MEng Chemical Engineering / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Process Synthesis

Unit code CHEN30031
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit builds on knowledge and skills of core chemical engineering concepts (material and energy balances, chemical reaction engineering, chemical thermodynamics) and of chemical process design (process simulation, economic evaluation and inherently safer design).

The unit provides an overview of product and process design challenges and of approaches for process synthesis and optimisation. There is particular focus on choosing reaction pathways, on selecting reaction and separation technologies and on heat integration and on application of the principles for inherently safer design for chemical process synthesis.

A group exercise in which the business case for a promising design concept is developed provides a case study for initial appraisal of a design.

  1. Introduction to process synthesis
  2. Reaction process selection
  3. Separation process selection
  4. Heat integration and the utility system
  5. Development and evaluation of reaction–separation–recycle flowsheets
  6. Inher


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Process Design & Simulation CHEN21112 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


This unit aims to:

  • Help students develop understanding of and skills in chemical process synthesis, design, evaluation and optimisation
  • Support integration of chemical process design knowledge and skills already acquired
  • Provide an opportunity for students to propose a design concept for further exploration within the Design Project course unit (CHEN30012&CHEN30132)


Learning outcomes

LO 1.Develop, simulate, evaluate and analyse process flow sheets using simulation software.

ILO 2.Analyse important interactions and trade-offs in process synthesis and design

ILO 3.Identify hazards and propose inherently safer design solutions

ILO 4.Explain key decisions to be made during process synthesis, evaluation and optimisation

ILO 5.Use a logical approach to select technologies, operating conditions and flowsheet configurations for continuous processes

ILO 6.Apply heat integration techniques in process design

ILO 7.Appraise process flowsheets, considering safety and relevant performance criteria

ILO 8.Explain the role of optimisation in chemical process design and set up relevant problems

Teaching and learning methods


Problem-solving exercises

eLearning in Blackboard (additional resources, discussion board)

Assessment methods

Assessment task


Weighting within unit

Continuous assessment



Exam style assessment



Feedback methods

Marked test returned 2 weeks later

Project selection (start of Sem. 2)

Recommended reading

Core Reading

Smith, R., Chemical Process Design and Integration, 2 nd edition, 2016, Wiley, ISBN-13: 978- 1119990130 [Kortext]

Essential Reading

Towler, G.P. and Sinnott, R.K., Chemical Engineering Design: Principles, Practice and Economics of Plant and Process Design, 5th edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2012, ISBN-13: 978-0080966595 [Online via Elsevier Science Direct Books]

All reading lists now must be managed through the library tool at: 

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Megan Jobson 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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