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SAMPLE PROBLEMS: Material Balances in

Reactive/Non-Reactive Systems
Taken From: Sinnott, R.K., CHEMICAL ENGINEERING DESIGN, Volume 6, Fifth
Edition, 2005, by Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann
______ 1. Two thousand kilograms of five percent slurry of calcium hydroxide
in water is to be prepared by diluting twenty percent slurry. The percentages
are by weight. How much 20% slurry do you need?
a. 500 kg
b. 1500 kg
c. 1750 kg d. none of these
For nos. 2 to 4______ 2. Consider the production of a nitration acid by mixing 70% nitric and
98% sulfuric acid. How much is the number of distinct chemical species in
this process?
a. 2
b. 3
c. 4
d. 5

For numbers 3 and 4

______ 3. If nitration acid is made up using oleum in place of the 98% sulfuric
acid, how many distinct chemical species are there?
a. 2
b. 3
c. 4
d. 5
______ 4. If nitration acid is made up using oleum in place of the 98% sulfuric
acid, how many independent components/species are there?
a. 2
b. 3
c. 4
d. 5
______ 5. The feed stream to a reactor contains ethylene = 16%, oxygen =
9%, nitrogen = 31%, and hydrogen chloride. If the ethylene flow is 5000
kg/hr, calculate the total stream flow. All percentages are by weight.
a. 31250 kg/hr
b. 2813 kg/hr
c. 9687 kg/hr
13750 kg/hr
______ 6. Carbon dioxide is added at a rate of 10 kg/hr to an air stream and
the air is sampled at a sufficient distance downstream to ensure complete
mixing. If the analysis shows 0.45% v/v CO 2, calculate the air-flow rate in
a. 1560
b. 6075
c. 2240
none of these
______ 7. In a test on a furnace fired with natural gas (composition 95%
methane, 5% nitrogen), the following flue gas analysis was obtained: carbon
dioxide 9.1%, carbon monoxide 0.2%, oxygen 4.6%, nitrogen 86.1%, all

percentages by volume. Calculate the percentage excess air flow (percentage

above stoichiometric).
a. 15%
b. 22%
c. 34%
none of these
______ 8. To ensure complete combustion, 20% excess air is supplied to a
furnace burning natural gas. The gas composition (by volume) is methane
95%, ethane 5%. Calculate the moles of air required per mole of fuel.
a. 207.5 moles
b. 11.86 moles
c. 1.2 moles d. none of
_______ 9. In the manufacture of vinyl chloride (C 2H4Cl2) by the pyrolysis of
dichloroethane (DCE), the reactor conversion is limited to 55% to reduce
carbon formation, which fouls the reactor tubes. Calculate the quantity of
DCE fed to the reactor to produce 5000 kg/h of VC.
a. 80 kmol/hr
b. 145.5 kmol/hr
c. 44 kmol/hr
none of these
_______ 10. In the production of ethanol by the hydrolysis of ethylene, diethyl
ether is produced as a byproduct. A typical feed stream composition is 55%
ethylene, 5% inerts, 40% water; and product stream: 52.26% ethylene,
5.49% ethanol, 0.16% ether, 36.81% water, 5.28% inerts. Calculate the
selectivity of ethylene for ethanol.

a. 94.4%

b. 5.44%

c. 10%


_______ 11. In the chlorination of ethylene to produce dichloroethane (DCE),

the conversion of ethylene is reported as 99.0%. If 94 mol of DCE are
produced per 100 mol of ethylene reacted, calculate the overall yield based
on ethylene. The unreacted ethylene is not recovered.
a. 94%

b. 93.1%

c. 66.7%

d. 49.33%

_______ 12. In the production of ammonia from hydrogen and nitrogen, the
conversion, based on either raw material, is limited to 15%. The ammonia
produced is condensed from the reactor (converter) product stream, and the
unreacted material is recycled. If the feed contains 0.2% argon (from the
nitrogen separation process), calculate the purge rate (mole purge/mole feed)
required to hold the argon in the recycle stream below 5.0%. Percentages are
by volume.

a. 4

b. 5

1. A
2. B
3. C
trioxide, nitric acid, water.)
4. B (The sulfur trioxide will
producing sulfuric acid, so
independent components.)

c. 8
5. D
6. A
7. B
8. B
9. B

d. none of these