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Teaching Operability In Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Design Education

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

ChE: Innovations in the Classroom

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1366.1 - 12.1366.40



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Paper Authors

author page

Thomas Marlin McMaster University

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

Teaching "Operability" in Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Design Education

Thomas E. Marlin McMaster University

Abstract: This paper presents a proposal for increased emphasis on operability in the Chemical Engineering capstone design courses. Operability becomes a natural aspect of the process design course for a project that is properly defined with various scenarios and uncertainty. Key topics in operability are the operating window, flexibility, reliability, safety, efficiency, operation during transitions, dynamic performance, and monitoring and diagnosis. Each is discussed in the paper with process examples and its relationship to prior learning and process design decisions. The key barrier to improved teaching and learning of operability is identified as easily accessed and low cost educational materials, and a proposal is offered to establish a portal open to all educators.

1. Introduction

Engineering instructors and practitioners do not question the requirement for a design to be “operable”; however, without considerable discussion, no two engineers would agree on the meaning of operability or how to achieve it. Certainly, this is not a reasonable situation for the education of engineering students; therefore, a set of operability topics is proposed for undergraduate education.

For the purposes of this paper, operability will include the following eight topics.

1. Operating window, 2. Flexibility (and controllability), 3. Reliability 4. Safety (and equipment protection) 5. Efficiency (and profitability) 6. Operation during transitions 7. Dynamic performance 8. Monitoring and diagnosis

The topics have been selected to cover the most common issues in process plants and to reinforce prior learning, but they are not meant to be all-inclusive. Instructors can modify the topics to include their own insights or to emphasize unique aspects of a specific course and project.

Marlin, T. (2007, June), Teaching Operability In Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Design Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1502

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