Jacob Blahut, '15, now a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, visited SLS on April 16 to present his senior design project to Dr. Anthony DeCaria's honors chemistry students.
Blahut — a former student of Dr. DeCaria — was joined by his project partners Luke Barone and Farhan Ahmed, all chemical engineering majors at Pitt, to present their project, "Outreach: Kinetics and Engineering" to students in our Kay Murdy Media Center. The three discussed the basics of kinetic energy and chemical reactions with students while their professor watched over to critique the required project.
Students took part in a hands-on activity where they timed the duration it took Alka Seltzer tablets to dissolve in room temperature water as a whole tablet, a broken tablet, and a crushed tablet. The students found that the crushed/ground tablet dissolved fastest due to increased surface area, where the whole tablet took the longest. Blahut and his partners quizzed SLS students on how the chemical reaction would change if the water was cold or hot, and asked them to come up with different scenarios that would alter the reaction (i.e. adding more Alka Seltzer to create a more concentrated reaction).
Students also heard about the chemical engineering program at the University of Pittsburgh, and what various career paths a degree in chemical engineering can lead to.