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PE 311 (13 credits):

Unit operation for

petroleum Industry

Prof. J.W. Ntalikwa

Office: AB 101; CIVE office Building
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Purpose of the Course

To impart the knowledge of transport

phenomena and its application in
petroleum industry.

To impart the knowledge underlining

the design and operation of various
equipments used in the industry.

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Course Learning Outcomes
Describe transport phenomena
Perform calculations with respect to
design and operation of various
momentum, heat and mass transfer

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Course Content
Introduction to unit operations and its application
Brief overview of Fluid mechanics
Operation involving particulate solids
Heat transfer and its application
Mass transfer and its operation

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Course Modules
Lecture1 :Introduction and General Overview
Lecture 2: Overview of Fluid Mechanics; pumps and
flowmeters; mixing and agitation)
Lecture 3: Operations involving Particulate Solids
(sedimentation, filtration)
Lecture 4: Heat Transfer – Conduction
Lecture 5:Heat Transfer – Convection
Lecture 6:Heat Transfer – Radiation
Lecture7:Heat Exchanger Design
Lecture 8:Introduction to Mass Transfer
Lecture 9:Mass transfer Application – Absorption &
Lecture 10:Mass transfer application - Liquid - liquid
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Course Assessment
a) There will be four (4) quizzes and two (2)
homeworks and these will account 10% of CA
b) Two (2) tests, the First midway through the semester
(between week 6 and 8);
c) The Second Test towards week 13;
d) Tests will contribute 30% of CA;
e) There will be a UE at the end
f) CA will contribute 40% to Final Grade; and
g) UE will contribute 60% of Final Grade.

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Recommended Books:
J.M. Coulson and J.F. Richardson, Chemical Engineering
Vol. 1, Pergamon Press, 1992
J.M. Coulson and J.F. Richardson, Chemical Engineering
Vol. 2, Pergamon Press, 1992
Robert Trybal , Mass transfer operations
D.Q. Kern, Process Heat Transfer

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Introduction & General

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Unit Operations &Unit Processes
In chemical, physical, biological and food
processing industries, many similarities exist in the
manner in which the entering feed materials are
modified or processed into final products.
In general most industrial processes involves the
combination of:
unit processes
unit operation

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Haber Process

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Contact Process

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Sugar Processing

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Crude oil Distillation

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Atmospheric & Vacuum Distillation

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Unit Operations &Unit

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Unit Processes
Unit process involves principle chemical
Leading to synthesis of various useful product
and provide basic information regarding:
Reaction temperature
Extent of chemical conversions
Yield of the product
Nature of the reaction
Type of catalyst used
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Examples of Unit Processes
Alkylation Halogenation
Esterification Gasification
Hydrolysis Electrolysis
Polymerization Reforming
Oxidation Reduction
Sulphonation Carbonation
Carbonation Neutralization

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Unit Operations
“Unit Operations” involves the
separation of the products
obtained during various unit
Unit Operations
The unit operations deals mainly with the
transfer and change of energy and transfer
and change of materials primarily by physical
means but also by physical chemical means.

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Unit Operations
Using a material balance and an energy balance,
a petroleum engineering process can be
viewed overall or as a series of units.

Each unit is a unit operation. The unit operation

can be represented by a box as shown in Fig.

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View of a Unit Operations

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Examples of Unit Operations
Evaporation Absorption

Liquid – liquid Membrane Processes

Adsorption Distillation

Fluidisation Mechanical –physical

Crystallisation Liquid- Solid Leaching

Solvent Extraction Fluid flow

Heat transfer

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View of a Unit Operations
Many of these unit operations have certain
fundamental and basic principles or
mechanism in common
Mechanism of diffusion or mass transfer occurs in
drying, membrane separation ,absorption,
distillation and crystallization
Mechanism of heat transfer in drying, evaporation
and boiling
Hence the following classification of a more
fundamental nature is often made into transfer or
transport process
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Fundamental Transport
Momentum Transfer
Heat Transfer
Mass Transfer

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Momentum Transfer
Is the branch of engineering science that studies the
behavior of fluids.
Momentum transfer in a fluid involves the study of
the motion of fluids and the forces that produce
these motions.
This is concerned with the transfer of momentum
which occurs in moving media, such as in the unit
operations of fluid flow, sedimentation, filtration
and mixing.

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Heat Transfer
In this fundamental process, heat is
transferred from one place to another due to
temperature difference.
It occurs in the unit operations like
distillation, evaporation and drying .

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Mass Transfer
Here mass is being transferred from one phase to
another distinct phase. (Towards a favorable phase).
Basic mechanism is the same whether the phases are
gas, solid or liquid.
The main driving factor is concentration difference
This includes distillation, absorption, liquid- liquid
extraction, membrane separation, adsorption and

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Fluid Flow
This concerns the principles that determine
the flow and transportation of any fluid from
one point to another.
Example transportation of gas from
Songosongo to Ubungo power plant

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Is the removal of a solute (component) from its gaseous
mixture by means of a liquid which dissolves the solute
Applications of gas absorption:
In coke plants, to absorb by-product gases, such as ammonia with
water, and benzene and toluene with oil.
Air pollution control: removal of pollutants in gaseous effluents
such as removal of H2S from the coal combustion process.
In electrical power plants by aqueous solution of alkaline salts
(lime stone CaCO3).
In most abruption processes, the component being absorbed is the
less abundant or at relatively low content in the gas.
gas dehydration process whereby glycol desiccant is applied as a
chemical solvent which removes water vapour from a gas stream.
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Synonyms of gas absorption: scrubbing so the
equipment called absorber or scrubber.
The reverse process of absorption is stripping (in a
stripper), the removal of a solute from liquid
solution by a gas.
The rate of absorption depends strongly on the
solubility of the gas solute in the liquid.

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Liquid – liquid Extraction
Has been commonly used in petroleum and
petrochemical industry for separation of close
boiling hydrocarbons.
In this case a solute in a liquid solution is
removed by contacting with another liquid
solvent which is relatively immiscible with a

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Major Application
Removal of sulphur compound from liquid
Recovery of aromatics from liquid hydrocarbon.
Separation of butadiene from C4 hydrocarbons.
Separation of homogenous aqueous azeotropes.

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Major Application
Extraction of acetic acid.
Removal of phenolic compounds from waste
Separation of asphaltic compounds from oil.
Recovery of copper from leach liquor.
Extraction of glycerides from vegetable oil.

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This is an operation whereby components of a liquid
mixture are separated by boiling because of their
differences in vapor pressure.
Distillation is one of the most important separation
processes in chemical and other process industries.
For example, oil refining: petroleum into several fractions
such as light gases, naphtham, gasoline, kerosene, fuel
oils, lubricating oils and asphalt);
Distillation of liquid air to produce pure oxygen for use in
steel-making, in rockets, and medical applications;
Ethanol (alcohol and beer) separation from fermentation
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This is a special case of heat transfer, which deals
with the evaporation of a volatile solvent such as
water from a non volatile solute such as salt or any
other material.

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Drying is the removal of the moisture content in a material.
In most cases, the material being dried is a solid and the
moisture is water.
Drying usually occurs at the end of a production process (for
product polishing or finishing), the dried product is ready for
Common drying method/process: the solid to be dried is
brought into contact with a stream of hot air (drying air),
which vaporizes the water in the solid and carries away the
water vapor.
The rate of drying mainly depends on the humidity and flow
rate of drying air, the state and content of moisture in the
solid, the drying temperature and the drying area.
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In this process a component of a gas or a liquid
stream is removed and adsorbed by a solid
Example gas dehydration by adsorption process
Whereby silica gel, activated alumina or molecular
sieves are the common adsorbents used

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Liquid – Solid Leaching
This involves treating a finely divided solid with a
liquid that dissolves out and removes a solute
contained in the solid.

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Membrane Separation
This process involves the separation of a solute from
a fluid by diffusion of this solute from a liquid or a
gas through a semipermeable membrane.
In membrane separation, the membrane acts as a
semipermeable barrier which only allows for certain
molecules to pass through it.

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Reverse Osmosis
Osmosis (as a natural phenomenon) is the flow
(diffusion) of water molecules through a semi-
permeable membrane from low-solute
concentration side to high-solute concentration
side of the membrane.
The net movement of water to one side causes a
liquid level difference between the two sides, and
this flow of water will stop when the liquid level
difference is equal to the osmotic pressure of the

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Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis is the use of high pressure to force the
flow of solvent (e.g., water) molecules in the reverse
direction of osmotic pressure. Applications of reverse
osmosis include: water purification, sterilization,
dewatering and the separation of components in a
mixture. Specifically
recovery of protein and sugar from cheese whey
concentration of fruit juice and milk
dewatering of sugar solution
concentration of antibiotics
desalination of sea water and wastewater treatment

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Osmosis &Reverse Osmosis

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This concerns the removal of a solute such as a salt
from a solution by precipitating the solute from a
Crystallization is the formation of solid particles
within a homogenous phase, usually a liquid
solution. (The crystallization process in a gas phase
is known as sublimation.)
Crystallization is the reverse process of solution, to
dissolve a solid in a liquid. To crystallize the solute
in a liquid solution, the solution needs to be
concentrated to supersaturation.
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Mechanical – Physical
These involve separations based on size
and/or density differences of different
components in a mixture of solids, liquid or
gases by mechanical means such as filtration,
settling, size reduction, decantation,

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Filtration is the mechanical separation of solid particles
from a fluid by passing the fluid through a filtering
medium, or septum, on which the solids are deposited.
The most common filtering medium is fabric cloth with
strong mechanical properties.
The fabric causes the solid particles to become entangled on
the surface of the cloth, resulting in the formation of a layer
of solids, and the buildup of the solids on the layer.
Filtration separation is driven by the pressure difference
(Δp) between two sides of the filtration medium, created
either by a pressure on the upstream side, by a vacuum at
the downstream side, or by a centrifugal force

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In batch filtration, as the solid layer deposited on the filter
increases its thickness with time, the resistance to the fluid
flowing through the filter increases.
The rate of filtration will decrease if a constant pressure is
applied to the fluid. Usually the solid (filter cake) is
removed periodically from the filter before the resistance
becomes extremely high.
The rate of filtration is strongly affected by properties of the
slurry, compressibility of solid cake and viscosity of liquid.

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Simple Filtration Device

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Separates materials of different densities with a force
greater than gravity.
Centrifugation intensity is usually given by the ratio of
centrifugal force to gravity, with the unit of “g”,

ω = 2πN, the angular velocity of centrifuge;

N = rotation speed common known as rpm or rps;
r = radial distance of the particle from the centre or the
radius of the bowl;
g = gravitational acceleration constant (=9.806 m/s2).

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Centrifugation vs filtration
Both belong to mechanical separation, solid from
Filtration, based on particle size.
Centrifugation, based on density difference (can be
used for liquid-liquid separation)
Filters are usually simpler and cheaper than
Centrifuges can be used for particles which are
difficult to filter, e.g., very small and compressible
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Mass & Energy
Two very important laws which all unit operations
obey are the laws of conservation of mass and

The law of conservation of mass states that mass can

neither be created nor destroyed.

“What goes in must come out".

Mass & Energy
The law of conservation of energy states that energy
can neither be created nor destroyed.

The total energy in the materials entering the

processing plant, plus the energy added in the plant,
must equal the total energy leaving the plant.