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MEng Chemical Engineering / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Process Design

Unit code CHEN30120
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Offered by Department of Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science
Available as a free choice unit? No


Process design is the most important skill in the education of chemical engineers. This unit provides a link between the taught units in the first 3 years of the course to provide the core skills required to perform the design of a chemical process.


Lecture 1        Chemical Process Projects

The process design problem. Cost estimates. New design and retrofit. Design hazard management. Project phases.

Lecture 2        Hot Utilities

Heat integration and the role of utilities in energy balancing. Steam systems and cogeneration. Steam levels. Steam distribution. Fired heaters. Choice of hot utility for a given temperature.

Lecture 3        Cold Utilities

Recirculating cooling water systems. Air coolers. Pure component refrigeration systems. Multiple refrigeration levels. Cascade systems. Mixed refrigerants. Choice of cold utility for a given temperature.

Lecture 4        Reliability, Maintainability and Availability Concepts

Basic reliability theory as applied to chemical process equipment. Maintainability and availability for individual items of equipment.

Lecture 5        Reliability, Maintainability and Availability of Systems

Fault trees and reliability block diagrams. Series and parallel systems. Standby equipment.

Lecture 6        Process Control – Concepts

Basic feedback control loops. Cascade and ratio control. Computer control and distributed control systems. Alarms. Representation.

Lecture 7        Process Control  - Flowrate and Inventory Control

Flowrate control. Inventory control of liquids and gases. Direction of inventory control. Recycle inventory control.

Lecture 8        Process Control – Degrees of Freedom

Degrees of freedom and control.

Lecture 9        Process Control - Control of Process Operations

Control of process operations. Control of pumps, compressors, heat exchangers, flash drums, distillation, reactors.

Lecture 10      Process Control  - Overall Process Control

Synthesis of overall process control systems. Control interactions.

Lecture 11      Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams – Piping and Pressure Relief

Piping systems, pressure relief and emergency discharge in P&IDs.

Lecture 12      Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams - Process Operations

P&IDs for pumps, compressors, heat exchangers, distillation and liquid storage.

Lecture 13      Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams – Construction

Construction of P&IDs for complete processes.



Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Process Synthesis CHEN30031 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Process Control CHEN30091 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


The unit aims to:


  • Develop the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to select heating and cooling duties required to service a process design.
  • Develop the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to analyse the reliability, maintainability and availability aspects of a process design.
  • Develop knowledge of process control to be able to synthesise the control system for an overall chemical process.
  • Develop the background knowledge necessary to be able to create a piping and instrumentation diagram for a chemical process.


Learning outcomes

ILO 1.Select heating and cooling duties required to service a process design.

ILO 2.Analyse the reliability, maintainability and availability aspects of a process design.

ILO 3.Synthesise the control systems for individual process operations and overall chemical processes.

ILO 4.Create a piping and instrumentation diagram for a chemical process.

Teaching and learning methods

Blended learning sessions. Sessions include exercises to consolidate formal learning.

 All teaching material available in Blackboard. Blackboard is employed to provide lecture notes, additional materials, and feedback on problems and examples.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%

Recommended reading


Core Reading

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

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.

Further Reading

Buckley PS (1964) Techniques of Process Control, Wiley. ISBN-10: 0471116556.

Luyben WL, Tyreus BD and Luyben ML (1999) Plantwide Process Control, McGraw-Hill ISBN 0-07-006779-1.

Mannan S (2012) Lees' Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 4th Edition, Butterworth-Heinemann 0-7506-1547-8.

Ebeling CE (1997) An Introduction to Reliability and Maintainability Engineering, McGraw-Hill ISBN 0-07-018852-1.

Henley EJ and Kumamoto H (1981) Reliability Engineering and Risk Assessment, Prentice-Hall ISBN 0-13-772251-6.



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 24
Independent study hours
Independent study 76

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Robin Smith 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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