by Chuck Coronella. To learn more about the chemical engineering projects, please email Chuck Coronella.

About the department

Our undergraduate programs offer you the opportunity to work closely with our research-active faculty. Small class sizes and undergraduate research opportunities help you get to know your professors and provide opportunities to get hands-on research experience. We offer Nevada's only undergraduate degree program in chemical engineering and materials science and engineering. Visit the Department of Chemical & Materials Science Engineering

Explore the projects

  • CHE-1 (Reusable Packaging)

    Team: Bryce Gjersing, Kurt Jackson, Kiara Steinhorst, Kasen Taylor

    Team Ultra Wash was tasked with creating a process for our client to reuse the packaging for shipping high-purity chemicals. Our client’s product is used in the semiconductor industry, so high purity is of utmost importance to maintain precision and limit scrap materials. The semiconductor industry is responsible for creating the parts in devices we use every day, so making their manufacturing more sustainable will help decrease waste. Due to our client’s need for extremely low levels of impurities, we faced unique challenges when designing our solution. In the end, we were able to use the engineering design process to create a four-step, cyclical process that allows our client to save money and reuse their packaging materials.

    CHE-01 Lighting Talk

  • CHE-02 (Ethylene Glycol Recovery from Used Motor Oil)

    Team: William Boitano, Adrian Hastings, Valentino Jaganjac, Harriet MacNevin

    The goal of our project was to find the parameters for an ethylene glycol recovery process. When Safety Kleen recovers its used motor oil, a byproduct is wastewater containing ethylene glycol. The unit for water separation and glycol recovery is operated as a batch distillation column. ChemCAD software was utilized to design a simulation that would provide the needed parameters. Our project aims to optimize the process to produce a marketable ethylene glycol product with a purity upwards of 96% before Safety Kleen completes the installation of the recovery unit.

    CHE-02 Lighting Talk

  • CHE-03 (Protein Production)

    Team: Alyssa Richmond, Zach Cronin, Alyssa Ferrer, William Michener

    Our Capstone group explains why protein production and bioprocessing is important in real world applications. Protein deficiencies can result in blood disorders, but through bioprocessing, the effects of naturally occurring illnesses can be diminished and corrected. Protein generation is advantageous for the treatment of illnesses and for conducting research. We correlate the production of a non-specific protein with our in-lab experience producing Matrix Metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) proteins with Sarmazdeh Lab. Throughout our Capstone project, we conducted scientific research and became more familiar with the bioprocessing field.

    CHE-03 Lighting Talk

  • CHE-04 (Brain Microdialysis)

    Team: Jon Jay Bemel, PJ Hall, Trevor Haub, Dylan Obrochta

    The Brain Microdialysis Project is focused towards establishing new methods for analyzing microdialysis drug diffusion in a synthetically developed human brain. Our first task was to create an economical, efficient, and reproducible procedure for fabricating microdialysis probes. Effectiveness of probes at delivering model drugs into the brain is tested by optimizing slicing and imaging techniques for the synthetic brain model and designing streamlined techniques for retrieving and analyzing data. The long-term goal is to therefore improve patient care and inevitably treat patients with neurological conditions, including brain tumors.

    CHE-04 Lighting Talk

  • CHE-05 (Spray Dryer)

    Team: Joseph Caspers, Marco Hernandez, Briana Somma, Jerren Bailey

    The first goal of our chemical engineering Capstone project for 2022 was to design an open-loop spray dryer to turn a liquid slurry, consisting of milk and water, into dry milk particles. The second goal was to design a closed-loop spray dryer to produce dried alumina oxide powder from a mixture of acetone and alumina. A spray dryer is a type of unit operation used in multiple industries to create dried powders. It uses hot air and a series of equipment to produce the dry powder. In order for us to begin the design process, we had to individually design each component by conducting a series of calculations to find specific parameters. The components used for both systems were a heat exchanger, an atomizer, drying chamber, cyclone, baghouse filter and a compressor. The closed-loop system needed an additional component, a condenser, to properly capture the used acetone. Equations and applications used in the chemical engineering discipline were used to find the height of the drying chamber, pressure drop through the entire system, temperatures and flow rates of several streams, and power ratings. With these calculated values, we were able to find the difference between the two systems and perform a cost analysis to determine the total cost of each design.

    CHE-05 Lighting Talk

  • CHE-06 (Sustainable Manure Management)

    Team: Cordel Bever, Jessica Marquez, Gabriela Quiles, Jose Cardenas

    Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) provide an economical means to raise a large volume of cattle in a small or otherwise infertile plot of land. However, manure management is becoming increasingly difficult, as there are few uses for such large quantities of manure. The current method involves pretreating the manure in lagoons, which produce harmful greenhouse gases. Then, it is large amounts of the treated manure are applied to fields, where it is subject to runoff and leaching, oversaturating the environment with nutrients and causing further environmental harm. So, as an alternative, a chemical process which treats the manure with minimal air pollution is proposed to pretreat the manure and convert it into a granulated fertilizer. Additionally, a byproduct of the reaction is a coal-like substance which exhibits similar properties to wood pellets and can be used as a carbon-neutral energy source.

    CHE-06 Lighting Talk

  • CHE-07 (Design of an Absorption Column)

    Team: Adam Camacho, Seth Gack, Trever Gayer, Mateo Davis

    The goal of our project is to design an absorption column and an accompanying experiment. Absorption is the transferral of an impurity from the gas phase to the liquid phase. The purpose of doing this would be to remove an unwanted component from a gas stream. If successful, this experiment will be installed in the Chemical Engineering Unit Operations Laboratory at University of Nevada, Reno. In the experiment, students will utilize our designed absorption column to extract carbon dioxide from air using water and sodium hydroxide. To achieve this, we designed the column based on various constraints and created an experimental procedure. The constraints surrounding the design of the absorption column are based on specifications of the column, chemicals we have access to, waste management and the limitations of the facilities already in place. Once a column design and flow rates were determined from our constraints, the absorption process was modeled using mathematical equations and engineering principles. The flow rates then were changed within our constraints such that an experimentally measurable CO2 absorption was obtained from our modeling. From our design, a final proposal was prepared, summarizing all equipment to be purchased and a procedure to be followed by the students for the lab.

    CHE-07 Lighting Talk