Engineering is definitely not a fun thing for a layman. However, for engineers, it means the world to them.
There are more than 7.5 million engineers across the globe. Approx. 1.5 million students clear engineering every year, alone in India.
However, the Irony of the situation is that more than 80% of engineers are unemployed due to a lack of new-age technological skill knowledge.
This picture could be changed with the help of virtual reality labs and VR engineering.
Chemical Engineering is considered one of the most challenging branches of engineering. It is time-consuming and requires meticulous attention to detail.
You may wonder how virtual reality labs where you need to play with different chemicals with proper calculation can be feasible.
Don’t worry, VR engineering is not only feasible, but it also adds a fun element to the learning process.
Virtual Reality Chemistry Labs
Interactive, digital simulations of activities that recreate a physical laboratory in a virtual environment are known as virtual labs. Everything needed in a “real” lab will be available in virtual labs. Students can therefore use the tools, conduct the experiments, and follow the methods employed in chemistry or biochemistry. Other areas of physics, biology, and other academic fields can all benefit significantly from this lab.
Physical labs have a lot of restrictions. At the same time, virtual laboratories give students the option to do anything they want when participating in lab-based learning tasks. Chemical engineering colleges can provide extra assistance to the student with the use of virtual labs, where they can spend time and understand the topic.
A 360-degree virtual reality model makes it simple for engineering students to examine the molecular reactions of various substances. Additionally, this gives pupils the chance to learn multiple molecular structures and bonds while also improving their academic performance. They can use this in their fieldwork after graduation as well.
The virtual environment’s integrated investigation of the real-world process is organized to promote effective, student-centered, and design-centered learning. It aids pupils in learning academic material and gaining valuable skills. This comprehensive framework aids in the growth of problem-solving cognition. This is the solution to any new circumstance that might develop.
Virtual reality in chemical engineering is more appealing because the visual effect is more effective than solitary study in a book.
They may seamlessly perform any experiment with fewer or no accidents with the help of the VR model. That also allows them to observe the physical evolution of their understanding of various chemical compounds.
Additionally, it offers support for the inquiry into the nature and mode of functioning of the necessary equipment.
This is excellent news for students who missed some crucial topics due to various issues. They are welcome to go and learn about the concepts in the virtual lab.
Case Studies for Chemical Engineering Students
- In the chemical engineering department at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Bell and Fogler developed the first virtual reality program for teaching chemical engineering. They created the Vicher virtual reality application (Virtual Chemical Reaction Module). Application designed to instruct students on chemical reactions and reactor construction kinetics. The module comprises a welcome center, two reactor rooms, and two areas for microscopic study. Because of the microscopic regions, the user or learner may be able to see the molecular mechanisms of catalytic reaction.
- Norton and colleagues created an immersive virtual environment to meet the educational needs of both industry and higher education. They created an interface with interactive learning exercises that was built around spherical imagery of an actual working facility. The interface was modeled after BP’s Bulwer Island Refinery’s crude distillation unit near Brisbane, Australia. The immersive platform was made using high-resolution industrial pictures, which are tremendously helpful for learning.
- Chen and Zhou developed a pipeline simulation system based on virtual reality for teaching chemical processes. They recommended a data-driven simulation strategy for the pipeline system. They also discussed determining the process path for a network of pipelines that transfer fluids. This technology enhances the learning experience by enabling the process operators to view the effects of fluid flow in addition to the 3D virtual image of the pipeline system. It also lets the process operators view the process route modification in a real-time virtual environment.
Benefits of VR in chemical engineering
VR has made strides in the education industry. It is becoming a more attractive and promising future technology that is more useful than traditional teaching methods. Students gain an understanding of the practical aspects of the field of chemical engineering by integrating VR technology into their coursework.
- It is simpler to reproduce actual chemical plants or their processes using VR. These models also offer a fantastic 3D picture that helps the student comprehend.
- Many students failed to complete crucial lab exercises, leaving them unable to comprehend the essential elements. To gain a deeper understanding, they can revisit and even reproduce the experiment with the aid of virtual labs.
- Virtual reality (VR) can close numerous gaps in traditional education. By presenting the best cases in the classroom and teaching students how to use different tools, it has the ability to improve things.
- Furthermore, some studies could lead to material and facility wear and tear, both of which raise the cost of the experiment. Here, virtual reality saves the day.
- With virtual reality, you may carry out a plethora of experiments and case studies to boost your abilities and productivity.
- An excellent teaching strategy is combining cutting-edge virtual and physical experiments to help students develop their skills.
In chemical engineering education, virtual reality is mostly employed as a visualisation platform for viewing 3D models of process plants. To improve the immersive learning experience, these technologies can be supplemented by mathematical models in addition to visualisation.
Virtual reality is a future technology with a wide range of applications, as shown by the numerous tests and cases available. It makes a lot of promises in terms of benefits for higher education and engineering. It guarantees much better outcomes than conventional instruction and offers many experimentation opportunities.
Additionally, VR has shown to be a stress reducer so that students can anticipate more excellent learning with improved cognitive growth.
Undoubtedly, it is possible to achieve superior outcomes by integrating VR and AR techniques with other cutting-edge technologies frequently used in other application domains. As a result, virtual reality labs and VR engineering are critical technologies in higher education and civil engineering.