Chemical Engineering Practice

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.

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
Hongyi Zhou, Hua Wang
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...

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

Successfully Scale Up Solids Handling

April
2008
Fluids and Solids Handling
John W. Carson, K. Eric Bengtson, 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
Frantisek Rieger, Pavel Ditl
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
Christianto Wibowo , Lionel O'Young
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.

Designing Pneumatic Conveying Systems

May
2006
Fluids and Solids Handling
Eric Maynard
Use this 9-step methodology to design and operate a reliable and cost-effective system to efficiently transport materials.

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, Henry Z. Kister, Jeffrey Scherffius, Khashayar Afshar
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...

Consider Recycled Water for Your Cooling Tower Makeup

February
2013
Heat Transfer
Paul Puckorius
Many types of “used” water may be appropriate as cooling tower makeup. Here’s how to determine which waters are suitable and cost-effective for the equipment in your cooling system.

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
James Nehlsen, Mitrajit Mukherjee, 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
Ketan D. Samant, Lionel O'Young
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...

Easy Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency

December
2012
Operations & Maintenance
Alan Rossiter, Veerasamy Venkatesan
Managing the energy consumption of a process does not need to be complicated. This article presents some examples of less-complicated strategies.

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.

Optimal Automated Process Fault Analysis

January, 2013
With this book as their guide, readers have a powerful new tool for ensuring the safety and reliability of any chemical processing system. It details a tested and proven strategy to develop optimal automated process fault analyzers.

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
Alan Winstead, Ali Bourji, P.E.
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.

Implement an Effective Loop Tuning Strategy

January
2013
Back To Basics
Norman Ito, Timothy Olsen
Use these loop tuning guidelines to improve process control and enhance product uniformity Many undergraduate chemical engineering programs teach the Ziegler-Nichols tuning methods, developed by John G. Ziegler and Nathaniel B. Nichols in the 1940s...

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

December
2012
Back To Basics
Keith Riley , Ravi Jethra
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
Bona Lu, Fanxiao Meng, Jinghai Li, Li Guo, Mingkun Zhao, Xinhua Liu, Zhaojie Xia, Zhouzhou Li
Advances in physical modeling and computational science will revolutionize the way engineers develop and design new technologies and processes.

CEP: Chem Economics - Manufacturing Renaissance Takes Hold in the U.S.

October
2012
Chem Economics
T. Kevin Swift
Many living in the Rust Belt — the northeastern region of the U.S. that experienced significant de-industrialization during the 1970s through the 2000s — got an up-close look at the decline in manufacturing in the U.S. In the wake of the Great...

CEP: AIChE Journal Highlight - A New Spin on Separations

September
2012
Journal Highlight
The microelectronics industry has been revolutionized by technologies that boast ever-increasing capabilities in increasingly smaller areas. Now, the ability to pack high functionality into smaller devices is poised to transform the chemical process...

Chem Economics: ACC Releases Portfolio of Specialty Chemicals Indexes

September
2012
Chem Economics
T. Kevin Swift
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has launched a new set of indexes covering nearly 30 segments of the U.S. specialty chemicals market. (The first, which dealt with plastic additives, was discussed in the July issue, p. 13.) This is the first set...

Pipe Flow: A Practical and Comprehensive Guide

May, 2012
Pipe Flow provides the information required to design and analyze the piping systems needed to support a broad range of industrial operations, distribution systems, and power plants.

Advanced Process Control: Beyond Single Loop Control

June, 2010
This book fills the gap between basic control configurations (Practical Process Control) and model predictive control (MPC). For those loops whose performance has a direct impact on plant economics or product quality, going beyond simple feedback or cascade can improve control performance, or...

Design and Control of Distillation Systems for Separating Azeotropes

March, 2010
Hands-on guidance for the design, control, and operation of azeotropic distillation systems Following this book's step-by-step guidance, readers learn to master tested and proven methods to overcome a major problem in chemical processing: the distillation and separation of azeotropes. Practical in...

Applied Hydroaeromechanics in Oil and Gas Drilling

October, 2009
An all-in-one reference combining hydrodynamic theory with drilling applications for the design, planning, and optimization of drilling operations Hydromechanical processes underlie the majority of technology operations in drilling and present a crucial concern as the pace and depth of drilling...

SBE Update

July
2009
SBE Special Section
June Wispelwey
Improving Biopharmaceutical Development

How Good Are Your Data?

June
2002
Instrumentation
Scott D. Barnicki
Some thoughts on the measurement and interpretation of vapor-liquid equilibrium

Succeed at Process Integration

January
2004
Career Catalyst
Alan Rossiter
In the application of pinch analysis for energy efficiency improvement and process optimization, technical excellence is necessary and human interactions are important for project success.

Improve Energy Efficiency via Heat Integration

December
2010
Heat Transfer
Alan Rossiter
Process heat integration using pinch analysis is a respected tool for achieving energy efficiency. This article explains what pinch analysis is and how to use it in process design and operation to attain real-world energy efficiency gains.

Choosing Process Vacuum Pumps

August
2012
Back To Basics
Dr. Don Collins
Vacuum pumps are an integral part of many industrial facilities. Both processing objectives and budget constraints must be considered when selecting a specific pump.
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