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Issues Encountered With Students Using Process Simulators

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.794.1 - 8.794.27



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Paper Authors

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Mariano Savelski

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Robert Hesketh

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

Session 2003-2484

Issues Encountered with Students using Process Simulators Mariano J Savelski and Robert P. Hesketh Department of Chemical Engineering Rowan University 201 Mullica Hill Road Glassboro, New Jersey 08028-1701


Process Simulators has become an indispensable tool for design and retrofit of refineries and petrochemical plants. Originally created for the commodity industry, the advantages provided by these tools have made them also an attractive option for other industrial application such as pharmaceutical and specialty chemicals. Software companies are constantly increasing the capability of simulators to include novel technology and expand their applications market.

In the last twenty years simulators have also become much more user friendly and have been expanded to incorporate equipment design and costing tools. As a result, Chemical Engineering programs throughout the nation started using them for a variety of reasons. Some professors see process simulators as a must-do-must-teach so students are familiarized with their use by the time they graduate. In this case process simulators are generally introduced during the senior design sequence or simply in plant design courses. Others have found in process simulators a valuable teaching aid as well.

At Rowan we introduce process simulators starting at freshmen year and use them as a pedagogical tool in several courses throughout the curriculum. This process has allowed us to develop valuable examples and case studies to show students of the importance of reality checks and the immediate consequences of “blindly” trusting the process simulators results. Examples applied to system thermodynamics, distillation and reactor design will be shown.


Process simulators are becoming a basic tool in chemical engineering programs. Senior level design projects typically involve the use of either a commercial simulator or an academic simulator such as ASPENPLUS, ChemCAD, ChemShare, FLOWTRAN, HYSYS, and PROII w/PROVISION. Many design textbooks are now including exercises specifically prepared for a particular simulator. For example the text by Seider, Seader and Lewin (1999)1 has examples written for use with ASPEN Plus, HYSYS, GAMS2 and DYNAPLUS3. Professor Lewin has prepared a new CD-ROM version of this courseware giving interactive selfpaced tutorials on the use of HYSYS and ASPEN PLUS throughout the curriculum.45

In the past, most chemical engineering programs have seen process simulation as a tool to be taught and used solely in senior design courses. Lately, the chemical engineering community has seen a strong movement towards the vertical integration of design throughout the

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

Savelski, M., & Hesketh, R. (2003, June), Issues Encountered With Students Using Process Simulators Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12210

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