Coffee and Cosmetics: 

Engineering of Consumer Products

CHE 001 - running this SPRING 2024!


1ST year students interested in engineering especially welcome!

(also looking for UG TAs who previously took this course or are ChE/BioE/IBE majors)

Want to hear more about the class? Listen to this podcast by Christine Fennessy interview with Prof. Gilchrist!

(skip the first 13 minutes to get right to the class description by touching the waveform)

Coffee and cosmetics - who doesn't understand these simple things?  The joy of sipping on a freshly brewed coffee.  Even non-coffee drinkers can appreciate the aroma and the joy it brings your colleagues.  For cosmetics, while it is primarily women who are associated with cosmetics, we all use them when defined broadly (deodorant, toothpaste, shaving cream and pharmaceutical -based lotions and creams).  However, neither is that simple...both are billion dollar industries that provide millions of jobs.  And people don't buy bad coffee or cosmetics...or those products that don't make it to the store shelf.

This course will introduce students to engineering of consumer products.  While this course will be a dive into two household categories of products, it will provide general knowledge of how consumer products are engineered using introductory chemical engineering principles.  

Nothing beyond high school math, physics, and chemistry is required for this course, and yet a triple major in math/physics/chemistry falls short of the knowledge needed to fill a mug of coffee or to supply lip balm to a consumer, start to finish.  Principles of scale-up, mass balances, transport, and process design will be introduced in introductory ways.  


Background on teaching during COVID-19 and what led to the design of this course.

(Presented to the Dean's Engineering Advisory Committee 10/2020)