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Unit outline_

CHNG3801: Process Plant Design

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This is a project based unit of study that aims to develop the practical skills required in process engineering with the focus on design, simulation, operation, control, and optimization of chemical and biological processes. It employs an interdisciplinary approach that applies the previously acquired knowledge of mass and heat transfer, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, reaction engineering, design of unit operations, process modelling, and process control to understand the interaction between unit operations, to analyze the process flowsheet, and to carry out equipment selection and sizing for the plant. The integrated course structure helps students develop their knowledge of integrated process design by working on miniplant design projects, involving process simulation/modelling using flowsheeting software, detailed design of plant equipment (reactor, distillation and absorption columns, pumps, piping), process modification (eg by heat integration) and process optimisation.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

Enrolment in this unit of study assumes that all core 2000 level chemical engineering units have been successfully completed

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Graham Madsen,
Lecturer(s) Graham Madsen,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final exam
Final exam covering Week 3 and Weeks 8-13 contents
35% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Assignment Homework 1
Take-home assignment covering Week 1 and Week 2 contents
10% Week 02
Due date: 13 Aug 2023 at 23:59
about 5 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3
Tutorial quiz Quiz 1
Review quiz covering Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3 contents
10% Week 04
Due date: 22 Aug 2023 at 14:00
60 min
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3
Assignment Homework 2
Take-home assignment covering Week 4, Week 6 and Week 7 contents
10% Week 07
Due date: 17 Sep 2023 at 23:59
about 5 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO5
Tutorial quiz Quiz 2
Review quiz covering Week 4, Week 6, and Week 7 contents
15% Week 09
Due date: 26 Sep 2023 at 14:00
60 min
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO5
Assignment Homework 3
Take-home assignment covering Week 8, Week 9, and Week 10 contents
10% Week 10
Due date: 22 Oct 2023 at 23:59
about 5 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO6
Assignment Homework 4
Take-home assignment covering Week 11 and Week 12 contents
10% Week 12
Due date: 05 Nov 2023 at 23:59
about 5 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO4

Assessment summary

Written examinations will be part of the assessment. It is aimed to allow students to reflect on their learning and to gauge their performance in the course. Students are highly encouraged to treat and use these as learning situations rather than examination exercises.

Homework: 4 times, 40% of the final mark. There will be four take-home assignments. Students will work on the homework questions during the tutorial sessions to better understand the key concepts of the lectures. The lecturer and the tutors will be available to assist students. 

Quiz​*: 2 Review quizzes on Week 4 and 8, 25% of the final mark

Final exam*: 35% of the final mark during the exam period. 

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

* indicates an assessment task which must be repeated if a student misses it due to special consideration.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Selection and sizing of minor process equipment 1 Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 02 Selection and sizing of minor process equipment 2 Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 03 Experience-based principles in process design: rules of thumb (technical heuristics) and shortcut method Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO3
Week 04 Detailed design of tray columns (hydraulic design) Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO2 LO5
Week 05 Week in industry Placement (4 hr)  
Week 06 Detailed design of packed-bed columns (hydraulic design) Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO2 LO5
Week 07 Computer-aided equipment design (major process equipment) Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO2
Week 08 Process design development and introduction to flowsheet synthesis Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO6
Week 09 General steps in flowsheet synthesis and development 1 Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO6
Week 10 General steps in flowsheet synthesis and development 2 Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO6
Week 11 Design of heat exchanger network, pinch analysis 1 Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO4
Week 12 Design of heat exchanger network, pinch analysis 2 Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO4
Week 13 Instrumentation and process control Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO7

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

  1. R. Turton, J. A. Shaeiwitz, D. Bhattacharyya, and W. B. Whiting. Analysis, Synthesis, and Design of Chemical Processes, 2018, (5th Edition), Prentice Hall
  2. R K Sinnott Gavin Towler, Chemical Engineering Design, 2009, (5th Edition), Elsevier
  3. Peters, Timmerhaus and West, Plant Design and Economies for Chemical Engineers, 2003, (5th Edition), McGraw Hill

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate proficiency in use of international codes and engineering standards
  • LO2. demonstrate proficiency in evaluating the behaviour of heat exchangers, tray and packed-bed distillation and absorption columns using commercial process simulation software
  • LO3. demonstrate proficiency in selection and sizing of minor process equipment for transport, handling, and storage of fluids, including pumps, compressors, blowers, expanders, storage tanks, pressure vessels, piping, and instrumentation equipment
  • LO4. demonstrate proficiency in design of heat exchanger networks using heat integration principles and pinch analysis
  • LO5. demonstrate proficiency in detailed design of tray and packed-bed columns (hydraulic design)
  • LO6. demonstrate proficiency in process flowsheet development, evaluation, and selection of the most suitable arrangement of a chemical process on the basis of technical, economic, social and environmental considerations
  • LO7. demonstrate proficiency in design of control schemes and Piping and Instrument Diagrams (P&ID) for common process units and whole processes

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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