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Designing A Pumping System: Why Worry About Other Process Elements?

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.139.1 - 2.139.5



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Douglas E. Hirt

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

Session 1613

Session 1613

DESIGNING A PUMPING SYSTEM: WHY WORRY ABOUT OTHER PROCESS ELEMENTS? Douglas E. Hirt Department of Chemical Engineering Clemson University Clemson, SC 29634-0909


A major goal in integrating design throughout a curriculum is to show students how the major elements of the curriculum fit together. Vertical integration is accomplished by building on concepts learned in previous courses, reinforcing concepts currently being learned, and looking ahead to future material. The process described here is an open-ended design project that is assigned in a junior-level course on fluid flow and heat transfer. In the process, cooling water is pumped from a river, through a condenser on a distillation column, and then to a cooling tower. The students' job is to select the most cost-effective pump and piping for this flow system. This project involves teamwork, decision-making, and the use of spreadsheets, and along the way the students gain a little knowledge about economics. The students also begin to take a broader view of design. Rather than focusing solely on the pump, they realize that the presence of process elements upstream and downstream from the pump can significantly affect their design.


One of the best ways for students to learn new material is to have them work on limited, but meaningful, open-ended design projects. To be worthwhile, a project should incorporate several aspects of the lecture material so that students can integrate many of these concepts in an activity. Also, contrary to a capstone design experience, a project should be able to be completed in a week or two so that the students do not get consumed by the project and fall behind in the course (i.e., lecturing is still continuing while they work on their project and the lecturing may be on new material that could be unrelated to the project).

Projects of this type have been used successfully in our department in several courses with the objective of extending the design experience over a major portion of the curriculum. The type of project described here has been used for many years in a junior-level unit operations course, which primarily addresses fluid flow and heat transfer. The process that is evaluated is shown in Figure 1 where a pump is used to convey water from a river, through a heat exchanger, to a cooling tower. The objective is for the students to choose the "best" pumping system for the process based on their engineering calculations and judgment.

Hirt, D. E. (1997, June), Designing A Pumping System: Why Worry About Other Process Elements? Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6501

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