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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CAPE3301 Separation Processes

20 creditsClass Size: 230

Module manager: Dr X Mao

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

Year running 2022/23


CAPE1020Engineering Science 1
CAPE2050Engineering Science 2

This module is mutually exclusive with

CAPE5375MSeparation Process Technologies

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
Students completing this module will:
- be able to appreciate the chemical engineering context of separation techniques and those processes using physical means to achieve separation;
- gain a sound understanding of the underlying physics including analogies between mass, momentum and heat transfer, and of the mass transfer at phase interfaces and the resistance to mass transfer;
- be able to apply the principles of material and energy balance and appreciate the thermodynamic and transport properties of fluids and their effect on the phase equilibrium;
- have a knowledge and understanding of the principles of different types of processes, including continuous and batch operation under steady state and criteria for process selection;
- have a knowledge of the characteristics and essential aspects of gas-liquid separation by absorption/desorption and distillation;
- be able to carry out equipment design calculation for absorption and distillation columns, falling film and tray columns using established theoretical approaches and applying rigorous and shortcut calculations, to deliver required products;
- be able to identify the objectives and context of the design calculation according to technical requirements, and appreciate the constraints and multiple objectives to reach optimal design.

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

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentTest15.00
In-course AssessmentTest15.00
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: 12/07/2022


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