LAYTON – University of Utah chemical engineering students lit up one of the science classrooms at Northridge High School on Monday with fire swirling up into a tornado formation, making liquid boil using only the heat from their hands, creating waves in by rubbing their hands on the handles of a water bowl, and making smoke circles with a garbage can.

With each experiment, the students were asked how to explain the chemical reactions that occur.

“These modules use cool physics, fluid dynamics, and heat transfer. By understanding the principles in these experiences we can use them to help design better processes, such as making fuel more efficient,” University of Utah PhD student Kyle Branch said.

Branch didn’t even know chemical engineering existed when he was in high school, but thanks to his AP chemistry teacher who suggested Branch look into the possibility, it became a reality. “In chemical engineering, we have the opportunity for a lot of hands-on opportunities and I can go into something that can help change the world,” Branch said.

University of Utah chemical engineering student Katherine Roberts explained to the students how one of their chemical engineering classes is trying to make renewable energy sources using algae.

The college students are a part of an outreach group that travels around Top of Utah showing students the possibilities in chemical engineering.

“I like the idea of showing kids that this is a possibility, and they have the potential – they just need to realize it is available,” University of Utah chemical engineering students Collin Hoggard said. “Before I decided what I wanted to be, I didn’t even know this existed until one of my teachers told me all of the great things chemical engineers get to do. The same is probably true for a lot of high school students.”

Read this full article in the Standard Examiner.