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Utilizing Experience-Based

Principles to Confirm the Suitability

of a Process Design

accurate calculations for design, analysis, and operation of

equipment and chemical processes.

Experienced chemical engineers have formulated a number of

experience-based shortcut calculation methods (ie heuristics)

and guidelines for:

1. Checking new process designs

2. Providing equipment size and performance estimates

3. Helping troubleshoot problems with operating systems

4. Verifying that results of computer calculations & simulations

are reasonable.

5. Providing reasonable initial values for input into a process

simulator required to achieve program convergence

6. Obtaining approximate costs for process units

1. A heuristic does not guarantee a solution

2. It may contradict other heuristics

3. It can reduce the time to solve a problem

4. Its acceptance depends on the immediate context

instead of on an absolute standard.

conditions that were identified as areas of special concern were analysed.

These areas were highlighted in a series of informational tables, eg:

checking the equipment parameters & stream conditions in the PFD for

agreement with observation and experiences in similar applications.

in a series of information tables containing shortcut

calculation techniques.

The use of these resources will be demonstrated by

checking the conditions given in the basic

hydrodealkylation PFD.

PROCESS

11.1.1 Introduction to Technical Heuristics and

Shortcut Methods

A heuristic is a statement concerning equipment sizes,

operating conditions, and equipment performance that

reduces the need for calculations.

A shortcut method replaces the need for extensive

calculations in order to evaluate equipment sizes,

operating conditions, and equipment performance.

Guidelines and heuristics must be applied with an

understanding of their limitations.

experience

To benefit fully from experience, it is important to make a

conscious effort to use each new experience to build a

foundation upon which to increase your ability to handle

and solve new problems.

The process by which an engineer uses information and

creates new heuristics consists of 3 steps: The PAR

process:

1. Predict

2. Authenticate / Analyse

represents your best prediction of the solution. It often

involves making assumptions and applying heuristics

based on experience.

2. Authenticate / Analyse: In this step, you seek out

equations and relationships, do research relative to the

problem, and perform the calculations that lead towards a

solution. When possible, information from actual operations is

included in order to achieve the best possible solution.

3. Re-evaluate / Rethink: The best possible solution from step

2 is compared with the predicted solution in Step 1. When the

prediction is not acceptable, it is necessary to correct the

reasoning that led to the poor prediction. It becomes necessary

to remove, revise, and replace assumptions made in Step 1.

This is the critical Step in learning from experience.

Example 11.1

Evaluate

the film heat transfer coefficient for water at C

flowing

at

3.05

experience, you know that the film heat transfer

coefficient for water, at C and 1.83 m/s, in these tubes is

5250 W/. Follow the PAR process to establish the heat

transfer coefficient at the new conditions.

Step 1 : Predict: Assume that the velocity and

temperature have no effect. Predicted heat transfer

coefficient = 5250 W/.

Step 2 : Authenticate / Analyse: Using the properties

given below,

tubes is:

Re = u / =(1.83)(997.4)(1.5)(0.0254)/(9.8 x )= 71 x

(ie turbulent flow).

Use

the Sieder-Tate equation to check the prediction:

hD/k = (0.023)

(11.1)

Take ratio of equation (11.1) for the two conditions given above

(with D being the same for both conditions), and rearrange and

substitute numerical values. Using the sign() to identify the new

conditions at C,

h/h =

(11.2)

= (1)(1.50)(0.973)(1.73)(1.00)(1.08) = 2.725

(11.3)

h = (2.725)(5250) W/

Hence initial assumption velocity & temp has no effect is incorrect.

h = (2.725)(5250) W/

Hence initial assumption velocity & temp has no effect is

incorrect.

Equation

h/h =

(11.2)

= (1)(1.50)(0.973)(1.73)(1.00)(1.08) = 2.725

(11.3)

Step 3 : Re-evaluate / Rethink: The original assumptions that velocity &

temperature had no effect oh heat transfer coefficient have been

rejected. Improved assumptions for future predictions as follows:

1. The temperature effect on viscosity must be evaluated.

2. The effects of temperature on , , and k are negligible.

3. Pipe diameter has a small effect on h (all other things being equal)

4. Results are limited to the range where Sieder-Tate equation is valid.

substituted into equation (11.2), creating a useful heuristic

for evaluating the heat transfer coefficient of water:

h/h

=

(11.2)

Heuristic:

h (W/C) =

PAR process, but the development of the heuristic & the

addition of a more in-depth understanding of the factors

that are important, offer advantages.

HEURISTICS AND GUIDELINES

Walas (3) gives a good collection of technical heuristics

and guidelines. Some are presented in Thurton et al.

hydrodealkylation process, namely, Fig 1.7 (corrected 1.5)

and Tables 1.5 and 1.7. Using the info provided in the tables

in this chapter 11, estimate the size of the equipment and

other operating parameters for the following units:

(a)V-102

(b)E-105

(c) P-101

(d)C-101

(e)T-101

(f) H-101

Compare your findings with the info given in Chapter 1.

parameters for the following units: V-102

compare your findings with the info given in Chapter 1.

Then

Rule 3 Vertical vessel

Rule 4 L/D between 2.5 and 5 with optimum at 3.0

Rule 5 Liquid hold-up time is 5 minutes based on volume of

vessel

Rule 9 Gas velocity is given by

u=k

m/s

Rule 12 Good performance obtained at 30% - 100% of u from Rule

9.

Vapour flow = Stream 8 = 9200kg/h, P = 23.9 bar, T = C

Liquid

bar, T = C

= 8 kg / and = 850 kg /(estimated from Table 1.7)

From Rule 9, u = 0.0305 = 0.313 m/s

Use = (0.75)(0.313) = 0.23 m/s

Now mass flow rate of vapour = u/4 = 9200/3600 =

2.56 kg/s

Solving for D = 1.33m.

5 min of liquid flow = (5)(60)(11,570)/850/3600 = 1.13

Equating the two results above, L = 1.56m

From Rule 4, L/D should be in the range 2.5 to 5. For this case

L/D = 1.56/1.33 = 1.17. Because it is out of range, change to

L = 2.5D = 3.3m. Heuristics from Table 11.6 suggest that V102 should be a vertical vessel with D = 1.33m, L = 3.3m.

From Table 1.7, the actual V-102 is a vertical vessel with D =

1.1m, L = 3.5m.

Thus it can be concluded that the design of V-102 in Chapter

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