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MEng Chemical Engineering / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Solids Processing

Unit code CHEN20061
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit consist of six main topics:

  1. Particle characterization and the motion of a single particle in a fluid: in this topic the methods used to describe particle size and shape are introduced and linked to how these particles move in a fluid. The focus will be on how to describe and evaluate the motion of particles through a fluid.
  2. Sedimentation – settlers and thickeners: in this topic the concepts of particles settling under gravity are explored. The focus will be on how to design industrial settlers and thickeners using knowledge of particle motion in a fluid.
  3. Centrifuges and Cyclones: in this topic the methods to enhance particle settling are explored. The focus will be on how to design centrifuges and cyclones for industrial processes using key design methodologies including Sigma theory and Stairmand’s design procedure.
  4. Fluid flow through packed beds: in this topic the basic principles of fluid flow through granular and packed beds of particles are introduced. The focus will be on how to describe, evaluate and analyse fluid flow through a bed of stationary particles using Darcy’s law and other empirical equations such as Ergun, Blake-Kozeny, Kozeny-Carmen, etc. 
  5. Fluid flow through fluidized beds: in this topic the main principles of fluidization and flow through fluidized beds are presented. The focus will be on how to describe the process of fluidization, the different fluidization regimes, Gerdart’s classification and fluidized bed. Furthermore, analyses and evaluation of how to estimate the minimum and maximum fluidization velocity and the benefit of pneumatic conveying will be presented.
  6. Filtration: in this topic the basic concepts of filtration is introduced. The focus will be on how to describe from fundamental principles fluid flow through a cake and medium filter system and how to design this unit operation.



The unit aims to:

Develop an understanding of various industrial solid processing units, their applications, and the fundamental principles where solid-fluid interactions are important in these units.


Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  1. Use methods to characterise solid particle sizes and shapes.
  2. Describe the motion of solid particles in a fluid-solid system.
  3. Design solid separating units such as settlers, thickeners, centrifuges, cyclones, and filters.
  4. Develop mathematical expressions to describe fluid flow through a bed of stationary and fluidized particles.
  5. Evaluate and analyse fluid flow through both stationary and fluidized solid systems.

Teaching and learning methods

The unit makes use of three main types of learning and teaching sessions:

  • Lecture sessions
  • Tutorial problem solving sessions
  • Drop-in discussion sessions

All materials are available via the e-learning platform of Blackboard including lecture notes, lecture podcasts, and sample solutions to the tutorial exercises. Communications outside of the scheduled teaching slots also make use of the Blackboard platform.

Assessment methods

Assessment task Weighting
Continuous assessment 30%
Exam style assessment 70%


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 16
Tutorials 8
Independent study hours
Independent study 76

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Thomas Rodgers Unit coordinator
Percy Van Der Gryp Unit coordinator

Additional notes

This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.

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