ENE806 - Environmental Engineering Process Laboratory

Syllabus: Spring Semester 2024


COURSE OBJECTIVE: At the end of this environmental engineering process lab course you will be able to formulate hypotheses related to environmental engineering processes of medium complexity, plan and design experiments, collect and analyze data to test the formulated hypotheses, use/validate mathematical models capable of describing the processes, and draw conclusions with due attention to statistical power and quality of data. You will also gain considerable experience in making presentations and writing technical reports. 

EXPERIMENTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROCESSES: We have a total of 14 weeks during which we have planned two experiments, each ranging from 4 to 8 weeks. The first set of experiments listed under Experiment I below (you are expected to choose only one from this set of experiments) is focused on physico-chemical processes important to environmental engineers. The second experiment, although constrained with respect to the setup and analytical techniques used, is open-ended. Using the experimental set-up and analytical techniques, you are expected to propose a hypothesis, carry out the required experiment to test it, collect data and analyze it, and based on the results, either prove or disprove the proposed hypothesis.  

Experiment 1

One experiment from the list below - to be selected and completed by each group in aproximately 4-6 weeks

At the start of Experiment 1, we will form teams of 2 students per group. Your choice is fine which will remain the same for subsequent experiment(s). Each team will select an experiment from the list of experiments below. Additional consideration e.g., availability of experimental set-ups, equipment, and probes may be necessary before making the final selection 

  1. Oxygen Transfer Efficiency (KLa) (2007)
  2. Performance of Plug Flow Reactors(2007) and CSTRs in Series(2007, 2010)
  3. Water Softening (2007a, 2007b) and Color Removal by Coagulation/Flocculation (2007a, 2007b)
  4. Membrane Filtration (2006), P-removal using membrane filtration (2011)

Experiment 2

An experiment designed by you involving anaerobic digestion in microcosms; 6-8 weeks

For the second experiment, you have the option to design your own experiment in consultation with me focusing on the anaerobic digestion process studied in microcosms. You should start your discussions early so that if new chemicals are needed, they can be ordered and received while you are preparing the report of the previous experiment. Critical aspects of this experiment are proposing a hypothesis, setting up the experiment, and testing the hypothesis to prove/disprove it. Besides the routine set of equipment (pH meter, HACH COD digestion apparatus and spectrophotometer, Turbidimeter, etc.), this experiment will also provide you with an opportunity to learn one or more of the following analytical techniques: . 

  1. Gas Chromatography (GC; for measuring methane)
  2. High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC; for measuring volatile fatty acids)
  3. Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR; for measuring functions and organisms)


In general, the approach for each experiment will involve Steps A through F: A). Formulate a hypothesis based on literature review conducted by you for a given process/experiment, B). Specify the parameters to be measured/data to be collected to test the hypothesis, C). Extract the needed experimental data from literature or collect it experimentally in the lab, D). Analyze the collected data to test the formulated hypothesis with due attention given to statistics, E). Present the overall results documenting the hypothesis, parameters measured, and the outcome, and F). Prepare and submit a final technical report.


Your attendance and work on the experiments is expected during lab hours.

If you plan to spend additional time outside the class hour when Joseph is not present in the lab, please arrange at least one additional team/lab member to be present. At the start of class time (1:50 PM on Mon and Wed), we will meet for 15- to 30-min (initially this may take more time) for planning/Q&A/discussion of progress. The remaining time will be used for conducting the experiments.


All lab experiments must be conducted in accordance with the safety rules implemented by the Environmental Health and Safety at MSU. Training modules are available at https://ehs.msu.edu/ When the face-to-face lab begins, Joseph Nguyen will show you the laboratory, provide the basic laboratory safety training, and get you a key to the laboratory (which must be returned at the end of this course). If you have already completed these as part of your graduate research lab work, the safety training may be waived but site-specific training will still be necessary. For your own safety and the safety of others, please also make sure that you do not work alone in the lab during evenings. Joseph will also help you get supplies and equipment that are available for use in all your experiments and help you with any issues related to finding lab equipment, components, and setting up the experiments.


Syed A. Hashsham, Professor
Email: hashsham@egr.msu.edu
Phone: (517) 355 8241


Joseph Nguyen, Office: 3578A Engineering Building
Email: nguyenj@egr.msu.edu
Phone: (517) 353-0688