An Adaptable and Transferrable Project Based on a Heart-lung Machine Design Challenge

Document Type

Conference Paper

Version Deposited

None (link only)

Publication Date

June 2016

Conference Name

ASEE 123rd Annual Conference & Exposition


A heart-lung machine is used to take over the function of the heart and lungs during a surgical procedure in which the heart must be stopped. This machine makes possible a variety of lifesaving surgeries such as heart transplants, bypass surgery, and valve replacement. Blood oxygenators are used in more than one million procedures annually, and their total market is over $500 million per year. This paper describes how a heart-lung machine design challenge was used in four different educational contexts: high school science courses in the United States, a multidisciplinary first year engineering course at a university in the United States, a second year chemical & bioprocess engineering course at a university in Ireland, and an upper level chemical engineering core course (Transport II). The design challenge required students to design, build, and test a heart-lung machine to simulate the performance of a clinical cardiopulmonary bypass system. The project proved to be adaptable and transferrable to different contexts with different learning objectives, assessment, instructional strategy, student population, and details of implementation.


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