UPLB DChE Alumnus Donates Advanced Learning Tools for Chemical Engineering Students

Written by: BT Magadia
Edited by: MVP Migo-Sumagang
and BG Bataller
Published: February 3, 2021

Los Baños, Laguna – Dhan Lord B. Fortela, PhD, a UPLB DChE Alumnus and currently a faculty member of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, envisions the adoption and integration of new learning platforms to the Process Control course of the UPLB Chemical Engineering curriculum. 

Dr. Dhan Lord B. Fortela, UPLB DChE Alumnus

To jumpstart the initiative, Dr. Fortela donated 12 sets of the TCLab hardware to the Department of Chemical Engineering and is pledging his time to support and train faculties that will be using the TCLab kit in teaching courses.

He said that the approach involves the use of a programmable device called Temperature Control Lab (TCLab), which was created by a professor in Brigham Young University (BYU) and being sold for use as learning tools in universities as well as in process control industries. TCLab is built on an Arduino microcontroller and is designed to demonstrate a feedback control system with its built-in set of heaters and temperature sensors. It reinforces the understanding of dynamic modeling, differences in manual and automatic control, step tests to generate dynamic data, fitting of dynamic data, and PID control and tuning. The kits come with learning modules and exercises and can be programmed using various software platforms, such as Python, MATLAB – giving users flexibility and allowing them to learn programming or coding.

In addition, Dr. Fortela is pitching on the expansion of the department’s computer laboratory and the adoption of open-source software or paid chemical process simulation software. To date, DChE has been utilizing process control softwares and AspenOne softwares for teaching and research, respectively. The addition of TCLab to the courses will certainly capacitate the department in developing stronger process control skills and know-how of its students.