Interview: Anjana Meel of Safer Systems on Handling Spills [On Location]

April 23, 2012

During the poster session at the Spring Meeting and 8th Global Congress on Process Safety, we spoke with Anjana Meel, research and development engineer at Safer Systems, to discuss her research on spills. The research compares shrinking vs. non-shrinking spills to help process safety engineers deal with spills quickly and efficiently.

Highlight a Benefit: AIChE eLibrary

February 7, 2012

Quick! Tell me how Stratco has improved its sulfuric acid alkylation process in the last twenty years. Or design and specify a heat exchanger so it can put out to vendors for bid. Wait, you mean you don't know how to do that? Fortunately AIChE has you covered. AIChE has partnered with not only Knovel but also McGraw-Hill to provide its members access to their very extensive online library of technical books. It's AIChE’s eLibrary.

Free Renewable Energy App and U.S. Renewable Energy Atlas

February 6, 2012

The DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) just released a tsunami of useful data – but one tool can help wade through some of it. NREL's new interactive geospatial app allows anyone to easily and accurately map potential renewable energy resources throughout the United States directly from a Web browser.

Three Free Online Databases Chemical Engineers Can't Live Without

December 26, 2011

IBM announced plans to give the National Institutes of Health a database of more than 2.4 million chemical compounds. NIH will add this information to PubChem, a freely available database of chemical structures of small organic molecules and information on their biological activities.

Forward Osmosis Pilot Plant for Seawater Desalination

November 7, 2011

Forward osmosis offsets some of the high costs of reverse osmosis, but large-scale systems necessarily introduce one or more additional unit ops to recover the extracted water from the draw solution utilized. Young Kim of the Korea Institue of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) discussed her work on a forward osmosis pilot plant.

Produced Water Treatment with Ceramic Membranes

November 2, 2011

The volume and complexity of produced water (PW) generated in the oil and gas extraction industry provides a significant separations and treatment challenge. Because of its source, PW is contaminated with hydrocarbons and inorganic leachates from the rock strata where the well is drilled. Bruce Bishop of Veolia Water presented the results of ceramic membrane systems trials in different process environments.

Life-Cycle Assessment Comparison of Ultraviolet and Chemical Disinfection

October 31, 2011

The equipment and capital scope of an ultraviolet (UV) disinfection systems seems so much more substantial than a simple chemical feed and contact arrangement. If a Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) is performed, however, and other less-obvious sustainability factors are considered, the choice is no longer so cut and dried.

Comparison of Ceramic and Polymeric Membranes for Micro- and Ultrafiltration

October 26, 2011

Katie Guerra, P.E., of the Bureau of Reclamation reported on her efforts to put to the test the common assumptions that ceramic micro- and ultrafiltration systems, though more robust and forgiving, have such a high capital cost that polymeric membrane systems provide a lower total operating cost advantage.

Interviews with Leading Engineers: Q&A with Eric Maynard

September 29, 2011

Mixing, blending, and segregation are routinely practiced across a wide spectrum of industries, but how many engineers are relying on hunch and inherited practices instead of hard science? Far too many, according to expert Eric Maynard of Jenike & Johanson. Read on for his observations and insights into these common processes.

World's First 3D-Printed Plane Takes to the Skies

July 28, 2011

Scientists have successfully flown the world's first 3D printed plane. Created entirely with printing technology, the plane went from design to completion in one week. Thanks to its novel manufacturing process, it has no fasteners and even its moving parts were printed all at once.

The Entire Human Genome at Your Fingertips on an iPad Near You—Free

June 27, 2011

Logging too much time on your iPad playing Angry Birds? How about a truly productive app? Browse the human genome on your iPad. Twelve years ago the complete genome wasn't even accessible. Now you can hold the work of Celera Corporation, government universities, and research centers from around the world in your hands. Isn't this is the way technology is supposed to work, making life simpler and more productive at the same time? Take your iPad to the lab guilt-free and share it with colleagues.

Preventing the Membrane Problem Most Foul [On Location]

March 15, 2011

Dr. Benny Freeman of the University of Texas at Austin presented some promising results of his team’s efforts to coat membrane surfaces with materials that greatly reduce fouling rates, and also allow for more effective cleaning when necessary.

Codes, Tags and Labels—Interpreting Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams

October 27, 2010

P&IDs may be viewed as a database of equipment, devices, lines and various sundry items that make up a process plant. Like a properly designed database, the tagging method employed on P&IDs needs to be robust and extensible. This Part 4 reviews key considerations and presents techniques that can be applied.

The Performance Appraisal System: Part 2 of Effective Employee Performance Management

October 27, 2010

A formal Performance Appraisal System is a necessity in a growing and successful business or organization. It demonstrates a consistency of understanding and formal communication of what is expected, what is applauded, and what is not acceptable. Everyone is on the same page, senior management, yourself, and the appraised employee.

The SBE Web-Lab Initiative

October 25, 2010

Imagine the traditional laboratory setting in an undergraduate engineering class. Now imagine the ability to remotely operate and manipulate lab equipment housed miles away in a central facility.

Multiple schools, no matter their physical location, could have access to these web-based experiments and incorporate it into their curriculum.

The Performance Appraisal Process: Part 1 of Effective Employee Performance Management

October 20, 2010

Performance management efforts can be likened to a good maintenance program for your car. If you neglect it, you can continue to motor along…for a time. However, you may find that when you need to “step on the gas” you don’t have enough speed to pass your competitors. So, how do you manage your teams’ performance to make sure that they are “firing on all cylinders?”

Interpreting Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams-Symbology

September 22, 2010

Get a thorough explanation of symbology as it relates to Piping and Instrumentation-controls symbology, tag identification, I/O devices, valve symbol, primary flow element, horizontal line types, dashes, and more.

As I mentioned in Part 2, the meanings of the various symbols used on P&IDs (aka, symbology) are defined on separate drawings called “Lead Sheets” (or Legend Sheets). These are your “secret decoder rings” to P&ID symbology interpretation. Every company that builds process plants should have a set of lead sheets customized to their particular ways and means.

Successful Delegation in Six Steps

September 21, 2010

The rewards of a successful delegation effort are three-fold: 1) More and/or more advanced tasks are accomplished by the employee; 2) Employee satisfaction increases as they become a more valuable team member and; 3) The team becomes more talented and capable to fulfill the changing needs of the business.

Evaluating Distillation Column Performance

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.

A Novel TPOX-Based "Swiss-Roll" Fuel Reformer

Conference Presentation
AIChE Annual Meeting
November 19, 2014
A compact, non-catalytic, thermal partial oxidation (TPOX) based reformer has been developed to provide hydrogen-rich syngas to solid oxide fuel...

Convection Battery - Elimination of Dendrite Failure

Conference Presentation
AIChE Annual Meeting
November 3, 2013
The convection battery pumps liquid electrolyte between the electrode and counter-electrode. It is different from flow batteries in that the same...

Transient Studies of a Sodium-Sulfur Cell

Conference Presentation
AIChE Annual Meeting
November 3, 2013
In the modern grid era , multiple fossil-fueled power generation facilities and renewable energy sources are expected to interact actively. Power...

Project Execution Using the Stage Gate Process

Conference Presentation
Southwest Process Technology Conference
October 4, 2013
In recent years more and more projects are being executed effectively using the “Stage Gate” process. This presentation provides an overview of the...

Ten Steps to an Effective Bin Design

Back To Basics
Eric Maynard
Before choosing a bin and hopper for your bulk solids application, the flow properties and characteristics of the powder or bulk material must be known. Use this ten-step approach to determine the optimal bin design for your process.

Easy Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency

Alan P. 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.

Control Boiler Emissions through Work Practices and Energy Management

Environmental Management
James Robinson
The Boiler MACT regulation provides compliance options that include pollution-abatement equipment, work practices, and energy efficiency improvements. An energy management and reporting system (EMRS) can be a part of a plant’s compliance strategy.

SBE Update

SBE Special Section
June Wispelwey
Improving Biopharmaceutical Development

Select the Best Model for Two-Phase Relief Sizing

Ronald Darby, Ron Darby, Paul R. Meiller, & Jarad R. Stockton
A variety of methods exist for sizing valves, but not all give the best predictions for certain conditions. RonDarby-PaulR.Meiller-JaradR.Stockton-

Consider Single-Use Equipment for Biomanufacturing

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.

Evaluating Centrifugal Compressor Performance

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.

Selecting a Centrifugal Compressor

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.

Selecting Baffles for Shell-and-Tube Heat Exchangers

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.

Applying the Paradigm Case Method for Flowmeter Selection

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.

Diagnosing Maldistribution in Towers

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.

Assess the Performance of Positive-Displacement Pumps

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.

Be Smart about Column Design

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

Cut Agitator Power Costs

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.

Using Process Flowsheets as Communication Tools

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.

Solid-Liquid Separation: A Guide to Centrifuge Selection

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.

Choosing Process Vacuum Pumps

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.

Using Automation to Produce Quality Pharmaceuticals

Joseph S. Alford, P.E.
Automation can pay large dividends in the form of reduced process cycle times, lower operational costs, and more-consistent processes for manufacturing high-quality pharmaceutical products.


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