MEng Chemical Engineering

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Process Synthesis

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEN30031
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


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

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

A group exercise provides a case study for initial appraisal of a design.

  • Introduction to process synthesis
  • Reaction process selection
  • Separation process selection
  • Heat integration and the utility system
  • Development and evaluation of reaction–separation–recycle flowsheets
  • Inherently safer design – application to process synthesis
  • Process design optimisation


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

Students will be able to:

  • Develop, simulate, evaluate, analyse and improve process flow sheets using appropriate methods and tools.
  • Analyse important interactions and trade-offs in process synthesis and design
  • Identify hazards and propose inherently safer design solutions
  • Explain key decisions to be made during process synthesis, evaluation and optimisation
  • Use a logical approach to select technologies, operating conditions and flowsheet configurations for continuous processes
  • Apply heat integration techniques in process design
  • Appraise process flowsheets, considering safety and relevant performance criteria
  • 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

Mid-semester Exam Style Assessment



Final Exam



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, 2nd 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

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 24
Independent study hours
Independent study 76

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Wennie Subramonian Unit coordinator
Salman Shahid Unit coordinator

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