Chemical Engineering Practice

Use Multivariable Transmitters to Improve Flow Measurement

October
2010
Instrumentation
Nathan D. Stokes
Advances in multivariable transmitters allow more-accurate and more-repeatable flow measurements to be made over a wide range of conditions. Here’s how to select the device with the right capabilities for your applications.

Avoid Pitfalls in Evaluating Catalyst Performance

July
2001
Reactions and Separations
Daniel G. Loffler
Age and life are not suitable parameters to compare catalyst performance. The proper ones are the rate of reaction and the rate of deactivation.

Capital Spending in the Chemical Industry

January
2011
Chem Economics
T. Kevin Swift
Understand the economic state of the chemical industry and trends in capital investment to make wise corporate-spending decisions.

Determining Manufacturing Costs

January
2009
Back To Basics
John Anderson
Making early estimates of a product's cost components enables developers to manage resources wisely and evaluate the product's economic viability.

Virtualizing Your Process Control Computers

January
2012
Instrumentation
Paul Hodge
By employing the latest virtualization solutions for process control systems, chemical plants can reduce PC hardware requirements, simplify system management, and lower the total cost of ownership, as well as improve site availability, reliability,...

Prepare Your Cooling System Before Startup

July
2012
Heat Transfer
Paul R. Puckorius
Pre-startup actions such as initial water treatment and equipment coatings in cooling tower water systems can increase system life expectancy and efficiency, and reduce corrosion and fouling.

Exposing Coriolis Mass Flowmeters' Dirty Little Secrets

March
2004
Instrumentation
James R. Reizner
Coriolis technology appears to be the perfect technology. But, upon closer inspection, a key flaw is revealed - the inability to accurately and consistently measure two-phase flow and aerated liquids.

Process Simulation from the Ground Up

April
2009
Back To Basics
David Hill
Today's process simulators produce graphical, data-filled and detailed results that can improve the effectiveness of the engineers who use them.

Reliability for Safety Instrumented Systems

September
2004
Instrumentation
J. Patrick Williams
This article offers a detailed reliability-based methodology for determining the safety integrity level of instrumented systems by providing overpressure protection where arrangements of multiple pressure-relief valves are impractical to implement.

Use Exponential Functions to Correlate Temperature Dependence

July
2008
Physical Properties
Faruk Civan
Use Exponential Functions to Correlate Temperature Dependence Asymptotic exponential equations may provide a more-accurate or easier-to-use representation of a property’s temperature dependence than commonly used polynomial expressions.

Choosing Trays and Packings for Distillation

September
2009
Back To Basics
Mark Pilling
Tower-related problems can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to diagnose and fix. Here’s how to avoid difficulties and improve operating efficiency.

Legionella: An Invisible Risk

April
2008
News Feature
Cynthia F. Mascone
Ignoring this hidden hazard can put both the public and companies that operate cooling towers at risk.

Reduce Thermal Risk in Industrial Synthesis

October
2001
Safety
Richard C. Wedlich 
Knowing the safe operating conditions for a reaction allows us to select appropriate safety measures and thereby lower both the likelihood and the severity of a thermal runaway.

Designing a Process Flowsheet

May
2009
Back To Basics
Vornel Walker
Piping and instrumentation diagrams belong to a family of flowsheets that includes block flow diagrams and process flow diagrams. Technology advances have transformed these resources into intelligent documents, capable of storing layers of digital...

Selecting In-Process Particle-Size Analyzers

August
2003
Fluids and Solids Handling
Paul Barrett
To select the proper instrument for process monitoring, one must determine what attribute of the particle system impacts the process or product parameter of concern. Once the size region is identified, it can be tracked in-process, opening up the...

Choose the Right Gas Sensor

September
2009
Instrumentation
Sandra Barnes
Selecting a sensor for continuous monitoring involves many considerations. This article discusses the types of sensors available, their applicability and limitations, and how to choose an appropriate sensor to protect people and equipment.

Tracing Process Problems

April
2002
Instrumentation
John E. Hoots
In water chemistry control, fluorescent tracing technology can quickly and effectively determine and deal with the root cause of a problem.

Measuring Temperature by Direct Contact

September
2011
Back To Basics
Gary Freemer
Thermocouples and resistance temperature detectors are the most common contacting temp­erature sensors. Understand the techniques and apply them correctly to increase your temperature measurement accuracy.

Using Chromatography to Separate Complex Mixtures

December
2010
Back To Basics
Nathalie Fraud
Purifying high-value mixtures, such as pharmaceuticals, can be an expensive undertaking. Choosing the correct chromatography methods can improve purity and reduce processing time and cost.

Determine the Optimum Number of Process Trains

January
2010
Back To Basics
Gregory T. Benz
This article demonstrates that the repair and expense costs of process trains are not proportional to their capital costs and that, in most cases, building one plant with a single process train is the most economically efficient choice. <br>...

CEP: Chem Economics - Plastic Additives are Poised for Growth

July
2012
Chem Economics
T. Kevin Swift
Not all polymers are useful and/or processable in their natural form. Thus, functional chemicals are added to polymer resins to facilitate processing and to enhance, extend, or otherwise modify the properties of the plastic products manufactured from polymer resins. Such plastic additives represent a $4.6-billion business in the U.S.

Measuring Temperature by Indirect Means

November
2011
Back To Basics
Gary Freemer
Noncontacting infrared thermometers can be used in many applications that are too harsh or impractical for thermocouples and resistance temperature detectors. Understand their principles of operation and their advantages and limitations to select...

Minimize Enforcement Penalties

July
2001
Environmental Management
Jessica L. Idzerda
Identify possible New Source Review/Prevention of Significant Deterioration penalties by conducting an internal audit and disclosing potential violations.

Understanding Operating Data

October
2009
Back To Basics
Tony Cooper
Operating data offer valuable clues and are essential to managing and improving processes.However, they can also be misleading and hide the underlying issues.The principles and statistical tools presented here can help you make effective use of...

Estimate Emissions from Depressurization Activities

May
2002
Environmental Management
Jimmy Peress
Unlike other techniques, this method is applicable over a wide pressure range and in cases where the vapor pressure of the VOC approaches the operating pressure.

Test Your Incinerator Knowledge

February
2003
Environmental Management
Richard J. Martin
Do you feel like you're in the dark? Take this quiz to find out how much you know about thermal oxidizer selection and operation.

Create Business Value Through Process Modeling

September
2007
Management
Bernard McGarvey
As businesses strive to improve productivity, process modeling can be a powerful tool. This article explores the role of modeling in enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of process development and manufacturing.

Correctly Calculate the Potential to Emit

December
2001
Environmental Management
Janet Scheier
Determining maximum capacity and ensuring that permit limits are federally enforceable are critical to calculating PTE.

Evaluating Chiller Performance

May
2003
Heat Transfer
Charles Churchman
Use these simple temperature and flow measurement techniques to evaluate chilled-utility performance and identify the most cost-effective upgrades.

Converting a Commercial Distillation Column into a Research Tower

July
2005
Reactions and Separations
Ralph Weiland
Operating a column under actual distillation conditions is important for obtaining commercially valid hydraulic data. This article describes how a column was modified to operate in either a production or a research mode to collect hydraulic and mass...

Understanding Sealing Solutions

July
2009
Back To Basics
Jim Drago
The right seal can help a plant save money, eliminate leaks, and avoid safety problems. Here’s how to select and install gaskets for effective sealing.

Keeping the Competitive Edge

June
2007
Special Section
Lise Laurin
Applying the total cost assessment (TCA) methodology, which accounts for intangibles, provides a more complete evaluation of costs and benefits with the risks associated with them.

What’s New Then and Now - Part 1

November
2008
Centennial
Matthew McKeon-Slattery
This special products section looks at some of today’s equipment and service offerings alongside product write-ups and ads from the past.

Process Synthesis: Poised for a Wider Role

April
2001
On The Horizon
W. R. Johns
Software for generating process designs has made relatively limited inroads so far. But, it now is set to follow simulation and become a tool routinely used by chemical engineers.

Improving Reverse Osmosis Performance

September
2010
Reactions and Separations
Loraine Huchler
Follow these guidelines for monitoring, evaluating, and troubleshooting RO units to ensure reliable and efficient system operation.

Audit Your New EHS Software System

October
2004
Environmental Management
Jill Barson Gilbert
A post-implementation audit of the environmental, health and safety management information system evaluates how well the software meets user needs and its value to the organization.

Exploring Instrumentation Alternatives

September
2008
Instrumentation
Robert Baker
Salvaged, remanufactured, refurbished or new-surplus equipment may be a cost-effective option. Here's how to recognize when such devices may no longer meet safety or regulatory requirements.

Co-Inventors: Who Owns the Patent Rights?

June
2012
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
A joint invention arises from the combined efforts of two or more inventors. Once a patent is granted, however, the inventors do not necessarily share in the rewards.

Understanding Electromagnetic Flowmeters

May
2010
Instrumentation
Ronald W. DiGiacomo
Consisting of a flow tube, field-generating coils, electrodes, and a transmitter, a magmeter accurately measures the flowrate of conductive fluids over a wide range of conditions.

Predictive Modeling in Catalysis - From Dream to Reality

June
2009
On The Horizon
Ana G. Maldonado
In silicocatalyst optimization is the ultimate application of computers in catalysis. This article provides an overview of the basic concepts of predictive modeling and describes how this technique can be used in catalyst and reaction design.

Applying Mass and Energy Balances to Spray Drying

December
2009
Back To Basics
Tim Langrish
Mass and energy balances are not just for process and equipment design. They can also be used to improve dryer operations by answering various “what-if” questions about temperatures, flowrates, and moisture contents. <br><br>

Flare Minimization Via Dynamic Simulation

AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
Mar 15, 2011
Flaring in chemical process industry (CPI) is an important method to protect equipment and personnel safety during the process upset and the chemical...

Quantitative Models for Assessing MOC Performance

Global Congress on Process Safety
Mar 13, 2011
The safety community, bolstered by the PSM regulations, has emphasized the importance of proper management of change to ensure safe, reliable and...
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