Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Advances in course content for the capstone design course in chemical engineering over the past 30 years have been very significant. Many of these advances have been facilitated by the increase in computing power now available to students through process simulators and other computational tools. Obtaining a base case design and doing a few basic sizing calculations might have formed the basis for an acceptable senior design report in the early 1990’s. Today expectations are much higher and might include multiple case studies, sophisticated optimizations including process economics, sustainability, life-cycle and safety analyses. However, very few chemical engineering graduates work for design and construction companies and those employed in the process industry will more likely work in an operating facility. Therefore we ask the question, “Can a design-driven chemical engineering undergraduate curriculum really prepare students for their first two years in process plant operations?”
The purpose of this presentation is to discuss some of the approaches used by the authors to teach undergraduate students how chemical processes operate and to introduce a series of educational modules that address plant operation. The use of a “standard” steady state simulator, the work horse of the capstone design course, is not very helpful in teaching plant operations, rather a dynamic simulation of the process is required that possesses many of the features of the operating plant. Such features include the correct pressure-flow balance, the process dynamics, the control system, and safety features such as emergency relief valves and the appropriate digital logic to start and stop equipment. This approach naturally focuses on the level of information contained in a piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID) rather than the process flow diagram (PFD) that is used most frequently in the capstone design. To this end, the authors will introduce a dynamic model of a styrene production process and then discuss several modules that illustrate normal and abnormal operations of the plant. These modules will introduce typical control schemes for the start-up of common plant operations, a temporary shut-down procedure that an operator might use to mitigate an unwanted process condition, and an emergency relief system used to protect the integrity of a piece of equipment. A video of one of the procedures will also be shown to illustrate the pedagogy used to design the system and to show the subsequent operation of the system.
Feedback from students using these modules will be discussed.
Turton, R., & Lima, F. V., & Bishop, B. A. (2020, June), Development of Learning Modules for Process Plant Operation Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34459
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