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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CAPE3301 Separation Processes

20 creditsClass Size: 230

Module manager: Dr X Mao

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20


CAPE1020Engineering Science 1
CAPE2010Engineering Science 2

This module is mutually exclusive with

CAPE5301MSeparation Processes

This module is not approved as a discovery module


After completion of the module, students should understand the following:
- basic concepts related to separation processes;
- fundamentals theories related to the separation processes;
- methodologies for designing simple separation devices.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students will be familiar with essential aspects of gas-liquid separation by absorption/desorption and distillation. They will understand the underlying physics associated with separation processes, including analogies between mass, momentum and heat transfers and be able to design absorption and distillation columns, falling film column using established theoretical approaches.

Skills outcomes
- Ability to understand underlying physics associated with separation processes
- Methodologies for designing devices for separation processes
- Transferable skills in linking fundamental theories to real world processes
- Written communication
- Critical reasoning
- Time and self management


Overview of separation processes

Mass transfer:
- Revision of diffusion through gases and liquids - Fick's law
- Mechanism of absorption and desorption
- Mass transfer at gas/liquid interfaces
- The two-film theory and concentration profiles
- Concept of resistance to mass transfer
- Definition of overall and film coefficients
- Design of absorption columns for low concentration gases - definition of height and number of transfer units
- The general case of absorption of gases at high concentration/high flux cases
- Wetted walls columns and calculation of transfer coefficients
- Analogies of mass, heat and momentum transfer and definition of 'j' factors
- Co-current and countercurrent contacting
- Equilibrium conditions, tie lines and their extrapolation
- Liquid-liquid extraction.

- Batch and continuous distillation
- Differential and flash distillation
- Separation of binary mixtures and multi-component mixtures
- The fractionating column for continuous distillation
- Principal features of construction and principles of operation
- Plate columns, bubble cap, sieve, and valve trays, etc
- MacCabe-Thiele graphical method
- Ponchon Savarit graphical method
- Lewis-Sorel method
- Lewis-Matheson method
- Underwood and Fenske equations
- Colburn method
- Pinch point for binary and multi-component systems
- Minimum reflux and total reflux
- Optimum number of plates
- Separation efficiency.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours158.00
Total Contact hours42.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

1.5 hours reading per lecture
96 hours on revision

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Questions during lectures; examinations

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 50.00
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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