Jennifer Weiser

Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering

ChE 351: Separation Process Principles

Separation Process Principles


ChE331 (Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics II)

ChE342 (Heat and Mass Transfer)

Text and other requirements

Required textbook: Separation Process Principles by Seader, Henley, and Roper (3rd ed.) ISBN# 0470481838

Course overview:

This course covers a few of the multitude of methods used to separate chemical mixtures, particularly in industrial applications. Separation processes are often the most complicated component of real chemical process design/operation because of the many options and degrees of freedom. We will apply thermodynamic and transport concepts to the design of continuous-contact and staged separation processes and discuss the limitations of mass transfer theory and empiricism in real chemical plant design/operation. In order gain a better understanding of the subject, we will focus in-depth on a few processes, primarily on distillation, absorption and membranes. However, throughout the course, a wide variety of separation processes will be included to broaden the discussion.

This course will cover:

  • Introduction to separation processes (Chapter 1 – 1.1-1.8, 1.10)
  • Review of thermodynamics of mixtures and modeling chemical properties (Chapter 2 – 2.1, 2.3, 2.8)
  • Review of diffusivity, Fick’s law of diffusion, mass transfer mechanisms, and calculation of mass transfer coefficients (Chapter 3 – 3.1.1, 3.2, 3.5.2, 3.7.1)
  • Single equilibrium stages and flash calculations (Chapter 4 – 4.2, 4.3, 4.4)
  • Binary distillation (Chapter 7 – 7.0-7.2, 7.3.1, 7.3.2, 7.3.4, 7.3.7, 7.3.9, 7.4.3, 7.5.1, 7.6.1)
  • Absorption and stripping of dilute mixtures, with an emphasis on graphical methods of solution (Chapter 6 – 6.0-6.4, 6.5.4, 6.6.1, 6.6.3, 6.7)
    • also extending this knowledge to multicomponent mixtures
  • Batch distillation at an unsteady state (13.0-13.1)
  • Equilibrium-based models for industrially relevant membrane separations (Chapter 14 – 14.0-14.2, 14.3.1, 14.3.2, 14.3.4, 14.3.6, 14.3.8, 14.4, 14.6-14.7)
  • Equilibrium-based models, mass transfer, and surface chemistry of adsorption, ion exchange, and chromatography (Chapter 15 – 15.0-15.1, 15.2.0, 15.2.1)
  • Bioseparations (Chapter 1 - 1.9)

 Topics I would like to cover if there is time

  • Liquid-Liquid Extraction and Ternary Systems (Chapter 8)

Course goals and objectives: 

By the end of this course, you should be able to: 

  • Explain the role of separation operations in an industrial chemical process
  • Define key vocabulary used in describing separation processes
  • Identify equipment types for many common industrial separation processes and their particular applications
  • Explain how each of the following systems work: partial condenser, partial reboiler, flash tank, absorber, stripper, batch distillation, distillation column, liquid-liquid extractor, membrane separator
  • Use Fick’s law and other empirical relationships to calculate mass transfer rates
  • Design and size columns for absorption and stripping of dilute mixtures and distillation of binary mixtures graphically and analytically
  • Calculate mass transfer rates in various types of membrane separators