Design of Unit Operations



Aris DocoslisDupuis Hall 533-6949
Lev MirzoianDupuis Hall 302lev.mirzoian@queensu.ca613-533-6000 x78544


Alireza Bagherzadeh

Course Description

This course is part of the Engineering Design and Practice Sequence. Heat and mass transfer knowledge is applied in the analysis and design of unit operations, including separation processes and heat exchanging equipment. The equilibrium stage concept is used to perform calculations and size separation processes including distillation, gas absorption/stripping and liquid-liquid extraction. Heat transfer processes are taught with an emphasis on the design various types of heat exchanging equipment, including shell and tube heat exchangers, condensers and reboilers. The chemical process design component of the course involves a series of activities, dealing with the design of separation processes, heat exchanger sizing and design, process hazards analysis, implementation of instrumentation and construction of piping and instrument diagrams. In addition to choosing and sizing unit operations and implementing appropriate process instrumentation, the students will learn to use simulation tools and will incorporate economics, safety and environmental responsibility in all stages of the design. The course is integrated with CHEE 361 “Engineering Communications, Ethics and Professionalism.” (0/0/0/14/40)

Prerequisites:  APSC 200 or APSC 202, APSC 293, CHEE 311, CHEE 321, CHEE 330, or permission of the department.

Co-requisite: CHEE 361

Objectives and Outcomes

This course develops the skills needed to design separation and heat transfer processes and to size/optimize related equipment. Emphasis is given to the associated health and safety risks, applicable standards, and economic, as well as environmental considerations and on how these considerations should be incorporated throughout the design process.

Specific course learning outcomes (CLOs) are:





Development of engineering science knowledge on separation processes (distillation, absorption/stripping, extraction)
and heat transfer processes (heat exchangers).



Application of engineering science knowledge to size separation process equipment and heat exchangers.



Development of competency in constructing process flow and P&I diagrams.



Implementation of process instrumentation and simple control loops, as well as safety instrumentation.



Development of competency in using engineering tools, such as Excel spreadsheets and Mathcad to perform
engineering calculations. Implementation of process simulation software, such as Aspen HYSYS to simulate separation processes.



Demonstrate the ability to provide accurate, comprehensive, objective technical opinions and recommendations,
including the choice of appropriate processes and the development of documentation, such as equipment specifications, process flow diagrams and P&IDs.



Identification of process hazards through process hazards analysis and incorporation elements of safety on all aspects of the design.



Estimation of capital and utility costs, using appropriate costing tools. Process optimization based on cost considerations.



Effective group work, including reflection of group work, while adopting a professional approach during all project phases.


This course assesses the following program indicators at the 3rd year level:

Knowledge base for engineering (KB)

  • KB-Proc(a) Formulates and solves steady-state and dynamic mass and energy balances for a chemical process
  • KB-Proc(c) Applies engineering principles to do engineering calculations and size various unit operations, including pumps, heat exchangers, separation processes, and reactors.
  • KB-Thermo(c) Uses correlations and experimental data to evaluate thermodynamic quantities that relate to vapour-liquid or liquid-liquid equilibria
  • KB-Thermo(d) Determines equilibrium constants and analyzes the influence of thermodynamic equilibrium on reaction and separation systems.

Design (DE)

  • DE-Define Define problem, objectives and constraints.
  • DE-Strategies Compare multiple strategies for solving a problem.
  • DE-Solutions Create a product, process or system to solve a problem, that meets specified needs, and subject to appropriate iterations.
  • DE-Assess Evaluate performance of a design, using criteria that incorporates specifications, limitations, assumptions, constraints, and other relevant factors.

Engineering Tools (ET)

  • ET-Apply Apply and manage appropriate techniques, apparatus, databases, models, tools, and/or processes to accomplish a task.

Individual and Teamwork (TW)

  • TW-Contribution Take initiative to plan, organize and complete tasks, as an individual and team member, in order to meet goals.
  • TW-Feedback Share ideas and information by eliciting, giving and applying positive and effective feedback.

Communications (CO)

  • CO-Graphics Create figures, maps, tables and drawings to engineering report standards.

Professionalism (PR)

  • PR-Standards Integrate appropriate standards, codes, legal and regulatory factors into decision making.
  • PR-Interpersonal Demonstrate professional conduct and integrity.

Impact of Engineering (IM)

  • IM-Environment Evaluate the environmental impact of engineering activities and promote environmental stewardship of the natural and built environments.
  • IM-Mitigate Take appropriate action to mitigate risks associated with economic, health, safety and legal aspects of engineering
  • IM-Social Evaluate cultural, societal, and technical norms while maintaining ethical position required for engineering practice in Canada.

Economics and project management (EC)

  • EC-Economics Apply economic considerations, such as capital, operating, societal and life cycle costs, to design processes.

Lifelong Learning (LL)

  • LL-Information Identify, organize, and critically evaluate information from an appropriate range of sources, to meet learning needs.

Relevance to the Program

This third year course is part of the engineering practice/design spine, which starts in first year and culminates in the fourth year capstone process design course. Being a third year-level course, the focus is on the development of competency in process design that is considered necessary to acquire proficiency at the graduating level. The course assumes knowledge of 2nd and 3rd year core courses, including engineering design and practice, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer and thermodynamics.

Course Structure and Activities

Please refer to SOLUS for times and locations.

Synchronous (live) classes will be delivered in this course through a video conferencing platform supported by the University [MS Teams, Zoom].  


Recommended Textbook

  • Towler G. and Sinnott R., “Chemical Engineering Design: Principles and Economics of Plant and Process Design”, 2nd Edition, B-H, Elsevier

Additional Textbooks

  • Wankat P. C. (2017) “Separation Process Engineering”, Prentice Hall. E-book available from the Queen’s Library.
  • Serth R.W. (2007) “Process Heat Transfer – Principles and applications”, Academic Press. E-book available from the Queen’s Library.

Course notes and other course-related material

  • All other course material is accessible via OnQ.