MEng Chemical Engineering

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Process Design

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEN30122
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
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. The Module will be delivered through recorded lectures on Blackboard and three workshops. This course focuses on the following topics:

Workshop 1 - Process Integration and Utilities

  • Energy Targeting and Design for Maximum Energy Recovery
  • Composite curves. Problem table. Grand composite curve. Targeting utilities using the grand composite curve. Pinch design method. Automated network design.
  • Putting Process Integration into Practice
  • Extraction of stream data from flowsheets.
  • Hot Utilities
  • Steam systems and cogeneration. Steam distribution. Use of steam tables for energy balancing. Fired heaters. 
  • Cold Utilities
  • Recirculating cooling water systems. Air coolers. Pure component refrigeration systems. Multiple refrigeration levels. Cascade systems. 

Workshop 2 – Process Control

  • Process Control – Concepts
  • Basic feedback control loops. Cascade and ratio control. Computer control and distributed control systems. Alarms. Representation.
  • Process Control - Flowrate and Inventory Control
  • Flowrate control. Inventory control of liquids and gases. Direction of inventory control. Recycle inventory control.
  • Process Control – Degrees of Freedom
  • Process Control - Control of Process Operations
  • Process Control - Overall Process Control
  • Synthesis of overall process control systems. Control interactions.

Workshop 3 – Reliability, maintainability and PIDs

  • Reliability, Maintainability and Availability Concepts
  • Basic reliability theory as applied to chemical process equipment. Maintainability and availability for individual items of equipment.
  • Reliability, Maintainability and Availability of Systems
  • Fault trees and reliability block diagrams. Series and parallel systems. Standby equipment.
  • Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams – Piping and Pressure Relief
  • Piping systems, pressure relief and emergency discharge in P&IDs.
  • Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams - Process Operations
  • P&IDs for pumps, heat exchangers, distillation and liquid storage


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 skills to create maximum heat recovery schemes in practice in a process design.

Develop the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to select heating and cooling utilities required to service a process design.

Develop knowledge of process control to be able to synthesise the control system for an overall chemical process.

Develop the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to analyse the reliability, maintainability and availability aspects of a process design.

Develop the background knowledge necessary to be able to create a piping and instrumentation diagram for a chemical process.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to: 

ILO1. Synthesise a maximum heat recovery system for a process.

ILO2. Select heating and cooling utilities required to service a process design.

ILO3. Synthesise the control systems for individual process operations and overall chemical processes.

ILO4. Analyse the reliability, maintainability and availability aspects of a process design.

ILO5. Create a piping and instrumentation diagram for a chemical process

Teaching and learning methods

Fundamental aspects supporting the critical learning of the module will be delivered as pre-recorded asynchronous short videos via our virtual learning environment. These will be supported by synchronous sessions (three one-day workshops) with master lecture content, Q&A, and problem-solving. Attendance is compulsory for workshops and non-attendance will be penalised.

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.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 20%
Written exam 80%

Mid-semester exam-style assessments

Feedback methods

Feedback on problems and examples, feedback on coursework and exams, and support 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.

Recommended reading

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

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 32
Lectures 24
Independent study hours
Independent study 44

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Robin Smith Unit coordinator
Nan Zhang Unit coordinator

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