Chemical Engineering Practice

Energy Management and Efficiency for the Process Industries

April, 2015
Editors Alan P. Rossiter and Beth P. Jones have gathered material that lays out the underlying management and technical issues that drive successful industrial energy management program. With a foreword by the Hon. Charles D. McConnell, former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, the book provides a clear understanding of both scope of the opportunity and the available methodologies for capturing energy savings.

My Steam Trap Is Good — Why Doesn’t It Work?

April
2015
Heat Transfer
James R. Risko
Even a relatively new steam trap in seemingly good condition can fail if it is applied incorrectly. Here’s how to recognize and avoid situations that can lead to a failure.

Account for Uncertainty with Robust Control Design - Part 2

December
2014
Instrumentation
Sachi Dash, Rakesh Joshi, J. Ward MacArthur, Konstantinos Tsakalis
Robust control can be applied to design controllers that can handle process uncertainty. Learn how to use identification experiments to obtain estimates of this uncertainty.

Biomass as a Sustainable Energy Source for the Future: Fundamentals of Conversion Processes

November, 2014
Through contributions from leading experts in diverse field, this book features the latest biomass characterization techniques, biochemical and thermochemical conversion processes, the development of integrated biorefineries, and how to mitigate the environmental risks associated with using biomass for fuel. It includes examples, problems and projects which make it suitable for undergraduate and graduate education as well.

Account for Uncertainty with Robust Control Design - Part 1

November
2014
Instrumentation
Sachi Dash, Rakesh Joshi, J. Ward MacArthur, Konstantinos Tsakalis
The dynamic behavior of your process can never be modeled perfectly. However, process controllers can be designed to handle this so-called uncertainty.

CEP: Journal Highlight - A Path Toward the Perfect Chemical Reactor

October
2014
Journal Highlight
The ability to control chemical reactions to efficiently and selectively produce the desired products has vastly improved over the past decades, with increasingly sophisticated techniques now available to dictate the outcome of these reactions. While much progress has been made, much more is needed to realize a perfect reactor, which would allow for full control of chemical transformations at the molecular level. In the October AIChE Journal Perspective article, “Practical Challenges in Energy-Based Control of Molecular Transformations in Chemical Reactors,” Andrzej Stankiewicz, Izabela Szydłowska Franssen, Daniel Irimia, and Georgios Stefanidis of Delft Univ. of Technology expand on this topic of molecular control in chemical reactors.

Introduction to Solid-Fluid Equilibrium Modeling

September
2014
Back To Basics
Chau-Chyun Chen, Yifan Hao, Sheik Tanveer
This article introduces the thermodynamic property models that are commonly used in process simulators to perform solid-liquid equilibrium and solid-supercritical fluid equilibrium calculations.

CEP: Patent Update - Do You Qualify as a Co-Inventor?

July
2014
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
Co-inventorship on a patent provides several advantages to an individual, but a proper listing of inventors is both critical to the patent’s validity and can be challenged at any time. A recent case involving a General Electric patent illustrates some of the requirements of a co-inventor and the hurdles that an individual can face when asserting co-inventorship status after a patent has been issued.

CEP: Process Automation Corner - The U.S. Process Automation Enterprise Looks to the Future

March
2014
Process Automation Corner
Terry McMahon
The outlook is bright for the process automation enterprise in the U.S. through this decade and into the next. Process automation skills and know-how are honed through challenging projects and are perfected by maintaining these systems at peak efficiency. Without constant renewal based on new and different challenges, these skills tend to atrophy and become obsolete. Fortunately, after more than a decade of decline, the U.S. process industries are entering a period of highly advantaged resource and energy availability.

Introduction to Pressure Measurement

March
2014
Back To Basics
Eugen Gassmann
Pressure-measuring devices come in a wide variety of designs and sizes to suit almost any application. This article describes the basics of pressure measurement and provides guidance on instrument selection.

Ten Distillation Revamp Pitfalls to Avoid

February
2014
Back To Basics
Doug Bouck
Projects aimed at improving distillation column operation may encounter a variety of hurdles. This article looks at ten common problems and provides guidance on how to avoid them.

CEP: Patent Update - An On-Sale Bar to Patentability Can Arise in Various Ways

February
2014
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
One of the ways in which companies often trip up in their attempts to develop a patent portfolio is by selling a product, or even offering it for sale, before filing a patent application. If more than a year passes between the date of a sale or offer and the application filing date, the application is disqualified from receiving a patent. Likewise, if a sale or offer a year before the filing date is revealed only after the patent has been granted, the patent is declared invalid. In either case, the applicant is barred from obtaining a patent, and this is known as an “on-sale bar.”

CEP: Process Automation Corner - Real-Time Analytics for Pharmaceutical Quality Control

December
2013
Process Automation Corner
Terry McMahon
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), under the leadership of Ajaz Hussain, then the Associate Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), launched the Process Analytical Technology (PAT) Initiative a decade ago, it set in motion a multifaceted search for a more scientifically based approach to pharmaceutical manufacturing and quality assurance. Hussain’s call for more PAT in the industry’s manufacturing operations was really more of a challenge to current practices than a proscriptive program. The pharmaceutical industry has responded with a renewed emphasis on understanding the scientific basis of its processes, and toward that end has made significant investments in personnel and tools.

Optimize Energy Use in Industrial Cooling Systems

November
2013
Heat Transfer
Michael R. Muller, Michael B. Muller, Prakash Rao
Potential energy savings for chilled-water cooling systems are often overlooked. A detailed review of the cooling system along with the appropriate temperature and flowrate measurements will help you identify ways to cash in on these savings.

Consider Single-Use Equipment for Biomanufacturing

November
2013
Fluids and Solids Handling
Roman Rodriguez
Traditional stainless steel equipment is increasingly being replaced with disposable units in new and existing processes alike, enabling more flexibility, higher efficiencies, and lower costs. Follow the guidance offered here to determine the most-effective single-use approach for your facility.

Calculate Financial Indicators to Guide Investments

September
2013
Back To Basics
John Anderson, Andy Fennell
Engineers can become better informed about their work with an increased familiarity of basic financial indicators. Use these insights to help ensure that the projects you work on are those that are most likely to become financial successes.

CEP: Process Automation Corner - Process Simulation and Process Control

September
2013
Process Automation Corner
Terry McMahon
Chemical engineers have been practicing process simulation since the advent of the profession in the early 20th century. It was called process design and inevitably involved simplifying assumptions, including that steady-state process conditions had...

Green Reactors

August
2008
Reactions and Separations
Mukesh Doble
Compare these microreactor technologies, along with the intrinsic advantages and disadvantages of miniaturization, to achieve process intensification.

Chemistry Simulation Drives Clean Technology Progress

August
2008
Fluids and Solids Handling
Scott A. Drennan
Here's how to determine when to use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to simulate the detailed chemistry of reacting flows for combustion and chemical processes.

Developing Crystallization Processes

March
2011
Reactions and Separations
Christianto Wibowo
With solid-liquid equilibrium as its foundation, this systematic approach makes it easy to identify operating regions and theoretical yield to maximize the desired product.

Apply Six Sigma for Process Improvement and Problem-Solving

March
2011
Back To Basics
George Liebermann
Many manufacturing processes are not run as efficiently as they could be. The Six Sigma methodology provides a foundation for continuous improvement and for solving quality, operational, and other problems.

Evaluating Centrifugal Compressor Performance

July
2013
Fluids and Solids Handling
AIChE’s Equipment Testing Procedures Committee; Centrifugal Compressor Procedure Subcommittee
Follow these practical tips to determine the condition of your centrifugal compressors.

Chemical Reactivity Hazard Training CD-ROM

May, 2006
The Chemical Reactivity Hazards CD is a self-paced teaching tool intended to teach people how to recognize and manage reactive chemical hazards. It provides an introduction to the topic and many online links to additional resources. The CD has three main objectives: Introduce reactive chemical...

Deflagration and Detonation Flame Arresters

May, 2002
Designed for chemical engineers and other technical personnel involved in the design, operation, and maintenance of facilities and equipment where deflagration and detonation flame arresters (DDFAs) may be required, this book fosters effective application and operation of DDFAs through treatment of...

Making EHS an Integral Part of Process Design

June, 2001
This book presents an approach—termed MERITT (Maximizing EHS Returns by Integrating Tools and Talents)—for enhancing process development through better integration of environmental, health, and safety evaluations. It draws upon critical components of inherent safety, pollution prevention, green...

Avoiding Static Ignition Hazards in Chemical Operations

September, 1999
Written by Laurence Britton, who has over 20 years' experience in the fields of static ignition and process fire and explosion hazards research, this resource addresses an area not extensively covered in process safety standards or literature: understanding and reducing potential hazards associated...

Guidelines for Process Safety in Batch Reaction Systems

September, 1999
Batch reaction systems pose unique challenges to process safety managers because they do not operate in a steady state. The sequence of processing steps, and frequent start-ups and shutdowns, increase the possibility of human errors and equipment failures. And, since batch plants are often designed...

Guidelines for Design Solutions for Process Equipment Failures

August, 1998
While there is no "perfect" solution or absolute zero risk, engineering design can significantly reduce risk potential in the CPI. In Guidelines for Design Solutions to Process Equipment Failures, industry experts offer their broad experience in identifying numerous solutions to the more common...

Selecting a Centrifugal Compressor

June
2013
Back To Basics
James M. Sorokes
End users must specify certain performance requirements when requesting a quote for a new centrifugal compressor. Understand your process, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each centrifugal compressor configuration, in order to choose the optimal centrifugal compressor for your application.

Evaluating Distillation Column Performance

June
2013
Reactions and Separations
AIChE’s Equipment Testing Procedures Committee, Tray and Packed Columns Procedure Revision Subcommittee
Follow these guidelines to assess the capacity and efficiency of distillation columns containing trays or packing.

Coriolis: The Direct Approach to Mass Flow Measurement

March
2013
Back To Basics
Tom O’Banion
Coriolis meters eliminate the need to measure and correct for pressure, temperature, and density fluctuations to determine mass flowrate. Although their capital costs may be higher, they typically have a lower overall cost of ownership than other types of meters

Selecting Baffles for Shell-and-Tube Heat Exchangers

February
2012
Heat Transfer
Salem Bouhairie
Baffles play a crucial role in regulating shellside fluid flow and improving heat transfer between shellside and tubeside process fluids. Here's how to choose the correct baffle to meet process requirements.

Understand the Basics of Membrane Filtration

April
2013
Back To Basics
Hua Wang, Hongyi Zhou
Membrane filtration is an integral part of many industrial processes, as it is often more environmentally sustainable and cost-effective than other separation technologies

Environmental Law for Chemical Engineers

February
2012
Back To Basics
Mary Ellen Ternes
A basic understanding of environmental law is beneficial for all chemical engineers. Learn how laws are proposed, made, and implemented, and ways to avoid incurring unnecessary penalties.

CEP: Patent Update - An Invention's Nonobviousness May Not Be Obvious

April
2013
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
To qualify for a patent, an invention must be both novel and nonobvious. Novelty requires that the invention differ in some way from the prior art, such as earlier patents and published materials. Nonobviousness requires that there be more than just...

Determining Torque Split for Multiple Impellers in Slurry Mixing

February
2012
Fluids and Solids Handling
Gregory T. Benz, P.E.
Yield-stress slurries, such as those used in paper, biofuel, and polymer production, can be difficult to mix. This article explains how to determine torque requirements for multiple-impeller slurry-mixing systems to optimize tank geometry and...

Cost Management in Heat-Transfer-Fluid Systems

July
2006
Heat Transfer
Conrad E. Gamble, P.E.
By taking ownership of fluid-related decisions for the entire life of the project, from design through dismantling, users can secure the best and lowest-cost approach in process heating and cooling.

Successfully Scale Up Solids Handling

April
2008
Fluids and Solids Handling
K. Eric Bengtson, John W. Carson, Thomas G. Troxel
A sound theoretical model of the process to be scaled is the best approach; if one is not available, bench-scale testing, physical scale modeling or full-scale modeling is required. Here are guidelines as to which method is appropriate for various...

Designing Suspension-Mixing Systems

January
2006
Fluids and Solids Handling
Pavel Ditl, Frantisek Rieger
Impeller and vessel geometries are key factors in selecting mixing equipment to efficiently suspend particulate solids in slurries

Diagnosing Maldistribution in Towers

May
2007
Reactions and Separations
Simon X. Xu
Gamma CAT-scan technology makes possible the collection of much more vital online process information than conventional diagnostic techniques.

A Hybrid Route to Chirally Pure Products

November
2005
Reactions and Separations
Lionel O'Young , Christianto Wibowo
Chromatographic resolution coupled with crystallization can be your best option for manufacturing chirally pure products.

Selecting Elbows for Pneumatic Conveying Systems

September
2007
Fluids and Solids Handling
Paul Wagner
The right elbow can keep your system operating at peak performance, reduce maintenance costs, and minimize material attrition and elbow wear. This article describes common elbows and outlines factors to consider when selecting one.

Piloting Bioreactors for Agitation Scale-Up

February
2008
Reactions and Separations
Gregory T. Benz
This article offers guidance on how to design appropriate experiments to measure scalable data for agitation in both aerobic and anaerobic bioreactors.

Computational Fluid Dynamics - Power to the People

April
2007
Computational Methods
Suzanne Shelley
Today's CFD Programs are more powerful and easier to use than ever, thanks to improved mesh-generation strategies, computational methodologies, user interfaces and enhanced graphics capabilities. Cover photo courtesy of Acusim and Intelligent Light.

Troubleshooting Distillation Simulation

June
2006
Reactions and Separations
Stanislaw K. Wasylkiewicz
A tool called azeotrope pressure sensitivity analysis (APSA) can shed light on the dependence of an azeotrope's composition and temperature on changes in pressure.

Realistically Predict Capacity and Pressure Drop for Packed Columns

July
2007
Reactions and Separations
Emil Abkar, Khashayar Afshar, Henry Z. Kister, Jeffrey Scherffius
Generalized pressure-drop correlation (GPDC) charts have been the standard for predicting packing flood points and pressure drops. This article guides engineers on the correct and incorrect uses of the GPDC interpolation procedure, and updates the...

Prevent Pulsation Problems in Piping Systems

March
2006
Fluids and Solids Handling
Mark Corbo
Eliminate unnecessary damage in piping systems by following these guidelines to avoid pulsations from pumps and compressors.

Applying the Paradigm Case Method for Flowmeter Selection

September
2006
Fluids and Solids Handling
Jesse Yoder
This effective approach to flowmeter selection involves a step-by-step method that begins by matching the application with the flowmeter(s). Then, a series of criteria are applied to narrow the selection.

Beware of Errors in Numerical Problem-Solving

November
2009
Computational Methods
Michael B. Cutlip, Michael Elly, Mordechai Shacham
Understand how to detect and prevent common errors when using mathematical software tools.

Assess the Performance of Positive-Displacement Pumps

December
2007
Fluids and Solids Handling
AIChE's Equipment Testing Procedures Committee
Here's how to evaluate rotary pumps— gear, lobe, vane and multiple-screw designs— regardless of whether the material being handled is a Newtonian or non-Newtonian fluid.

Apply an Integrated Approach to Catalytic Process Design

February
2007
Reactions and Separations
Mitrajit Mukherjee, James Nehlsen, Richard V. Porcelli
To ensure a practical, efficient and economically viable process, first consider how a successful catalytic reaction system would work, then focus on making a catalyst with the desired characteristics.

Understanding Crystallization and Crystallizers

October
2006
Fluids and Solids Handling
Lionel O'Young, Ketan D. Samant
Gain qualitative insight into the basic mechanisms of crystallization, the principles of crystallizer operation, and the ways in which these concepts relate to the selection and application of the various crystallizer configurations in industrial...

Shale Gas Brightens Outlook for U.S. Chemicals

January
2013
Chem Economics
Martha Gilchrist Moore, T. Kevin Swift
The chemical industry will experience moderate annual growth over the next few years — ranging between 2.2% and 4.6% through 2017. The higher growth rate accounts for new investments announced in response to the abundant supply of shale-based...

Optimizing an Organic Rankine Cycle

January
2013
Heat Transfer
Ali Bourji, P.E., Alan Winstead
An organic Rankine cycle (ORC) system can be a cost-effective way to convert waste heat to electricity. The key is finding the best ratio of net power recovery to capital cost.

Use Guided-Wave Radar to Measure Water Level in Steam Loops

December
2012
Back To Basics
Ravi Jethra, Keith Riley
Guided-wave radar (GWR) is a useful tool for measuring water level in steam loops. This article describes GWR design and operation, and how this technology differs from more traditional forms of level indication.

Reshaping Process Safety Regulations

March
2002
Safety
Walter L. Frank
Changes to OSHA's PSM rule and EPA's RMP programs are underway, due to pressures from various groups and the need for greater security.

Engineering Complex Phenotypes in Industrial Strains

November, 2012
This book explains current trends and developments in engineering biocatalysts for the production of bulk chemical and biofuels from renewable biomass. The authors guide readers through the engineering of the complex traits and phenotypes needed for particular biocatalysts and bioprocesses.

Best Practices for Heat Tracing Pilot Plants

November
2012
Heat Transfer
Richard P. Palluzi, P.E.
Heat tracing a pilot plant is a difficult task, but with proper design and careful installation, the tracing system can operate safely and effectively.

Be Smart about Column Design

November
2012
Reactions and Separations
Daniel R. Summers, P.E., Mark Pilling, P.E.
Optimizing distillation equipment and processes can improve both the profitability and the greenness of an operation.

Cut Agitator Power Costs

November
2012
Back To Basics
Gregory T. Benz, P.E.
Agitator power consumption can be minimized by judicious equipment selection and careful operating procedures. Follow these guidelines to reduce your plant’s energy costs. In some cases, it may be as simple as flipping a switch.

CEP: Chem Economics - Post-9/11 Chemical Security Spending

November
2012
Chem Economics
Martha Gilchrist Moore
The terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, changed the world and forever altered the way American chemistry conducts business. While improving facility security is not a new endeavor for chemical companies, the industry has increased...

Distillation Troubleshooting

March, 2006
The last half-century of research on distillation has tremendously improved our understanding and design of industrial distillation equipment and systems. High-speed computers have taken over the design, control, and operation of towers. Invention and innovation in tower internals have greatly...

Solid-Liquid Separation: A Guide to Centrifuge Selection

July
2012
Back To Basics
Tom Patnaik
Centrifugation is a necessary step in many pharmaceutical and chemical production processes. These guidelines will help chemical engineers better understand the process of centrifuge selection.

Using Process Flowsheets as Communication Tools

October
2012
Back To Basics
Graham Nasby
Piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), process flow diagrams (PFDs), and block flow diagrams (BFDs) are essential tools for documenting processes and promoting interdisciplinary understanding and communication.

Harnessing the Power of Virtual Reality

July
2012
On The Horizon
Li Guo, Zhouzhou Li, Jinghai Li, Xinhua Liu, Bona Lu, Fanxiao Meng, Zhaojie Xia, Mingkun Zhao
Advances in physical modeling and computational science will revolutionize the way engineers develop and design new technologies and processes.
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