00515 - Mechanical Plants

Course Unit Page


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

Affordable and clean energy

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will know the most important mechanical plants in industrial sector as follow: fundamentals, basic skills necessary to understand working operation, main characteristics, sizing and optimization.

Course contents

Mechanical plant is the course that deals with the design, construction and management of devices, equipment and plants, constituting discrete systems for the production, transformation or destruction of goods and/or services.

In their technical essence, all plants or service are generally composed by one or more circuits including machines or devices for thermal and/or mechanical energy exchange and also comprising connections for the circulation of fluids. These elements are representative of a thermodynamic system with energy and mass exchange that constitutes the basic element for the analysis of mechanical plant and thank to which it is possible to analyse with a general method in essential sections. Therefore, the analysis can be divided in:

  • Components designing for mechanical energy exchange;
  • Components designing for thermal energy exchange;
  • Fluid dynamics calculation of mass and energy exchange.

Moreover, each plant system is generally a complex set constituted by a specific machining center that characterizes the plant itself and various sub-assemblies necessary to create a number of auxiliary services to the main cycle (said general plant services).

Therefore, these components can be treated in the general form as independent elements not considering the particular use of their products or services in the plants in which they are installed.

Finally, as plant engineering needs of the realization of systems that meet the specific requirements with the minimum utilization of human resources, raw materials, energy and the least impact and degradation of the environment, (with the least global economic cost present and future), economic optimization through the definition of the optimum set of building and operating parameters (within the degrees of freedom always present in each realization), and the comparative analysis of the various optimized systems able to provide the same products or services are necessary.

Based on this rational analysis of the systems, the course is therefore divided into a first part including the definition of concepts and tools for system economic evaluation and optimization, the revision of energy exchange laws and of thermo-fluid dynamic circuit laws with the related energy exchange equipment (mechanical and thermal).

The second part follows the discussion of the main general facilities services (water supply and treatment, compressed air production, technological steam production, storage and distribution systems), and a third part, in which the main general mechanical plants are examined (thermal power generation, refrigeration and mechanical / electrical production, thermal and mechanical / electrical power cogeneration, refrigeration and mechanical / electrical power plants).


Course notes given by the professor, available as online teaching material.

Assessment methods

The final exam aims to evaluate the comprehension of the learning objectives:

- knowledge of the industrial plants schemes

-knowledge of the thermodynamics diagrams representing transformation inside the plants

-knowledge of the equation analysis for a correct design of the plants.

The final mark of the Industrial Plants integrated course, obtained through a written exam, will be the average mark of the three specific questions about the main topics of the learning objectives of the course.

Teaching tools

Course notes given by the professor, available as online teaching material.

Office hours

See the website of Marco Gentilini