Major Qualifying Project

The Major Qualifying Project (MQP) allows students to apply chemical engineering principles to a real-world problem. It should demonstrate application of the skills, methods, and knowledge of the discipline to solve a problem of the type encountered at the professional level. Thus, it is a usually accomplished during a student's senior year, culminating in a project report and poster on Project Presentation Day.

Each project team, made up of one to four (usually three) students, works closely with one or more faculty advisors. Projects can be done on-campus in a professor's research laboratory or off-campus, within a government lab, or in collaboration with an industrial partner. Some are even done abroad. They may be student-, faculty-, or industrial partner-initiated. Students attack a problem, formulate a strategy, seek a solution, and deliver both oral and written reports on their results.

MQP activities encompass the following:

  • Research, development, application, and design
  • Analysis or synthesis
  • Are experimental or theoretical
  • Emphasis on a particular concentration in a major or combine aspects of several subareas.

Recently Completed Major Qualifying Projects

Synthesis of CdTe Quantum Dots and Their Use in Environmental Monitoring

Lauren Swalec, ‘11
Advisors: Professors David DiBiasio and Hong Susan Zhou
Sponsor: School of Environmental Science & Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Dr. Huisheng Zhuang

An aqueous synthesis method was developed for the successful production of water-soluble CdTe quantum dots capped with thioglycolic acid and L-cysteine. Through evaluation of absorption and fluorescence spectrums as well as fluorescent quantum yield, it was found that the best ratio of the two buffers was TGA:L-cys = 1:1. This ratio produces quantum dots with high fluorescent intensity and a large fluorescent wavelength range with the potential to continue growing. The quantum dots produced were found to have possible application in the field of environmental monitoring.

Synthesis of Silicalite-1 Aggregate

Chelsey E. Anderson, ’11; Nina R. Bass, ’11; and Amanda Blanche Clark, ‘11
Advisor: Professor Robert Thompson

The main objective of this project was to synthesize and aggregate larger Silicalite-1 crystals in one step that can eliminate the use of binders. A series of experiments was performed. First, the importance of silica in the synthesizing solution was investigated. Next, the time allowed for the bead to soak in the solution was increased. Then, a different type of silica bead was tested. Lastly, the silica to structure directing agent ratio was decreased.

The main findings of these experiments were: The presence of silica in the solution provided more evenly dispersed growth of crystals on the bead; the soaking time had little effect on the outcome of the synthesis; and an increase in structure directing agent led to more nucleation sites, which covered the bead more uniformly with crystals.

Dispersants for Crude Oil Spills: Dispersant Behavior Studies

Rebecca C. Diemand, '11, and Kareem W. Francis, ‘11
Advisor: Professors Nikolaos Kazantzis and John Bergendahl

The purpose of this study was to experimentally investigate the behavior of the dispersant employed in cleanup efforts to the Gulf of Mexico affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, namely COREXIT 9500A174. Laboratory results provide insight into the characteristics of the dispersant and shed light onto some unexpected observations. Analysis of the data and observations formed several conclusions pertaining to the properties of the dispersant itself, as well as the methods of application involved in the cleanup efforts.