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A new motivation and perspective on teaching simulation and design: The development of a dynamic process model in conjunction with an operator training simulator (OTS)

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Perspectives and Approaches to Teaching Simulation and Design-Based Courses

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.82.1 - 23.82.20



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Paper Authors


Richard Turton P.E. West Virginia University

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Dr. Richard Turton, P.E., has taught the Senior Design course at West Virginia University for the past 27 years. Prior to this, he spent five years in the design and construction industry. His main interests are in design education and process modeling.

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Title: Operator Training and 3-D Immersive Training Simulators: A newperspective on teaching simulation and designThis presentation will cover various aspects of course development and student learning in theformulation and operation of chemical processes through a one-semester course on ChemicalProcess Simulation. Traditional process/plant design courses tend to focus on the formulation ofsteady state models in which material and energy balances are obtained and unit operations aresimulated. The resulting knowledge allows equipment to be sized, operating costs to beevaluated, and overall plant economics to be estimated.The operation of the process, other than at its design conditions, is rarely considered. However,in practice, the process will have to be started-up and shutdown many times during its life.Moreover, the actual operating point of the process will rarely be at the design conditions. Plantoperations are, in principle, addressed in the traditional process control course(s) in theundergraduate curriculum. However, the operability of complete processes is usually outside thescope of these courses.In this paper, the author’s experience in teaching a process simulation course using both steadystate and dynamic simulator software will be discussed. The course centered on developing adynamic model of a chemical process as a series of problem sets and in-class exercises. Variousfeatures of the dynamic simulator (Dynsim) were discussed and demonstrated in class.Differences between steady state and dynamic simulators were also highlighted. The final classproject was assigned to groups of 5 students and comprised of developing both steady state anddynamic simulations of a chemical process (different from the one developed in class). Thestudents were also asked to develop a comprehensive list of steps to start the process up from a“cold start” situation. The project was evaluated by the instructor by following the list of stepsand determining how the plant responded and whether the process actually got to steady state.Finally, the author will discuss some recent work in developing a 3D immersive training systemthat allows students to experience a complete chemical plant in a virtual environment. The 3Dtraining system is linked to an operator training system of a large gasification facility and allowsstudents or other operators to navigate through the virtual plant, to operate equipment, to makeprocess changes, to observe process trends, to “see into” operating equipment, and to experienceemergency situations. The potential for using such systems in chemical engineering educationwill be discussed.

Turton, R. (2013, June), A new motivation and perspective on teaching simulation and design: The development of a dynamic process model in conjunction with an operator training simulator (OTS) Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19096

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