00501 - Introduction to Unit Operations in the Chemical Industry

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Moduli: Giuseppina Montante (Modulo 1) Federico Alberini (Modulo 2) Davide Pinelli (Modulo 3)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2) Traditional lectures (Modulo 3)
  • Campus: Rimini
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Chemistry and Technologies for the Environment and Materials (cod. 8514)

Learning outcomes

The purpose of this course is to present and discuss elementary tools for the understanding of the performance of equipment and plants in the chemical and process industry. The first goal is to provide the students with basic tools for the study of selected apparatus and operations and for making quantitative previsions about the performance of separation processes and chemical reactors; an additional goal is to discuss the main features of typical equipment of the chemical industry.

Course contents

- Algebraic, trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic functions. Fundamentals of calculus. Linear differential equations. Integrals in one real variable (Mathematics).
- Physical quantities and relationships that bind them, main units of measure. (Physics).
- Chemical reactions and their balance. Interpretation of pressure and temperature of a gas- Mixtures of gases and Dalton law of partial pressures (General and Inorganic Chemistry).
- Basic thermodynamic applications to chemical processes. Definition of thermodynamic system (open, closed, isolated, adiabatic). First law of thermodynamics. Equation of state of an ideal gas. Mixtures of ideal gas and Dalton's law (Physical Chemistry).

Part 1 - Prof.ssa Giuseppina Montante

Material and energy balances for chemical equipment and plants.

Models for equipment for the chemical and process industry: equilibrium stage, design and rating problems. 

Separation Processes: principles, working characteristics, design elements and rating problems relative to the following unit operations: Humidification and drying; Flash distillation.

Fluid flow: regimes for the flow in tubes and pipes, Bernoulli's equation, pressure drops, pumps.

Part 2 - 

Interphase mass transfer: phase and overall mass transfer coefficients; mean logarithmic composition difference.

Heat transfer: conduction, convection, overall transfer coefficients, mean logarithmic temperature difference, heat exchangers.

Separation Processes: principles, working characteristics, design elements and rating problems relative to the following unit operations: absorption and stripping (in staged and packed columns).

Part 3 - Prof. Davide Pinelli

Separation Processes: principles, working characteristics, design elements and rating problems relative to the following unit operations: evaporation; adsorption.

Simplified fluid dynamics models: perfect mixing and plug flow.

Chemical reactors: main types; isothermal ideal reactors (batch, CSTR, PFR) and performance comparison; design criteria and rating problems; yield and selectivity problems.



  • R.M. Felder, R.W. Rousseau, Elementary Principles of Chemical Processes, 3^ ed., Wiley, 2000. 
  • W.L. McCabe, J.C. Smith, P. Harriott, Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering, 5^ ed., McGraw-Hill, 1993.

[Though warmly recommended to the students for widening their knowledge of the various topics, these books are not formally adopted as textbooks nor followed in a detailed way].

Teaching methods

The lessons on the above-mentioned topics and solution of exercises are given in class in the standard format, according to the official timetable. The exercises are aimet at helping the students to gradually acquire the skills to solve simple calculations as well as to apply their knowledgeto to the solution of practical problems

Assessment methods

The aim of the final examination is to evaluate the achievement of the main goals of the course, specifically:

- the capability to adopt suitable analysis and calculation techniques, which are presented during the course, in order to understand the working principles of the equipment and the basis design rules, in addition to the understanding of the chemical and physical phenomena occurring in equipment and processes of the chemical industry;

- the capability to use the outcomes obtained by the above analysis to improve the performances of equipment and processes of the chemical industry.

The final assessment will be via a written exam consisting in the solution of three exercises and an oral part. During the written assessment, the use of books, drawings, plots, tables, memoranda and text of exercises is allowed. The goal of this assessment is to check if the student is able to solve exercises on various topics of the course. The goal of the oral part is to ascertain the full understanding of both the basic principles and the design rules of equipment and processes considered during the course. The score is given in thirtieths. Based on the oral part evaluation, the final mark will be equal to plus or minus 3 with respect to the score obtained in the written part.

Teaching tools

Syllabus, drawings, plots, tables and text of exercises.

Office hours

See the website of Giuseppina Montante

See the website of Federico Alberini

See the website of Davide Pinelli


Good health and well-being Affordable and clean energy Industry, innovation and infrastructure

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.