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The Use Of Process Flowsheet Simulators In Soph. And Jr. Chemical Engineering Courses

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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

2.436.1 - 2.436.29

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Paper Authors

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Anton Pintar

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

Session 3213



Process Flowsheet Simulation Software has been used since 1990 in sophomore and junior level chemical engineering courses at Michigan Technological University. MicroCHESS Process Simulation (by COADE) was used in the mass balance course in 1990. Starting in 1991, HYSYS/HYSIM (by Hyprotech Ltd.) has been used in the mass balance, energy balance, stagewise operations and mass transfer/separations courses.

The use of Process Flowsheet Simulation Software is implemented by assigning computer projects. The primary objective of the computer projects is to expose the students to the type of software used for designing chemical processes in industry and in the senior-year design course. Secondary objectives include the experience of working in a student group (initially recommended but now required), the opportunity to undergo the "painful" and frustrating process of learning to use new software, initial exposure to the design of a part of a chemical process, recognition of the value of Process Flowsheet Simulation Software in optimizing a process, an awareness of the role of economics in design, and verification of the concepts studied in class.

The computer projects for the mass balance course always involve a chemical reaction with recycle. The Process Flowsheet Simulation Software uses the Wegstein algorithm to deal with the recycle. The students have already done calculations by hand using Wegstein for simple chemical reaction-recycle problems.

One of the computer projects for the energy balance course involves problems already solved by hand. The students investigate the reliability of the enthalpy estimation techniques used by the physical property package in the software. A second computer project involves the determination of adiabatic flame temperature.

The computer projects for the stagewise operations and mass transfer/separations courses involve one or more columns and usually a recycle stream (absorption or liquid extraction followed by desorption or distillation with solvent recycle and with energy recovery). The students can also compare the enthalpy and equilibrium data used in hand calculations with the values estimated by the software.

All of the above objectives have been achieved. The computer projects must be carefully formulated and be appropriate for the level of the course. Adequate assistance must be provided on use of the software. The students like the design and economic aspects of the computer projects.


In the late 1980’s the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Technological University (MTU) developed a policy of using computers and computer software in all undergraduate courses. The implementation of this policy was left to the individual faculty members. Each faculty member of our department took a slightly different approach. My previous uses of computer projects in undergraduate courses involved the development of FORTRAN programs for tasks such as the determination of the adiabatic flame temperature for an assigned compound. In 1990 I was assigned the responsibility of teaching the sophomore mass balance course. By that time, it was obvious that chemical engineers working in industry

Pintar, A. (1997, June), The Use Of Process Flowsheet Simulators In Soph. And Jr. Chemical Engineering Courses Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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