Module code: ENG2111

Module Overview

This module provides an introduction to separation processes in general, but with particular emphasis on equilibrium staged separations of binary mixtures.  Processes covered include binary distillation, liquid-liquid extraction and gas absorption and desorption in tray columns. This gives students an appreciation of what lies beneath chemical engineering flow-sheeting and design software packages. This appreciation is enhanced by hands on experience with HYSYS, an industry standard chemical engineering design simulation package. The module makes connections to real-world chemical engineering separation processes examples, and relates how chemical engineering design plays a role in sustainability of the chemical industry.

Module provider

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Module Leader

DUYAR Melis (Chst Chm Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 71

Lecture Hours: 11

Tutorial Hours: 12

Laboratory Hours: 4

Guided Learning: 41

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

 Indicative content includes:

Introduction to equilibria and staged separation processes

  • Minimum work of separation

  • Vapour liquid equilibria

  • Multicomponent flashes

Introduction to distillation

  • The equimolar overflow concept (plus Trouton’s rule)

  • The top operating line

  • The bottom operating line and McCabe-Thiele

  • The q line and energy balances

  • The feed line

  • Minimum stages and tray efficiency

  • Advanced columns – pump arounds etc

Batch distillation

  • Simple batch distillation

  • Derivation and use of the Rayleigh equation

Introduction to gas-liquid absorption and stripping in equilibrium staged processes

  • The definition and use of operating lines

  • Tray hydraulics

  • Tray to tray calculations and the Kremser equation

Introduction to liquid-liquid extraction

  • Simple multi-stage contactors

  • Counter-current contact

  • Total and partial immiscibility, triangular diagrams and stage to stage graphical constructions

HYSYS simulation

  • Introduction to the package, unit operations, graphical topology, component database, thermodynamic options, convergence, report generation

  • Checking thermodynamic setting against experimental data

  • Interpretation of process description, setting up and running a simulation, convergence to required product rate and specification

  • Process costing and profitabality


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework REPORT 24

Alternative Assessment

HYSYS Simulation Report will be completed on an individual basis.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to engage the students at an early stage in the semester and provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate all module learning outcomes, through a balanced mix of theoretical questions, design exercises and hands-on HYSYS simulations.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of

  • HYSYS Individual Submission - 11% after first HYSYS session (Simulation, Report and Simple Calculations) (LO4, LO5)

  • HYSYS Simulation Report – 24%. Submission of a report (group/individual options), outlining the modelling of the process and including an assessment of the profitability of the process, a critical evaluation of the design and a completed simulation of any process improvements applied (LO3, LO4, LO5)

  • Examination – 65%, 2 hours (LO1 – LO3)

Formative assessment:

Online quizzes associated with progress through HYSYS tutorials. Only upon satisfactory completion of this activity will the HYSYS component be marked (LO4,LO5)


Module aims

  • Provide students with an introduction to equilibria, including binary vapour-liquid systems and ternary liquid-liquid systems.
  • Introduce equilibrium staged separation processes, focussing on gas absorption, binary distillation and liquid-liquid extraction processes.
  • Provide the knowledge and skills to undertake the specification and design of absorption columns, binary distillation columns and liquid liquid extractors (i.e. continuous diffusional contact devices)
  • Familiarise students with a commercially available process modelling package (HYSYS) through hands-on examples

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Recognise models used to describe phase equilibirum in ideal mixtures and useful simplifications for non-ideal cases. KC
002 Predict equilibria for binary vapour-liquid and ternary liquid-liquid systems and interpret appropriate graphical representations of these equilibria. KC
003 Design stage processes for gas-liquid absorption (bulk and dilute), binary distillation and liquid-liquid extracion using equilibria, operating and tie lines. KCP
004 Interpret a process description anduse HYSYS to simulate a process. KCP
005 Critically evaluate the output of the simulation and apply a simple costing model to evaluate the profitability of the process and suggest improvements CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Illustrate fundamental concepts and design procedures during lectures, by presenting them in the context of several worked examples.

  • Highlight the similarities and differences between the different separation processes, and their design.

  • Provide the students with opportunities to practice these concepts in carefully selected and thoroughly supervised tutorial sessions.

  • Allow students to develop hands-on experience of building and analysing complex process models

The learning and teaching methods include:

Separation Processes 1

  • Lectures                                 2 hours per week for 11 weeks (22 hours total)

  • Tutorial/Problem Classes       1 hours per week for 12 weeks (12 hours total) 

  • Independent learning             71 hours


  • Supervised Lab Session        4 hours

  • Independent study (including online tutorial videos)                41 hours    

  • Drop in sessions                    6 hours


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENG2111

Other information

The School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas

Employability: This module uses an industry standard chemical engineering process design software (HYSYS) to illustrate concepts in separation processes, preparing students for life beyond academia. Students also complete a group project which develops teamwork and communication skills.

Digital Capabilities: With hands on training on HYSYS software, students enhance their understanding of fundamental concepts in chemical engineering related to separation processes. The HYSYS gives students a digital platform to explore different scenarios in the design of separation processes, developing knowledge that can be applied to different real world scenarios. A big emphasis on this module is to learn when to trust the output of a software. Students learn to use chemical engineering knowledge to develop digital simulations that reflect a realistic problem in chemical engineering, while also learning how to assess the error in a digital simulation, calculating the deviation from reality.

Sustainability: Separation processes account for up to 15% of the world’s energy consumption, and the design of efficient separation processes can have a big impact on sustainability in the chemicals industry. The examples used to illustrate fundamental concepts in separation processes in this module make connections to the sustainability metrics of the overall processes. Students learn how to adjust parameters in their design of separation processes to improve certain sustainability metrics such as energy consumption. Separation processes are also an essential part of environmental pollution control and students develop the ability to design separation processes that are used in pollution abatement.

Resourcefulness and Resilience:  Students have the option to select their own group to complete the HYSYS project report assignment. Through this activity they develop communication and group-work skills and learn to manage timelines of different group members to deliver an engineering project. Support by teaching staff is offered to facilitate groupwork discussions and team building.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Chemical and Petroleum Engineering BEng (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemical Engineering BEng (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemical and Petroleum Engineering MEng 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemical Engineering MEng 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.