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Plant Design and Economics for Chemical Engineers, 5/e
Max S. Peters, University of Colorado
Klaus Timmerhaus, University of Colorado, Boulder
Ronald E. West, University of Colorado, Boulder

Book Preface

Process design is probably one of the most creative activities enjoyed by chemical engineers. Throughout the activity, there are many opportunities to develop imaginative new chemical or biochemical processes or to introduce changes in existing processes that could alter the environmental or economic aspects of the process. This activity clearly involves creative problem-solving abilities on the part of the chemical engineer, often in a team effort, in which basic knowledge of chemical engineering and economic principles is applied.

Chemical engineering design of new processes and the expansion and revision of existing processes require the use of engineering principles and theories combined with a practical understanding of the limits imposed by environmental, safety, and health concerns. However, the development of a new process from concept evaluation to profitable reality can become rather complex since process design problems are open-ended. Thus, there may be many solutions that are profitable even when not optimal.

Advances over the past two decades in the level of understanding of chemical principles, combined with the availability of new techniques and computer-based tools, have led to an increased degree of sophistication that now can be applied to the design of chemical and biochemical processes. This fifth edition takes advantage of this widened spectrum of chemical engineering knowledge with special emphasis on the engineering and economic principles involved in the design of processes that meet a societal or industrial need.

The purpose of this textbook is to present economic and design principles as applied in chemical engineering processes and operations. No attempt is made to train the reader as a skilled economist, and, obviously, it would be impossible to present all the possible ramifications of the multitude of different plant designs. Instead, the goal has been to give a clear concept of the important principles and general methods. The subject matter and manner of presentation are such that the book should be of value to advanced chemical engineering undergraduates, graduate students, and practicing engineers. The information should also be of interest to administrators, operation supervisors, and research or development workers in the process industries.

Chapters 1 through 3 provide an overall analysis of the major factors involved in process design. The use of computer software in process design is described early in the text as a separate chapter to introduce the reader to this important topic, with the understanding that this tool will be useful throughout the text. The various costs involved in industrial processes, capital investments and investment returns, cost estimation, cost accounting, optimum economic design methods, and other subjects dealing with economics are covered both qualitatively and quantitatively in Chaps. 6 through 9. Aguide for selecting materials of construction is presented in Chap. 10, followed by a discussion on report writing in Chap. 11. The last four chapters provide extensive design procedures for many of the equipment items utilized in process design. Generalized subjects, such as waste disposal, structural design, and equipment fabrication, are included along with design methods for different types of process equipment. Basic cost data and cost correlations are also presented for use in making cost estimates.

Illustrative examples and sample problems are used extensively in the text to illustrate the applications of the principles to practical situations. Problems are included at the end of the most chapters to give readers a chance to test their understanding of the material. Practice session problems, as well as longer design problems of varying degrees of complexity, are included in App. C. Suggested recent references are presented as footnotes to show the reader where additional information can be obtained. Earlier references are listed in prior editions of this book.

A large amount of cost data is presented in tabular and graphical form. The table of contents for the book lists chapters where equipment cost data are presented, and additional cost information on specific items of equipment or operating factors can be located by reference to the subject index. To simplify use of the extensive cost data given in this book, all cost figures are referenced to the Chemical Engineering plant cost index of 390.4 applicable for January 1, 2002. The McGraw-Hill website provides the mathematical cost relations for all the graphical cost data provided in the text integrated with economic evaluation routines. Because exact prices can be obtained only by direct quotations from manufacturers, caution should be exercised in the use of the data for other than approximate cost estimation purposes.

This textbook is suitable for either a one- or two-semester course for advanced undergraduate chemical engineers. A one-semester course covering plant and process design would utilize Chaps. 1 through 11. A second-semester course involving equipment design would utilize Chaps. 12 through 15. For either approach it is assumed that the student has a background in stoichiometry, thermodynamics, and chemical engineering principles as taught in normal undergraduate degree programs in chemical engineering. Explanations of the development of various design equations and methods are presented. The book provides a background of design and economic information with a large amount of quantitative interpretation so that it can serve as a basis for further study to develop a complete understanding of the general strategy of process engineering design.

Although nomographs, simplified equations, and shortcut methods are included, every effort has been made to indicate the theoretical background and assumptions for these relationships. The true value of plant design and economics for the chemical engineer is not found merely in the ability to put numbers into an equation and solve for a final answer. The true value is found in obtaining an understanding of the reasons why a given calculation method gives a satisfactory result. This understanding gives the engineer the confidence and ability necessary to proceed when new problems are encountered for which there are no predetermined methods of solution. Thus, throughout the study of plant design and economics, the engineer should always attempt to understand the assumptions and theoretical factors involved in the various calculation procedures, particularly when computer software is being used for the first time.

Because applied economics and plant design deal with practical applications of chemical engineering principles, a study of these subjects offers an ideal way for tying together the entire field of chemical engineering. The final result of a plant design may be expressed in dollars and cents, but this result can only be achieved through the application of various theoretical principles combined with industrial and practical knowledge. Both theory and practice are emphasized in this book, and aspects of all phases of chemical engineering are included.

The authors are indebted to the many industrial firms and individuals who have supplied information and comments on the material presented in this edition. The authors also express their appreciation to the following reviewers who have supplied constructive criticism and helpful suggestions on the presentation for this edition: Luke Achenie, University of Connecticut; Charles H. Barron, Clemson University; James R. Beckman, Arizona State University; David C. Drown, University of Idaho; Steinar Hauan, Carnegie Mellon University; Marianthi Ierapetritou, Rutgers University; Jan A. Puszynski, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology; Johannes Schwank, University of Michigan; Thomas L. Sweeney, Ohio State University; Eric J. Thorgerson, Northeastern University; and Bruce Vrana, Dupont Engineering Technology.

Acknowledgment is made to Barr Halevi, HBarr, Inc., for his many contributions to the text and his preparation of Chap. 5 and much of Chap. 13. Special thanks are also expressed to L. T. Fan, Kansas State University, and F. Friedler, Veszprem University, for their preparation of the “Algorithmic Flowsheet Generation” section in Chap. 4. The assistance in typing of the manuscript by Cynthia Ocken, CSLR University of Colorado, and Ellen Romig, chemical engineering department, University of Colorado, is greatly appreciated.

Max S. Peters
Klaus D. Timmerhaus
Ronald E. West