Chemical Engineering Practice

Implementing an EHS Management Information System

May
2004
Information Technology
Jill Barson Gilbert
Information technology issues are just as important as business and environmental, health and safety considerations. Follow these ten tips to deply an effective EMIS with a positive return on investment.

Eliminate Iteration from Flow Problems

March
2008
Fluids and Solids Handling
John D. Barry
This article introduces a novel approach to solving flow and pipe-sizing problems based on two new dimensionless quantities that are independent of line size and flow.

Predicting Emissivities of Combustion Gases

June
2009
Heat Transfer
Alireza Bahadori, Hari B. Vuthaluru
Use this new correlation, which employs easy-to-solve algebraic equations to estimate gas emissivities, to simplify the design and optimization of boilers, furnaces and other combustion equipment.

Learn to Effectively Operate and Maintain Pumps

December
2011
Back To Basics
Daniel Kernan
Centrifugal pumps play a central role in chemical processing. Proper pump operation and maintenance can improve a facility's productivity, reduce downtime, and trim costs.

Optimize Mixing by Selecting the Proper Baffles

February
2002
Fluids and Solids Handling
Julian B. Fasano, Kevin J. Myers, Mark F. Reeder
It is common knowledge that baffles promote better flow in an agitated vessel, but how to apply them and what kind to use take some ingenuity.

Profiting From Your Pumping System

September
2003
Fluids and Solids Handling
Aimee McKane  , Vestal Tutterow,  Don Casada
Identify ways to minimize the lifecycle costs of your pumping system

Improve Solids Handling During Thermal Drying

November
2004
Fluids and Solids Handling
Herman Purutyan, John W. Carson, Thomas G. Troxel
Follow these guidelines for ensuring the proper flow of slurries, pastes and wet powders to achieve a dried product with the desired characteristics.

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
James R. Reinhardt, Terrence L. Chambers
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>

Identifying Corrosion and Its Causes

April
2011
Fluids and Solids Handling
Gary Geiger, Mel J. Esmacher, P.E.
An important first step in maintaining equipment reliability and efficiency is understanding the various types of corrosion damage that can occur.

Realize Greater Benefits from CFD

March
2001
Fluids and Solids Handling
Ahmad H. Haidari, Andre  Bakker,  Lanre M. Oshinowo
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
Dennis O'Brien, Douglas A. Stewart, James W. Harris, Michael A. Schultz, Mohamed S.M. Shakur, Steven P. Rosenblum
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, Michelle R. Murphy, Surendra K. Singh
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, Marco S. Satyro, Rajeev  Agarwal, Yau-Kun Li,  Oscar  Santollani
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
Victor Norton ,  William Wilkie
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
Dominic Chwan Yee Foo, Michael Lynn McGuire, Murugan Selvan, Zainuddin Abdul Manan
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.

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

Designing a Facility for API Development

March
2006
Plant Design
Terrence Fay, Yasha Zelmanovich
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.

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.

Design Reactors via CFD

December
2001
Reactions and Separations
Ahmad H. Haidari, Andre Bakker, Elizabeth M. Marshall
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
Gregory T. Benz, Ling Du
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
Kiran Nair, Liyakat Jaffer, Meredith Chapeaux, Sheetal Patel, 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
A. G. Dastidar, Faisal I. Khan, P. R. Amyotte
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>

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
Brad A. Walker, James E. Lenhart, Karen D. Smith
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
Andrew C. Burden, Pradeep B. Deshpande, Roberto Z. Tantalean
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, Reed J. Hendershot, Timothy D. Lebrecht
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.

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.

Select the Right Spray Nozzle

June
2001
Reactions and Separations
Peter  Welander, Terra L. Vincent
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.

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.

Should You Use Enhanced Tubes?

April
2002
Heat Transfer
Graham T. Polley, Mohamad R. Jafari Nasr
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, Aristos Aristidou , J. J. Hahn , 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.

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.

Properly Clean Out Your Organic Heat-Transfer Fluid System

May
2001
Heat Transfer
Ander  Beain, Jay  Heidari,  Conrad  Gamble
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
David  Jaber, Fred L. Hart, Gilbert A. McCoy
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.
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