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A Capstone and Design Project on Process Automation: Technical Details and Student Learning

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session


Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Michael Ghossein

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My name is Michael Ghossein I have a Bachelors Degree in Control and Instrumentation Engineering Technology from the University of Houston - Downtown. I currently work at Shell Deer Park as a Process Operator (5 years experience). I intend to use my education to start a career in Controls and Instrumentation.

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Linda M. DeLosSantos University of Houston, Downtown


Vassilios Tzouanas University of Houston, Downtown

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Vassilios Tzouanas is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Technology at the University of Houston – Downtown, in Houston, Texas. He also serves as assistant department chairman. He received all his degrees in chemical engineering and obtained his Ph.D. from Lehigh University. He has worked in the industry for 19 years where he held technical and management positions with major operating companies as well as process control technology development companies. Since 2010, he has been with UHD where he teaches university courses in process control, modeling and simulation, process design and operation, applied thermodynamics and heat transfer, and numerical methods. Dr. Tzouanas research interests include process modeling, simulation and design, process control, and renewable energy systems. Dr. Tzouanas is an ABET Program Evaluator (PEV) for Engineering and Engineering Technology programs. He is also member of AIChE and ASEE.

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Omar Meraz

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I am a retired U.S. Army Sergeant, who recently graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown, with a degree in CIET. I enjoy spending my free time with my two daughters who are eight and two.

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A Capstone and Design Project on Process Automation: Technical Details and Student Learnings

Manufacturing industries operate under various constraints while trying to be competitive in today’s business environment. For instance, they must operate safely and in an environmentally friendly manner with minimum carbon footprint. This requires better utilization of raw materials and less energy consumption.

One of the most energy consuming manufacturing processes is the distillation process. Thus, improved distillation column design and automated operation are very important in achieving energy reduction for such processes.

The capstone project at our Engineering Technology department provides a unique opportunity to senior students to work on a challenging project and provide practical solutions to important process automation problems. As such, this paper will discuss the design, construction, instrumentation, modeling, simulation, and control of a binary distillation column. In addition to technical details, student learnings on project management, budget and schedule development, teamwork, and technical communication will also be presented.

Ghossein, M., & DeLosSantos, L. M., & Tzouanas, V., & Meraz, O. (2017, June), A Capstone and Design Project on Process Automation: Technical Details and Student Learning Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27440

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