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Applying Thermo? Then Guard Against Misconceptions

By Abdelsalam Zeidan Bantrel Co. (Bechtel Group) and Inder Rattan Consultant |

    In process engineering and design, thermodynamics theory is applied to real and complex chemical-process applications. Software design simulators, such as HYSYS, PROII and Aspen Plus, serve as powerful tools that simplify process thermodynamic calculations. They eliminate the need for the engineer to solve complex differential equations, and they allow the application of variety of property packages to the modeling of unit operations. In a highly competitive setting where time and technical competency are critical, the proper and accurate use of these simulation tools can be of great value. However, an overreliance on simulation can lull the user into a disregard for the underlying engineering principles. Conversely, a lack of solid engineering knowledge can induce the user to reject some simulation results that are, in fact, fully valid. In either case, among the most serious consequences can be flaws in the relevant material and energy balances, which are fundamental to a valid design. Consequent errors in the front-end design can lead to major engineering-revision costs, if they are detected in the detailed engineering phase; and if they are not detected there, then the consequences for the project and plant can of…
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