MEng Chemical Engineering

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Solids Processing

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEN20061
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by
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

ILO 1: Use methods to characterise solid particle sizes and shapes.

ILO 2: Describe the motion of solid particles in a fluid-solid system.

ILO 3 :Design solid separating units such as settlers, thickeners, centrifuges, cyclones, and filters.

ILO 4: Design force enhanced solid separating units such as centrifuges and cyclones.

ILO 5: Develop mathematical expressions to describe, evaluate, and analyse fluid flow through a bed of stationary and fluidized particles.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures provide fundamental aspects supporting the critical learning of the module and will be delivered as pre-recorded asynchronous short videos via our virtual learning environment.

Synchronous sessions will support the lecture material with Q&A and problem-solving sessions where you can apply the new concepts. Surgery hours are also available for drop-in support.

Feedback on problems and examples, feedback on coursework and exams, and model answers will also be provided through the virtual learning environment. A discussion board provides an opportunity to discuss topics related to the material presented in the module.

Students are expected to expand the concepts presented in the session and online by additional reading (suggested in the Online Reading List) in order to consolidate their learning process and further stimulate their interest to the module.

Study budget:

  • Core Learning Material (e.g. recorded lectures, problem solving sessions): 24 hours
  • Self-Guided Work (e.g. continuous assessment, extra problems, reading)     : 44 hours
  • Exam Style Assessment Revision and Preparation: 32 hours

Assessment methods

Assessment Types

Total Weighting

Continuous assessment


Exam style assessments


Please note that the exam style assessments weighting may be split over midterm and end of semester exams.

Recommended reading

Reading lists are accessible through the Blackboard system linked to the library catalogue.

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.

Return to course details