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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CAPE5375M Separation Process Technologies

20 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr X Mao

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is mutually exclusive with

CAPE3301Separation Processes

Module replaces

CAPE5301M Separation Processes

This module is not approved as an Elective


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

Learning outcomes
1. On completion of the module students will be familiar with essential aspects of gas-liquid separation by absorption/desorption and distillation.
2. 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.
3. This module also considers a number of advanced concepts, such as non-isothermal absorption and mathematical modelling of mass transfer in falling films for the case of slow flux within the film and uniform interfacial solute concentration.

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
- Absorption accompanied by chemical reactions
- Non-isothermal absorption.

- 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
- McCabe-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

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment21.002.00
Private study hours156.00
Total Contact hours44.00
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, feedback from tests.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentClass Test 115.00
In-course AssessmentClass Test 215.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 35.00
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 35.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

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: 10/11/2021 11:32:06


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