73549 - Unit Operations In The Food Industry M

Course Unit Page


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

Clean water and sanitation Industry, innovation and infrastructure Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

Knowledge about the fundamentals of chemical reactor engineering with particular emphasis on the criteria for the choice of the reactor configuration and of the operative conditions. Presentation and application of specific tools for the analysis, design and optimization of reactors.

Course contents

Requirements/Prior knowledge

A prior knowledge and understanding of local and integral balances of mass and energy balances, fluid dynamics models (perfect mixing and plug flow) is required to attend with profit this course.

In addition, students should master the utilization of spreadsheets and software tools for the numerical solution of ordinary differential equations and systems of algebraic equations.

Fluent spoken and written Italian is a necessary pre-requisite: all lectures and tutorials, and all study material will be in Italian.

Course Contents

Kinetic analysis of reactions: integral and differential methods.

Differential reactor.

Linear and non linear regression of experimental data by the least squares method.

Ideal reactors: mass and energy balances for batch, PFR and CSTR reactors.

Batch reactor: maximization of the productivity. Isothermic and adiabatic operation.

Plug Flow Reactor (PFR): profiles of the conversion, the temperature and the pressure along the reactor. Space-time concept.

Continuous Stirred Tank Reactor (CSTR): minimization of the volume of CSTRs in series.

Autothermal operation of a CSTR. Unique and multiple working states. Ignition temperature.

Reactors with recycle. Effect of the recycle ratio on the conversion.

Autocatalytic reaction: study of different reactor configurations. Optimal recycle ratio.

Multiple reactions: definition of selectivity, conversion and yield. Istantaneous selectivity. The cases of parallel reactions and reactions in series.

The case of Van de Vusse reactions. Choice of the optimal reacting system and operative conditions.

Effect of the temperature on the selectivity of multiple reactions. Choice of the optimal temperature.

Residence time distribution in a chemical reactor.

Equilibrium reactions: definition of the equilibrium constant.

Effect of the temperature, of the pressure and of the presence on inerts on the equilibrium conversion.Optimal conversion-temperature path for a reversible reaction. Adiabatic equilibrium conversion.

Heterogeneous catalysis. Effectiveness factor for a porous catalytic particle. Overall effectiveness factor.

Membrane processes: Pervaporation. Effect of temperature and permeate pressure on the performances. Membrane polarization. Hybrid processes.

Membrane reactors and process intensification.

Methods for the coupling of reaction and separation.


G.F.Froment e K.B.Bischoff, Chemical Reactor Analysis and Design, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1979.
O.Levenspiel, Ingegneria delle reazioni chimiche, Casa editrice ambrosiana, Milano, 1978. (This the italian translation of the original version of this book in english).
K.G.Denbigh e J.C.R.Turner, Teoria dei reattori chimici, Principi generali, Etas Libri, Milano, 1978. (This the italian translation of the original version of this book in english).

Foust, Wenzel, Clump, Maus e Andersen, I principi delle operazioni unitarie

Coulson e Richardson, Chemical Engineering, terza edizione, vol.2

Teaching methods

Presentation of the theoretical fundamentals on the blackboard.

Illustration of several examples to demonstrate the practical application of the theory.

Assessment methods

Achievements will be assessed by the means of a final exam. This is based on an analytical assessment of the "expected learning outcomes" described above.

At the end of the course the student can take a written exam , which consist of a test, duration 3 hours, composed of 3-4 questions, aiming to demonstrate both the theoretical preparation and the capability of the student of solving design and analysis problems. The student has the option to accept the score of this written test as the final score of the course.

Alternatively, the student can take an oral exam, which consists of questions similar to those of the written test.

Higher grades will be awarded to students who demonstrate a sound theoretical preparation, an organic understanding of the subject, a high ability for the practical applications, and a clear, comprehensive and concise presentation of the contents.

To obtain a passing grade, students are required to at least demonstrate a knowledge of the key concepts of the subject, some ability for critical discussion, and a comprehensible use of technical language.

A failing grade will be awarded if the student shows knowledge gaps in key-concepts of the subject, inappropriate use of language, and/or logic failures in the analysis of the subject.

Teaching tools

Case studies.

Solution of selected problems.

Software tools for the solution of selected problems.

Teaching materials (theory presentation and illustration of some problem solutions).

Office hours

See the website of Giovanni Camera Roda