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This subject is divided into advanced thermodynamics (approximately 9 weeks) and advanced reactor engineering (approximately 3 weeks).
The laws of thermodynamics, which govern energy and the direction of energy flow, are amongst the most important fundamentals of chemical engineering that students learn during their course. This subject revises and expands the students’ understanding of the conservation of energy, learnt through subjects such as Chemical Process Analysis. In addition the students learn about the concepts of entropy and equilibrium, which form the basis for the topics of phase equilibrium, mixture properties, mixture equilibrium, reaction equilibrium and interfacial equilibrium – topics that stretch across the entire chemical engineering curriculum.
The reactor engineering component of the course focuses on heterogeneous reactions and the influence of mass transfer on chemical reactions and reaction design. The topics are solid-catalysed reactions, fluid-fluid reactions and fluid-solid reactions. During the subject, students learn about the effect of mass transfer on the overall rate of reaction and how to account for heterogeneous systems in reactor design.
The concepts covered by this subject provide the fundamental basis for chemical and process engineering and are utilised throughout all sectors of industry by engineers. This subject provides students with the ability to perform detailed calculations of complex systems to predict the performance and thus design process unit operations.
The advanced thermodynamics component focuses on the definitions and applications of the laws of thermodynamics, especially the implications of entropy and equilibrium on phases, mixtures, chemical reactions and interfaces:
- 1st Law of Thermodynamics: Closed and open systems, Unit operations, Thermodynamic cycles
- 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: Entropy, Reversibility and Spontaneity, Gibb’s Equations, Thermodynamic Identities and Maxwell Relations
- Phase Equilibria of Pure Substances: Equilibrium Criteria, Fugacity
- Mixtures and Phase Equilibria of Mixtures: Partial Molar Properties, Gibbs-Duhem equation, Chemical Potential, Species Fugacity, Activity Coefficients, Vapour-Liquid equilibrium, Colligative Properties, Liquid-Liquid equilibrium
- Chemical Reactions and Reaction Equilibria: Equilibrium Constant, Species Activity
- Interfacial Thermodynamics: Surface Tension, Adsorption Isotherms.
The advanced reactor engineering component focuses on mass-transfer limitations in multi-phase chemical reactions and reactor design:
- Non-ideal flow in reactors
- Rate controlling mechanisms (film resistance control, chemical reaction control, surface and pore diffusion control, ash layer diffusion, shrinking core mechanisms, effectiveness factors and Thiele modulus)
- Kinetic regimes for fluid-fluid and gas-fluid reactions
- Fluid-particle reaction design
- Catalytic reactor systems.
Intended learning outcomes
INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES (ILOs)
On completion of this subject the student is expected to:
- Apply the laws of thermodynamics to closed and open systems including thermodynamic cycles
- Discuss a range of approaches to estimate fluid phase equilibria in one and two component systems
- Estimate the physical properties of mixtures, especially non-ideal mixtures
- Predict the equilibria of chemical reactions
- Understand and identify the different rate controlling mechanisms in reactor design
- Solve problems in the design of heterogeneous reacting systems and in particular catalytic reactor systems.
During this subject the student will practice the ability to:
- Provide in-depth technical competence in engineering fundamentals
- Undertake problem identification, formulation and solution
- Utilise a systems approach to design and operational performance.
Last updated: 9 October 2020