Chemical Engineering Practice

Selecting and Using Bolted Head Closures

April
2007
Fluids and Solids Handling
John C. Birkmire, P.E.
Proper design, fabrication, assembly and operation of a pressure vessel closure are essential to ensuring product containment, integrity and quality.

Solving Phase Equilibrium Problems

September
2008
Reactions and Separations
Terrence L. Chambers, James R. Reinhardt
Use this optimization-based approach to analyze multi-component, multi-phase Equilibria.

Visualizing the McCabe-Thiele Diagram

December
2009
Reactions and Separations
Paul M. Mathias
Use this spreadsheet-based visualization and interactive analysis of the McCabe-Theile diagram to understand the foundations of distillation engineering. <br><br>

Realize Greater Benefits from CFD

March
2001
Fluids and Solids Handling
 Lanre M. Oshinowo, Andre  Bakker, Ahmad H. Haidari
Computational fluid dynamics has moved from mainframes to PCs and laptops. Newer and better software lets you conduct analyses not possible before, and regular engineers, not just experts, can now carry out CFD.

Air Heater Cleaning Simplified

October
2001
Heat Transfer
Brad Buecker
This high-pressure water washing technique can be used to clean Ljungstrom-type air heaters.

Reduce Costs with Dividing-Wall Columns

May
2002
Reactions and Separations
Mohamed S.M. Shakur, Dennis O'Brien, Steven P. Rosenblum, James W. Harris, Douglas A. Stewart, Michael A. Schultz
These distillation columns can significantly reduce capital and energy expenses vs. conventional multicolumn arrangements.

Computationally Evaluate Self-Reactivity Hazards

February
2003
Reactions and Separations
Edward S. Shanley, Surendra K. Singh, Michelle R. Murphy
Here is a method that rates the tendency of new compounds to self-explode without the need to perform extensive laboratory tests.

Production Modeling for Multimodal Operations

February
2004
Information Technology
Jeffrey D. Kelly
Two new views for production modeling are introduced - production flow networks and production flow maps - that focus on unit operations and feedstocks, respectively.

Beware of Pitfalls of Carbon Dioxide Freezing Prediction

March
2005
Heat Transfer
Steve Chafin , Tim Eggeman
Carbon dioxide freezing in a cryogenic system can result in plugging and other operational problems. This article offers insights into the carbon dioxide freezing phenomenon.

Pipeline Pressure Drop: A New Design Correlation

June
2006
Fluids and Solids Handling
Roger Gilmont
A linear equation has been derived to accurately calculate the flowrate of fluids in the laminar and turbulent regions, and to derive an equation for use in the transitional regions.

Selecting Entrainers for Azeotropic Distillation

March
2009
Reactions and Separations
Lionel O’Young, Madhura Chiplunkar, Vivek Julka
This systematic methodology uses residue curve maps to identify and evaluate substances that can facilitate distillation by breaking an azeotrope.

Uncovering the Realities of Simulation, Part 2

June
2001
Computational Methods
Andrew  Vieler,  Oscar  Santollani, Yau-Kun Li, Rajeev  Agarwal, Marco S. Satyro
Simulation software is a commonly used design tool, thanks mainly to its availability on the desktop. However, one has to understand thermodynamic basics before accepting the desktop's final answer.

Real World Modeling of Distillation

July
2003
Reactions and Separations
Harry Kooijman, Rajamani Krishna , Ross Taylor
Previously, simulations based on nonequilibrium, or rate-based, models were considered impractical due to their complexity. However, with ever-increasing computing power, these simulations are not only feasible, but in some circumstances they should...

Clarifying Centrifuge Operation and Selection

August
2004
Fluids and Solids Handling
 William Wilkie, Victor Norton
Before selecting a centrifuge for your application, understand its principles of operation and investigate the key process variables.

Integrate Process Simulation and Process Synthesis

October
2005
Computational Methods
Michael Lynn McGuire, Murugan Selvan, Zainuddin Abdul Manan, Dominic Chwan Yee Foo
The design of a new process using computer simulations to analyze a process flowsheet based on the onion model can save time, effort and, ultimately, money.

Developing Screening Cost Estimates

July
2011
Process Development
Richard P. Palluzi, P.E.
Making decisions based on estimates derived from weak data is counterproductive. Use this established methodology to prepare scoping and screening cost estimates for pilot plants quickly and accurately.

Effectively Control Column Pressure

January
2001
Reactions and Separations
Andrew W. Sloley 
Maintaining proper pressure can play a crucial role in the stable operation of a distillation column. Here’s how to select the most appropriate pressure-control scheme.

Shortcut Distillation Calculations via Spreadsheets

December
2002
Reactions and Separations
Jake Jevric, Muhammad E. Fayed
This method uses a numerical solution to the McCabe-Thiele diagram to find the theoretical number of stages for binary and pseudo-binary systems,then calculates the actual number of stages, reflux ratio and column dimensions.

Streamlining Crystallization Process Design

January
2004
Fluids and Solids Handling
Ka M. Ng, Lionel O'Young, Christianto  Wibowo
Use phase diagrams to develop reliable crystallization processes quickly and cost effectively.

Designing a Facility for API Development

March
2006
Plant Design
Yasha Zelmanovich, Terrence Fay
Kilo labs are instrumental in scaling up the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients. This article discusses the critical factors that must be considered to design such a facility.

Selecting Laboratory Reactors

August
2007
Reactions and Separations
Francesco Picciotti, Marcello Picciotti
This article outlines some of the considerations involved in selecting and specifying a reactor system for research and development applications.

Design Reactors via CFD

December
2001
Reactions and Separations
Elizabeth M. Marshall, Andre Bakker, Ahmad H. Haidari
Using computational fluid dynamics to design commercial-size batch and continuous reactors can eliminate subjective experience and empiricism, leading to better-designed, more-efficient units.

Avoid Internet Pitfalls

April
2003
Information Technology
Tim Headley
When developing your website, take these preventative measures to steer clear of any potential lawsuits.

Ensure Proper Design and Operation of Multi-Pass Trays

June
2005
Reactions and Separations
Mark Pilling
To function properly at optimum capacity and efficiency, multi-pass trays must be designed so that the liquid and vapor flows are properly balanced. This article provides guidance on how to achieve that.

Reduce Risk When Sourcing Abroad

October
2010
Fluids and Solids Handling
Ling Du, Gregory T. Benz
Purchasing lower-cost process equipment from vendors in developing nations can be an attractive proposition in times of economic austerity. When sourcing outside local channels, keep the points discussed here in mind to avoid costly problems that go...

Get More Out of Single-Stage Distillation

February
2002
Reactions and Separations
Ernest A. Perkins , Ryan C. Schad 
Try these practical ways to boost capacity, increase product quality or reduce cycle time in batch and continuous systems.

Ease Control Valve Selection

November
2002
Fluids and Solids Handling
Sheetal Patel, Kiran Nair, Liyakat Jaffer, Meredith Chapeaux, Trevor Bishop
With so many types and options available, choosing the right control valve can seem daunting. Selection can be simplified by considering the process fluid, the service requirements, how the various valves function, and seeing how each valve will...

Reduce Dust Explosions the Inherently Safer Way

October
2003
Fluids and Solids Handling
P. R. Amyotte, A. G. Dastidar, Faisal I. Khan
This article is aimed at the development of a framework for dust explosion prevention and mitigation that explicitly incorporates the principles of inherent safety. As distinguished from engineered and procedural safety features, inherent safety...

Dividing-Wall Columns Find Greater Appeal

May
2007
News Feature
Gerald Parkinson
Conceived more than seven decades ago, dividing-wall columns are now only gaining widespread acceptance. The reasons— the drive to save energy and advances in computer technology that have overcome the burden of doing complex column internal designs.

Form Nanoparticles via Controlled Crystallization

October
2008
Reactions and Separations
Robert J. Fisher, Thomai Panagiotou
This continuous bottom-up approach allows precise control of the crystallization process to achieve size, distribution and quality goals, as well as realize the benefits of process intensification.

Save Energy Through Automation

January
2010
Instrumentation
Douglas C. White
Identifying the right automation investments — those with low costs and high impacts — can result in millions of dollars in energy savings for petrochemical plants. <br>

Reduce Your Compressed Air Costs

October
2011
Fluids and Solids Handling
Bill Scales, Ron Marshall
Annual operating expenses for compressed air systems can exceed the equipment’s purchase price. Follow these seven steps to implement efficiency measures that yield cost reductions.

Easily Assess Complex Safety Loops

March
2001
Instrumentation
Lawrence  Beckman
Many safety instrumented systems rely on dissimilar redundant field devices, and this can complicate required analyses. These equations will enable field personnel to handle such situations readily.

Optimize Control Room Communications

October
2001
Instrumentation
James E. Lenhart, Karen D. Smith, Brad A. Walker
Faced with more distractions than ever, operators need an environment that is conducive for dealing with abnormal, as well as normal, situations. Effective control room design can help.

Control and Optimize Nonlinear Systems

February
2003
Instrumentation
Roberto Z. Tantalean, Andrew C. Burden, Pradeep B. Deshpande
Turbocharging a contrained model predictive controller (CMPC) with fuzzy logic allows CMPCs to be applied over nonlinear systems

Is Your Cold Lime Softener Effective?

December
2007
Reactions and Separations
Loraine Huchler
If your plant's utility system is experiencing problems, the culprit may be the clarifier. Understanding how to diagnose and correct off-spec clarifier operation will allow downstream units to function more efficiently and reliably.

Use Oxygen to Improve Combustion and Oxidation

July
2010
Reactions and Separations
Nancy C. Easterbrook, Timothy D. Lebrecht, Reed J. Hendershot
Substituting oxygen for air is often a low-cost, easy-to-implement option that can reduce capital costs, lower emissions, and improve process flexibility and reliability.

Understanding Steam Traps

February
2011
Back To Basics
James R. Risko
Steam trap failure can affect process operations and reduce profits. Choosing the right steam traps can improve reliability and reduce cost.

Select the Right Spray Nozzle

June
2001
Reactions and Separations
Terra L. Vincent, Peter  Welander
Finding the proper nozzle for specific applications doesn't have to be difficult. By applying basic concepts of nozzle technology, you can create a droplet profile that best suits your needs.

Hydrogen: Liability or Asset?

September
2002
Reactions and Separations
Dennis Vauk, Ian Moore, Nick  Hallale
In a petroleum refinery, viewing hydrogen as an asset rather than a liability can lead to increased profits. The key is in the mindset. A typical investor uses money to make money. This article shows you how to use hydrogen to make money.

Handling Flammable Liquids

July
2003
Fluids and Solids Handling
James C. Mulligan
Identify electrostatic hazards associated with liquid processing and understand the precautions available to control them.

Rotating Equipment

October
2005
Fluids and Solids Handling
Kazim Akhtar
Protect compressors and turbines by using piping strainers and following the line procedures outlined in this article.

Scaling Fixed-Bed Catalyzed Processes

March
2007
Reactions and Separations
Jonathan H. Worstell
The new parameter introduced here will yield more meaningful results when a fixed-bed reactor is scaled up for process development or scaled down for plant support.

Bioreactor Design for Chemical Engineers

August
2011
Back To Basics
Gregory T. Benz
Fermentation processes are based on chemical engineering principles. Understand these concepts to achieve optimal bioreactor design.

Should You Use Enhanced Tubes?

April
2002
Heat Transfer
Mohamad R. Jafari Nasr, Graham T. Polley
Following this procedure to identify a basic exchanger geometry without performing a full exchanger design and to evaluate where and when heat transfer enhancement can be of benefit.

Fermentation Goes Large-Scale

January
2003
Special Section
Alex Patist, J. J. Hahn , Aristos Aristidou , Pim van Hoek
Designing an economically competitive and environmentally sustainable fermentation route means considering the downstream separations needed to capture the final product during the initial process design.

Formulating Production Planning Models

January
2004
Information Technology
Jeffrey D. Kelly
Optimize petroleum and petrochemical plant production by understanding the mathematical modeling behind nonlinear planning models.

Properly Select Equipment for SIP Systems

August
2007
Fluids and Solids Handling
Tony George
Sterilization-in-place (SIP) systems are essential to the operation of many pharmaceutical and biotech facilities. This article reviews design considerations, selection criteria and performance expectations for control valves, regulators, isolation...

Designing Four-Pass Trays

April
2010
Back To Basics
Daniel R. Summers
Use this procedure to design four-pass distillation column trays and to balance the vapor/liquid ratio on each tray panel.

Properly Clean Out Your Organic Heat-Transfer Fluid System

May
2001
Heat Transfer
 Conrad  Gamble, Jay  Heidari, Ander  Beain
Follow these guidelines for applying side-stream filtration to on-line cleaning, and chemical or mechanical cleaning to equipment that has been drained of fluid.

Follow These Best Practices in Steam System Management

December
2001
Heat Transfer
Fred L. Hart, Gilbert A. McCoy, David  Jaber
These tips on how to improve steam generation, distribution and recovery can help a plant to increase its steam system efficiency by as much as 20-30%.

Optimize Power Consumption in Aerobic Fermenters

May
2003
Reactions and Separations
Gregory T. Benz
By performing the necessary pilot work, and rigorously calculating the full-scale performance instead of using simple rules-of-thumb, significant energy savings can be achieved in fermenters.

Maintaining Piping and Support Systems

June
2005
Operations And Maintenance
Gerry May
With proper pipe support design, installation and maintenance, pipe damage should normally not develop for decades.

Ionic Liquids for Aromatic Extraction: Are They Ready?

December
2006
Reactions and Separations
Sachin T. Anjan
Ionic liquids have already moved into the commercial arena as reaction solvents. This article compares them to conventional solvents and examines their potential for the extraction of benzene, toluene and xylene from reformate.

Implementing an IACS Patch-Management Program

May
2011
Information Technology
Kevin Staggs
Maintain state of the art industrial automation and control systems (IACS) by using these steps to support an effective patch management program and implement it with minimum risk.

Step into the Virtual Plant

February
2002
Instrumentation
Mark S Sowell III, Gregory K McMillan, Michael M Mansy
The ability to warehouse process and control system knowledge offers a vast potential for improved operations by sharing a common source of information and avoiding data duplication.

Process Intensification: Has Its Time Finally Come?

October
2003
On The Horizon
Costas Tsouris, Joseph V. Porcelli
Many new technologies are being developed, but several important barriers must be overcome before process intensification is widely adopted.

Selecting a Membrane Filtration System

December
2004
Fluids and Solids Handling
Frank Parma , Wu Chen
Proper design and scaleup of a membrane filtration system requires an understanding of the availability of membrane material, pore size and module configurations. These practical guidelines will help in the selection process.

A Strategy for Excellence in Process Development

October
2008
Process Development
Lionel O'Young, Vaibhav V. Kelkar
Here is how to integrate overall process development activities and identify practices that facilitate commercial process development.

Simplify Experimental Design

January
2010
Computational Methods
Joseph F. Louvar
Save time and money by using this approach to fractional-factorial design of experiments (DOE) for studies involving six or seven variables. <br>
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