Mass balance or material balance is the expression of the conservation of mass that involves accounting of materials in a process. This age old mass balance concept is useful for assessing a process and sometimes improving management practices including waste reduction, on site tracking of toxic chemicals and transportation into and out of a facility. Moreover, material balance over a process helps to check performance against design, instrument calibration and to identify the source of material loss. It also helps to extend often the limited data available from the plant instrumentation. Therefore, a good understanding of material balance is necessary.

Basic Principle of a Material Balance
In its simplest form, a material balance for any production system is drawn up according to the following principle: Material and Energy Inputs = Products + Waste Material inputs includes raw material, chemicals, energy etc. Energy includes fuel, electricity etc. Products include final products from the factory as well as by-products. Waste includes effluents, air emissions, solid wastes, waste heat, off-spec products. Einstein showed that mass and energy are equivalent. Energy can be converted into mass and mass into energy. The loss of mass associated with the production of energy is significant in nuclear reactions. In processes of nuclear fission and condensation the law of conservation of mass becomes invalid, but in ordinary industrial processes mass balance is highly practiced and it is accepted that energy and matter are to be separately conserved. The conservation of mass can be written as: Rate of flow of reactant into volume element = Rate of flow of reactant out of volume element + Rate of reactant removal by reaction within volume element + Rate of accumulation of reactant within volume element. Material balance is carried over a certain element of volume. In steady state process i.e. continuous process, the accumulation will be zero. If there is no chemical reaction the steady state balance reduces to: Rate of flow of reactant into volume element = Rate of flow of reactant out of volume element. A mass balance can be written for individual elements, compounds and for total materials. Direct measurements of quantity of components of both entering and leaving streams in a process during a given time interval needs no calculation. Calculation of material balance is indispensable when direct measurement of one or more components is not possible. The measurements require knowledge of conservation of mass and of the standard units for expressing mass data, composition, concentration, flow rate of flowing streams in a process. If there is any change of physical or chemical properties of flowing streams, that must be accountable. Appropriate judgment must be exercised in selecting the methods for sampling, analysis and in choosing the frequency and duration of data acquisition of mass flows within a process.

wastewater. gaseous wastes. air and energy.Gross deviation from mass balance indicates that errors have been made in sampling and quantifying one or more mass balance components or else it needs some relevant information. all chemical inputs to a manufacturing process and outputs from it and accumulations within are first identified and the masses are measured. MATERIAL BALANCE Material balance is a basic inventory tool. chemicals. rejects. In a mass balance operation. The basis of the material balance for a process-based environmental management program is the development of a process flow diagram. water.  It is difficult to achieve high accuracies when operations and processes are complicated. Considerations in Developing Material Balance:  Material Balance need not be excessively accurate (to the order of 99%). Outputs include primary product. which allows for the quantitative assessment of material inputs and outputs. So. by-products. Exercise of Material Balance helps to carry out comparison with norms by working out specific consumption / production Material Balance also serves as a predictive tool to speculate on outputs for changed inputs or improved processes. Discrepancies once identified leads to understanding of problems and causes. and reusable wastes. The mass of inputs should be equal or closely approximate the mass of outputs plus accumulations. liquid and solid wastes which need to be stored and/or sent off-site for disposal. precise evaluation is needed. . Material balance carried out exclusively for energy is called Energy Balance Material balance focused on toxic materials usage is called Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Inputs to a process or a unit operation may include raw materials. Material balance establishes the major inflows and outflows and highlights any discrepancies in a quantitative manner.

etc. water. Existing levels of material recycling should not be missed. for the process/ operation. energy. a preliminary balance should be constructed. Measurements should be taken for an appropriate length of time so as to ensure that the results are representative. Doing a Material Balance  Determining inputs Include raw materials. . wherever in doubt. They should be incorporated while balancing.  Quantifying outputs Outputs consist of products. Attention should be paid to off-spec products and reprocessing sequences.  Preparing a preliminary material balance Based on the inputs and the outputs.  Selection of tie compounds Suitable and representative tie compounds should be selected for preparing the material balance. Averages should be taken wherever necessary and appropriate. by-products and wastes.  Refining a Material Balance The preliminary material balance should be improved by verifying the collected data during site inspections and by brainstorming.  However. chemicals. if the tie compound for material balance is of a hazardous nature then. Figure: Schematic representation of a material balance sheet. Material Balance within the tolerance range of 10% should generally be acceptable. measurements or analysis should be repeated to refine the material balance. Discrepancies should be calculated and. a higher order of accuracy should be targeted.

like azeotropes. Decide the system boundaries.Preparation of a preliminary material balance: A material balance is designed to provide better understanding of the inputs and outputs. 7. 2. Similarly. 2. 5. Determining Inputs: Recording raw material procurement. the components are seldom fed to the reactor in exact stoichiometric proportions. The units of measurement should be standardized (liter. Preparing a preliminary material balance 5. phase equilibria. List all the information. Steps in Developing a Material Balance 1. energy 3. EXCESS REAGENT In most chemical reactions carried out in industry. 4. Note any other constraints if any. The order of steps may vary according to need of the problem. Selecting a Tie compound 4. Quantifying Outputs: Accounting for wastewater. solid wastes. especially waste. Write out all the chemical reactions involved for the main products and byproducts. tie substances. ton or kilogram) on a per day. a detailed material balance should be carried out for important tie compound. The measured values in standard units should be summarized by reference to the process flow diagram. . It is highly desirable to carry out a water balance for all water inputs and outputs to and from unit operations. water and energy usage. as agreed upon by the audit team during the planning phase. or per batch basis. As a result. gaseous emissions. 6. of a unit operation such that areas where information is inaccurate or lacking can be identified. because water imbalances may indicate underlying problems such as leaks or spills. Decide the basis of calculation. Draw a block diagram of the process to show significant steps by flow sheet diagram. the products contain some of the unreacted reactants. Evaluating and refining material balance The following step−by−step procedure helps to get efficient solution of material balance problems: 1. It may be necessary to modify the process flow diagram following the in depth study of the plant. The initial balance should be considered as a rough assessment that must be further refined and improved. 3. per year. Indicate known quantities of the parameters on the block diagram. A reagent may be supplied in excess of the amounts theoretically required for combination with the others in order to maximize the use of an expensive reagent or to ensure complete reaction of a reagent. List all the available data. The amount of desired compound is determined by the amount of limiting reactant. Check the number of conservation equations that can be written and compared with the number of unknowns.

which is converted or decomposed into other products. Yield is a measure of the performance of a reactor or plant. When more than one reagent is used or product produced it is essential that the product and the reagent to which the yield value refers are clearly stated. Such a material comes in to the process in just one stream and leaves unchanged in only one stream. It forms a “tie” between an input stream and an output stream. If the conversion of a valuable reagent in a reaction process is appreciably less than 100 percent. So the 'Excess' refers to limiting reagent. Stoichiometric factor =Stoichiometric mole of reagent required per mol of product produced. Conversion is a measure of the fraction of the reagent that converts due to reaction. TIE-SUBSTANCES A compound that goes directly from an input stream to an output stream without any chemical change is called a tie-substance. CONVERSION AND YIELD Conversion refers to the reactants and yield refers to the products formed. The degree of completion of a reaction is ordinarily expressed as the percentage of the limiting reacting material. The conversion of a particular reagent is often less than 100 percent in order to minimize by−product formation. The composition of air can be taken as 79 mol% (vol%) N2 and 21 mol% O2 . outlet stream contains products and excess reactant. Yield should be defined on clearly stated basis. Conversion is expressed by the following: This definition indicates the total conversion of the particular reagent to all products. 'Plant yield' is a measure of the overall performance of the plant and includes all chemical and physical losses. The percentage excess reagent is expressed by the following: Complete reaction of the limiting material may not be achieved even in the presence of excess reagent.g. It is normally very useful in solving problems. It happens due to insufficient time or opportunity for completion to the theoretically possible equilibrium. In case of 100% completion. when oxygen is needed for a reaction to take place in most cases it is supplied in the form of air. we must take into consideration the associated nitrogen in air. E. the unreacted material is recycled.The percentage excess of any reactant is defined as the percentage ratio of the excess to the amount theoretically required by the stoichiometric equation for combination with the limiting reactant. As air contains nitrogen (we will ignore argon and CO2).

. Continuous salt solution concentrator Salt in = salt out 2. E.2 kmol. In practical situations. then N2 input = 7. Instead estimation procedures could be used as shown in the example given below in this handout. steam. electricity for the plant/unit operation. Such a material may be inert by nature some times. •material common in most processing stages. Ash in coal furnace. Quantities of various forms of energy input.. Water in textile industry 2. would be ideal. nickel or zinc in electroplating shops or dyestuff in textile processing. 1. and pulp and paper.If the O2 input is 7. the mass balance says that what went in should come out. •a substance/compound easy to measure/estimate. They should be a measure of economic or environmental importance. energy is an important tie compound. Criteria for selecting tie compounds: •an expensive raw material/intermediate. coke oven. E. more specific tie compounds. A simple example of a tie compound is the water added to account for most wet operations. In addition to water. Estimation Procedure In material balance. coke oven. In addition to water. such as fuel. and chemicals. particularly for energy intensive and process sectors such as iron and steel. textile. •a substance of hazardous nature.5 * 79/21 = 28. knowing the volume of wastewater and its COD discharged by each department. textile.. it is not always necessary to carry out measurements of inputs and outputs.g. and cross-checking it with the COD load observed at the treatment facilities can provide a good check on the data. ENERGY BALANCE An energy balance may be defined as a quantitative account of the input and output forms of energy in a production process. and pulp and paper. Chemical oxygen demand (COD).5 kmol. Another good example is the chromium in leather tanning. especially to link the production areas with the effluent treatment plant. Therefore nitrogen output must also be 28. etc. 1. Tie compounds could be specific to the industry.2 kmol Since the nitrogen does not react. would then need to be measured/completed.g. is another very useful tie parameter which sharpens the material balance exercise. Energy inputs to a process or a unit operation may be in the . etc. Contributions of each process department in terms of total COD load in kg/day. and chemicals. e. Selection of an appropriate tie compound for checking material balance is an important step. energy is an important tie compound. particularly for energy intensive and process sectors such as iron and steel.g. They must be considered before material balance where no specific chemical reaction is observed in unit operations. Heavy metals in electroplating industry A tie compound is the parameter or substance for which the material balance is established around a unit operation or process.

Energy balance and mass balance are encountered often in the problems related to process design and operation. Energy balance is a mathematical or numerical expression of 'Conservation of energy' (also called first law of thermodynamics). heating energy. Energy balance is carried out to know the energy needed in heating / cooling and supplying power in a process. wastewater (process. such as potential energy. the total enthalpy of the outlet streams will not be equal to that of the inlet streams if energy is generated (exothermic) or consumed (endothermic). condensate and cooling) and any energy losses. the total mass flow into a process unit is generally equal to the flow out at the steady−state except in biomass formation within a bioreactor where generation is concerned. Total energy is conserved as per the law of conservation of energy. The output is to be quantified in terms of the enthalpy of the products. kinetic energy. ENERGY BALANCE . hot water. mechanical energy. flow energy. such as steam leakage. Energy and material balances are carried out. In mass balance. electrical energy etc. not only for the main process. The fuel sources to generate the heat are also included in the inputs. Energy can exist in many forms making 'energy balance' more complex than mass balance. but also for the various equipment and utilities that enable production. electricity etc. 'Energy balance' exhibits a pattern of usage and suggests areas for conservation and savings. Principle of conservation of energy states that energy is indestructible. In energy balance.form of steam. Energy out = Energy in + generation − consumption − accumulation For steady state process the accumulation of both mass and energy will be zero. but can be transformed to other forms of energy and the total amount of energy entering any system must be exactly equal to that of leaving plus any accumulation within this system.

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