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A Modified Approach To Material And Energy Balances

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Teaching Outside the Box

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.66.1 - 7.66.6



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Paper Authors

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R. Artigue

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M. H. Hariri

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M. Misovich

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M. Anklam

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David Miller

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Session 1613

A Modified Approach to Material & Energy Balances

D. C. Miller, M. H. Hariri, M. Misovich, M. Anklam, and R. Artigue Department of Chemical Engineering Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Introduction The first course in chemical engineering (material and energy balances) has traditionally been a challenging course, which many students approach with fear and trepidation. Over the past several years, we have developed an approach, which we believe helps the students to better learn the concepts by reorganizing the material that more strongly emphasizes the fundamental concept of conservation. We accomplish this by broadly introducing the “balance” concept before delving into the complexity that can result with the more difficult types of problems. As such, our approach could be characterized as breadth-first, as opposed to the more widely used depth-first approach.

Looking at two of the most widely used texts1,2 for M&E Balance courses reveals a remarkably similar organization. This is summarized in Table 1. In general, the books provide some introduction to chemical engineering and problem solving, followed a section on material balances, followed by a section on gasses and phase equilibrium, followed by a section on energy balances. In both texts, authors move completely through the concept of material balances before expanding balance principles to other areas, such as energy.

Table 1. Summary of material in two popular M&E Balance textbooks. Topic Felder and Rousseau1 Himmelblau2 Chapters Pages Chapters Pages Introductory material 1-3 80 1-2 140 Material balance 4 106 3 121 Gasses and phase equilibrium 5-6 124 4 126 Energy balances 7-9 193 5 155

The organization in these textbooks is closely followed by every single syllabi we were able to find posted on the web. We refer to this as the traditional organization and is the organization that we followed for many year. The hallmark of this approach is focusing on material balances in detail before moving on to energy balances. In some cases, this occurs in a single semester; in others, the material is covered in two quarters. In either case, the general organization of material is similar to that shown in the left column of Table 2. The first half consists essentially of mass balances; the second, energy balances. This material in the

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Artigue, R., & Hariri, M. H., & Misovich, M., & Anklam, M., & Miller, D. (2002, June), A Modified Approach To Material And Energy Balances Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10133

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