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Coordinating Equilibrium Based And Rate Based Separations Courses With The Senior Process Design Course

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.169.1 - 3.169.13

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Paper Authors

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Warren D. Seider

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J. D. Seader

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Daniel R. Lewin

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3613

Coordinating Equilibrium-based and Rate-based Separations Courses with the Senior Process Design Course

J. D. Seader Department of Chemical and Fuels Engineering University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Warren D. Seider Department of Chemical Engineering University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Daniel R. Lewin Department of Chemical Engineering Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, ISRAEL

The undergraduate education of a chemical engineer has, for more than half a century, included a senior course in design. In early years, as exemplified in the textbook, Chemical Engineering Plant Design", by Vilbrandt1, emphasis was placed not on process design, i.e. design of the process structure and the equipment, but on plant design, including consideration of foundations, drainage, piping installation, buildings, power transmission, plant location, plant layout, and preconstruction cost estimates. Some attention was given to selection and arrangement of equipment. The textbook, "Plant Design and Economics for Chemical Engineers", which first appeared in 1958 and now, under the authorship of Peters and Timmerhaus2 is in its fourth edition, took a much different approach, greatly emphasizing the economic aspects of plant design, including cost estimation and profitability analysis. In addition, extensive chapters were provided on design and costing of equipment for materials transfer and handling, heat transfer, mass transfer, and chemical reactions. In Peters and Timmerhaus, emphasis shifted from plant design to process design, but little attention was given to the synthesis of a process structure.

Prior to the 1960s, the development, by practicing chemical engineers in industry, of a process design for a given process structure, including material and energy balances and overall sizing of equipment, was carried out by hand calculations, which were often tedious and sometimes lacking in rigor and accuracy. The textbooks by Vilbrandt and, especially, by Peters and Timmerhaus were adequate for teaching plant or process design conducted in this manner. Courses taken as prerequisites for the senior design course provided the necessary skills to conduct material and energy balance calculations and to determine equipment sizes, based on accepted practice at that time. However, the advent of large digital computers and the FORTRAN language in the mid 1950s provided a means to change significantly the process design procedure.

In 1958, the first evidence of the application of digital computers to perform material and energy balance calculations for complex chemical processes was reported in an article by Kessler and

Seider, W. D., & Seader, J. D., & Lewin, D. R. (1998, June), Coordinating Equilibrium Based And Rate Based Separations Courses With The Senior Process Design Course Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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