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Systematic Methods for Chemical Process Design
Author: Biegler, Lorenz T. / Westerberg, Arthur W.

Cover: Hard cover
Pages: 796
List Price: $91.00
Published by Prentice Hall
Date Published: 05/1997
ISBN: 0134924223


Design is perhaps the quintessential engineering activity. Based on mathematics, basic science, engineering science, and flavored by the humanities and social science, engineering design is the devising of an artifact, system, or process to best meet a stated objective. Engineering design involves development of specifications and criteria, and the synthesis, analysis, construction, testing, and evaluation of alternative solutions to best meet the desired criteria in light of safety, reliability, economic, aesthetic, ethical, and social considerations. Engineering accreditation bodies recognize the fundamental importance of design through requirements that modern design theories, methodologies, and open-ended, creative design experiences be integrated into all engineering programs.

Chemical process design is the subject of this book. Chemical processes are primarily concerned with making materials from which other articles are manufactured. Materials made by chemical processes span the range from metals and ceramics to fibers and fuels, from resins and refrigerants to elastomers and explosives, from paper and polymers to pharmaceuticals and preservatives, from crop protectants and container plastics to computer chips and catalysts, colorants, solvents, intermediates, foods, clean water, and on and on. These materials in turn are made by batch, continuous, and sometimes biological processes on scales from a few grams to billions of kilograms per year.

Chemical processes are also unique among engineered artifacts in that often they are simultaneously capital cost intensive and operating expense intensive, are designed for very long lifetimes, and sometimes are not readily adaptable to the production of materials much different from those for which they were designed. The potential of many years of continuing incurred costs underlines the importance of achieving the very best manufacturing process possible. Furthermore, although optimization is an integral part of each stage in the entire chemical process innovation cycle from chemistry development through plant construction and operation, the process design itself has a disproportional impact on ultimate economic performance. It has been estimated that decisions reached during process design, an activity which accounts for perhaps two or three percent of the project cost, fix approximately eighty percent of the capital and operating expenses of the final plant. This impact is too great to be left to chance and is the impetus for the. development of systematic methods for chemical processes design.

This book describes such systematic methods for a number of chemical process design activities including the synthesis, analysis, evaluation, and optimization of chemical process alternatives. It is unique among currently available texts in the field in both its breadth of coverage and its use of optimization as a fundamental design paradigm. The typical introductory process design material on individual equipment sizing and costing is followed with discussion of modern process simulation and optimization techniques which enable a better understanding of the sensitivity of design parameters on initial capital costs, continuing operating costs, and the overall economic attractiveness of any given flowsheet. This is followed by a discussion of a number of basic systematic methods by which various sections of a process flowsheet are generated in the first place. A proficiency in such alternative invention is becoming a critical process engineering skill. Finally, the last part of the book describes a novel approach to process alternative generation based on the application of algorithmic mathematical optimization techniques to the making of structural design decisions. It is an advanced synthesis approach that coupled with ever increasing computational capability may very well revolutionize the practice of chemical process design.

Jeffrey J. Siirola
Research Fellow
Eastman Chemical Company
Kingsport, Tennessee