"One of the mantras of the department is 'Results, not excuses.' I expect my students to pursue their work with academic rigor, and do a quality work of which they can be proud."
Professor of chemical engineering
Jim Maneval set out for college with plans to become a forest ranger, but soon found his path taking a turn.
"When I started studying the properties of wood," says Maneval, "I realized what I was really interested in were the chemicals you could make from wood. When I checked out the courses I needed to take to learn more about this area, I realized it would make more sense for me to get a chemical engineering degree. And here I am."
During his more than two decades at Bucknell he has taught a wide range of courses within his department, with a strong emphasis in chemical process design. "When you build a chemical plant, someone has to determine the best way to put it together," says Maneval. "Someone has to decide the most sensible course that will take chemicals from a raw state to a finished product, and process design teaches how to design the necessary equipment and the sequence of operations."
Working closely with small groups of students, Maneval's aim is to help students understand the complexities of project management. Students get the opportunity to work on projects with real-world applications, having recently worked, for example, on a project to design a burner for the Army Corps of Engineers and on a project to improve yeast performance at a local brewery. Maneval feels it is important for the students to learn how to work around problems as they arise. He says, "Instilling the sense that 'You can do it' involves being able to get around an unexpected 'wall' in the design process. One of the mantras of the department is 'Results, not excuses.' I expect my students to pursue their work with academic rigor, and do a quality work of which they can be proud."
Additionally, his research involves nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), the physical underpinning of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). "When materials are put together, they can display aspects of their properties we might not have seen otherwise. NMR allows you to watch processes and properties of interest to effective industrial manufacture." Maneval and his students use Bucknell's 600 MHz NMR spectrometer for much of this work. The University is one of only three or four undergraduate institutions in the nation that offers NMR technology of this caliber. "Subsequently, we get a better understanding of the materials we work with and give students an opportunity to use and learn from world-class laboratory systems," he says.
Posted October 2012