UCSD CENG 176 Wiki

The Course


Laboratory projects in the areas of applied chemical research and unit operations are essential preparation for careers in chemical engineering. In this course, emphasis is placed on applications of engineering concepts and fundamental solutions to practical engineering and academic research problems. The course objectives are to provide the following to each student:

  • A mechanism whereby students learn to identify, formulate, analyze, and solve a significant problem.
  • A laboratory setting wherein students must assess and exercise process and chemical safety in multidisciplinary experimental projects.
  • A project-oriented setting wherein students perform design and scale-up calculations.
  • Rigorous training in technical communications, both oral and written.
  • An environment which encourages students to work in teams and to improve communication.
  • An experience which instills ethical responsibility in the analysis and interpretation of data.

Academic Integrity

We take academic integrity seriously and expect you to do so as well.  You are encouraged to communicate with other teams and within your own team but all assignments must be completed individually or within your team as appropriate. The minimum penalty for plagiarism and other forms of cheating is a 35 point penalty and referral to the Academic Integrity Office; see The Written Report for a description of what's considered plagiarism in this course.  Our responsibilities to maintain integrity of scholarship, yours as student and ours as instructors, have been outlined in the UCSD Policy on Integrity of Scholarship.

I also place a strong emphasis on professionalism. In my eyes, you've all completed the majority of your coursework, you've got all the major fundamentals in hand, and in about 20 weeks someone is going to pay you a significant sum of money to be an expert in chemical engineering. It's therefore imperative that you be prepared to function well on a team as a professional chemical engineer. Emphasizing professionalism will impact the course in various ways, each of which represent my high expectations of your conduct both as an individual, a team member, and a chemical engineer:

  • I expect you to be safe in the lab.
  • I expect you to treat me, the course staff, and especially your teammates with respect.
  • I expect you to complete your assignments on time and with professional integrity.
  • I expect you to understand and follow instructions whether they're provided verbally, in an e-mail, or on this website.


Where and When We Meet

The course is divided into four sections, each with different lecture and lab periods as summarized in Table 1. Do not switch sections or teams! If your team misses a lab period please contact Dr. Drews.

Table 1. Lab and lecture periods for CENG 176B, Spring 2018. (*) LPCVD simulations are performed in EBU2 203.
Section ID Lecture Lab
A00 TuTh 12:30p-1:50p in WLH 2111 MW 10:00a-12:50p in EBU2 135(*)
B00 TuTh 2:00p-3:20p in WLH 2207 TuTh 10:00a-12:50p in EBU2 135(*)

Don't switch sections or teams! You're all on slightly different schedules and it's not a simple matter of switching out one team member for another.

Additional Logistical Information

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Lab coats are required and can be purchased from the bookstore; we'll provide gloves, safety glasses, and chemical goggles. You must wear closed-toe shoes, long pants (or leggings that cover to the ankle), lab coats, and safety eyewear when in the lab. PPE violations will result in removal from the lab. There are no lab coats or shoes available in the lab for you to borrow.
  • Teams: You've already been assigned to a team; don't switch teams! Discussion among lab teams is encouraged but all assignments must be completed individually or within your team as appropriate.
  • Textbooks: None explicitly because the course content is based on previous courses on chemical engineering fundamentals, engineering handbooks, and literature material.
  • Assignments: Pre-lab questions must be completed and turned in on the first day of the relevant experiment. There are no exams; instead, you'll submit three team reports per quarter and participate in your team's oral presentations for each. Additional assignments are included in Table 2 and will be discussed during lecture periods.
Table 2. Course assignments and their point values.
Assignment 176A (WI) 176B (SP)
Report 1 90 100
Report 2 95 100
Report 3 100 100
Peer Evals 10 25
HW 30 n/a
Total 325 325
  • Grading: Course grades are based primarily on three reports each scored out of a possible 100 points with 50 points of each report assigned to team performance and 50 points assigned to individual performance. Detailed descriptions of individual and team responsibilities will be provided during Week 1 lectures. Each report will be returned with a Written Report Rubric (on our course TritonEd site) and feedback from the evaluator. The letter grades for this course will be based on the average score of the assignments and follow a simple 100-90-80 format with 2 pts near the cutoff for +/- grades (see Table 3 below). If you happen to land exactly on a cutoff grade then you get the higher letter grade.
Table 3. Letter grade rubric.
Letter Score
-A+ 90:92:98:100
-B+ 80:82:88:90
-C+ 70:72:78:80
F 0:70
  • Attendance: Attendance is required for certain portions of the course:
    • Lectures: Attendance is required on the days your team gives a presentation. There's a 10 point penalty to the corresponding report for missing a required lecture.
    • Labs: Attendance is required on the days your team is scheduled to be in the lab. An unexcused lab absence is defined as failing to check in within the first 25 min of the lab period without a valid explanation. Such an absence will result in a 10 point penalty to the corresponding report; three or more unexcused lab absences in one quarter will result in a failing grade for the course. An excused absence is defined a circumstance beyond a student's control which prohibits your timely appearance in the lab. Examples of unacceptable absences include the demands of other courses; the demands of a time-consuming job; the desire to leave town for a vacation, family gathering, or athletic contest; the desire to do well on GRE tests; and the like (these examples are similar to those in UC San Diego's Academic Regulations and Policies).
  • Regrades and Curving: There is no curve for the course and there are no report regrades. However you are encouraged to contact whomever evaluated your report with questions or concerns, and it is up to the individual evaluators to decide if additional points are warranted. Also, if your final grade is within 1 pt of one of the cutoff grades above and your average Peer Evaluations are greater than 90% then you can contact Dr. Drews to discuss options for improving your grade.



We've got three instructors this year; you'll see Dr. Drews both quarters, Dr. Zhang in 176A, and Dr. Chen in 176B (see Table 4 for more details). Dr. Drews (that's me!) handles all the organizational aspects of the course; please direct such questions to me. Drs. Zhang and Chen will evaluate some of your written reports and all of your oral reports.

Please note that none of the faculty have fixed office hours; you'll need to contact them individually to arrange meeting times.

Table 4. Instructors for CENG 176A, Winter 2018.
Instructor Office Email (@ucsd.edu)
Aaron drews-0.jpg Dr. Aaron Drews SME 241E adrews
Zheng chen-0.jpg Dr. Zheng Chen SME 242J zhc199
Liangfang zhang-0.jpg Dr. Liangfang Zhang SME 245C zhang


We've also got two development engineers to help keep the lab running smoothly! They're responsible for maintaining the equipment and troubleshooting if you need help on technical or equipment-related problems, but you're supposed to be the experts on theory by now so they're not going to help with theory (and certainly not with your reports!).

Table 5. Staff for CENG 176B, Spring 2016.
Name Role Email (@eng.ucsd.edu)
Sabine.jpg Sabine Faulhaber Senior Dev.Eng. sfaulhaber
Nick.jpg Nicholas (Nick) Adame Asst. Dev.Eng. niadame

Teaching Assistants

Our TAs will also help you troubleshoot any equipment-related problems, as well as running some of the more expensive analysis procedures, but as with the Staff they're not supposed to help you with theoretical considerations or your reports. I'll say it again: you're the experts now!

Table 6. Teaching assistants for CENG 176B, Spring 2018
Name Section Email (@ucsd.edu)
Akanksha Rawat A00 akrawat
Yimu Chen B00 yic238
Jonathan Tran B00 jtt039
Ericca Speed A00 espeed


Daily Schedule

You can download the Daily Schedule here. It will tell you where you should be and when but you'll need the Rotation Schedule (see Table 9) to figure out what experiment you're supposed to be doing. Note that each course section--A00 and B00--have been subdivided into two sub-sections, A for Teams 1-7 and B for Teams 8-14. Check the top rows of the Daily Schedule to ensure you're looking at the correct schedule.

You cannot show up during other lab periods to work on experiments because we've got a full room during all periods. If you (individually) miss a lab period then you need to work with your team to figure out what you missed and how you can continue to contribute to the report. If you (as a team) miss a lab period then you'll have to do the best you can on the other lab days to make up the deficit.

Your entire team must be present in the lecture room for the entire period on all days during which your team is giving a presentation. You do not need to show up in the lecture room on other presentation days but you're certainly encouraged to do so if you'd like to see what it's like and learn from other teams' mistakes.

Due Dates

Answers to your Pre-Lab questions are due on the first day of each new experiment. Turn in a paper copy of your answer sheets (being careful to follow the formatting requirements described in The Written Report) to the dropbox in EBU II 135 when you come to lab.

Your written reports are due in the appropriate TurnItIn dropbox on TritonEd at the beginning of the relevant presentation lecture period, and your oral presentation files are due to the appropriate TritonEd dropbox 3 hours before the beginning of the relevant lecture period. To enable quick transitions between presenters, we will load all presentations onto a single laptop (you do not need to bring your laptop to the presentations). Table 7 describes the specific times for each report file for each section as well as what you should do if you miss the due date (and the point penalty for doing so).

Table 7. Written and oral report due dates for CENG 176A/B.
Assignment Format Dropbox Due Date Late submission procedure
Pre-Labs Paper EBU 135 Beginning of 1st day of new lab Bring to lab and give to TA. 3 pt penalty if done within first hour; 6 pt penalty thereafter.
Written Reports PDF TurnItIn (via TritonEd) Day of presentation at beginning of lecture Submit to TurnItIn and notify Dr. Drews by e-mail. 6 pt team penalty if 1-15 min late; 10 pt team penalty every 30 min thereafter. 3 pt individual penalty for wrong dropbox.
Oral Presentation Files PDF TritonEd dropbox 3 hr before beginning of presentation 5 pt penalty. Bring presentation on your own laptop. 3 pt penalty for wrong dropbox.

For example, if you're Team 14 in Section B00 and you're wondering when the due dates are for your first report, the Daily Schedule lists your presentation date as 8 Feb at 2:00 pm. Therefore, your oral report file (i.e., your presentation file) is due in the appropriate dropbox before 8 Feb at noon and your written report file is due in the appropriate TurnItIn dropbox before 8 Feb at 2:00 pm.


We have nine experiments in the lab, each with a separate reader who will grade the written reports for that experiment as summarized in Table 8. If you have specific questions or concerns about a particular experiment then the reader is the person to whom you should address those specific questions or concerns. The ID of each experiment is used in the Rotation Schedule in the next section (see Table 9).

Table 8. Experiments available in CENG 176A/B, 2018.
ID Experiment Reader
A Batch Distillation Drews
B Plate Heat Exchanger Chen
C Cooling Tower Drews
D Reverse Osmosis TA
E UV Photocatalysis Chen
F pH Control Drews
X PEM Fuel Cell TA
X Liposome Nanoparticles Chen
X LPCVD Reactor Drews

Rotation Schedule

Use the table below to determine which experiment your team is supposed to complete each rotation. For example, Team 12 will work on Experiment E (UV Photocatalysis) for their first rotation, Experiment D (Reverse Osmosis) for their second rotation, and so on. Note that Rotations 1-3 occur in the Winter quarter (CENG 176A) and Rotations 4-6 occur in the Spring quarter (CENG 176B).

Table 9. Rotation schedule for CENG 176A/B, 2018.
Team Rot. 1 Rot. 2 Rot. 3 Rot. 4 Rot. 5 Rot. 6
1, 8 A X F E D C
2, 9 B A X F E D
3, 10 C B A X F E
4, 11 D C B A X F
5, 12 E D C B A Y
6, 13 F E D C B Z
7, 14 X F E D C B

There are three wildcard characters in this table:

  • X: You can pick from the PEM Fuel Cell, Liposome Nanoparticles, or LPCVD Reactor experiments.
  • Y: Same as X except that you need to coordinate with Z to make sure you're not doing the same experiment.
  • Z: Same as X except that you need to coordinate with Y to make sure you're not doing the same experiment. You can also choose to do Batch Distillation as your last experiment.