Engineers enhance separation thesis

A pair of California Baptist University undergraduate students from the Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering presented a revised and improved thesis on non-Newtonian fluid separation at the 2015 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City.

Steffano Oyanader, sophomore chemical engineering major, and Stephen Dueck, junior chemical engineering major, worked tirelessly on the project for the past year after the team discovered a hole in a previous thesis on the topic of fluid separation from 2008.

The team noticed the original work had been simplified to the point that it discarded a crucial variable necessary for calculating the formula in a cylindrical model, instead of the
original Cartesian, or two-dimensional, model.

“It’s cutting edge in an area that has not been well explored,” Dueck said. “I have always wanted to participate in meaningful research that results in scientific breakthrough, which is essentially what we are doing.”

The duo’s revised work sought to find the lost value and in turn apply it to their own concept of a machine capable of separating the different substances that compose blood for further laboratory analysis such as red  and white blood cells and blood plasma.

“Right now, it is a very rough sketch of what the theory could be,” Oyanader said. “Theoretically speaking, we have just claimed ‘this is what should happen with the math.’”

At the conference, the pair brought a “skeleton” 3-D model printed by Josh Park, sophomore biomedical engineering major, to display what the prototype could look like in the future of the team’s project.

Their task at the conference was to present their findings in the graduate and post-graduate field to hundreds of fellow  chemical engineers, many of whom, as Oyanader said have been professionals in their line of work for more than 15 years.

“We plan to pick up where we left off next semester, since there is still a lot of work to be done,” Dueck said. “We are even thinking about prototyping the apparatus, which would be very exciting.”

About Randy Plavajka

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