Course Title: Mass Transfer and Separation Processes

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Mass Transfer and Separation Processes

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


120H Civil, Environmental & Chemical Engineering


Sem 1 2006

Course Coordinator: Dr Nhol Kao

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3257

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 7.4.4

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

PROC 2045 (A&B) Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer (Parts A &B)

Course Description

Mass Transfer and Separation Processes is taken by all third year students of Chemical Engineering. The course provides tools to carry out the process design of operations involving mass transfer. The process design is combined with topics taught in other courses to enable complete equipment design.   Extensive use is made of industrial examples and analogies between the various transport mechanisms to encourage lateral thinking.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The course follows from the second year studies in Fluid Particle Mechanics and Heat Transfer where the fundamentals of transfer processes have been developed. The process designs developed here are further enhanced in Plant Design and Economics and Process Control to enable the complete design and analysis of operating equipment.

The subject matter covers a treatment of separation processes based on the concepts of stagewise and differential mass transfer.  The specific objective is to enable you to successfully undertake the analysis and design of mass transfer processes. 

After successfully  completing this course, you will be able to

  • calculate the Flux in a diffusion process;
  • determine the number of theoretical stages in a stage-wise mass transfer process;
  • determine the height requirements  for a cooling tower;
  • determine the number of transfer units and height requirements for a gas absorption process;
  • determine the number of trays for a tray distillation tower;
  • determine the height requirements for a packed distillation tower; and
  • determine the number of stages required for a stage-wise liquid -liquid extraction process.

Overview of Learning Activities

Lecture delivery, tests, tutorials, laboratory exercises and assessment tasks are designed to:

  • improve your fundamental knowledge of engineering principles;
  • develop your design skills, both in analysis and synthesis;
  • develop your written and oral communication skills;
  • increase your awareness of the environmental and social implications of your work; and
  • improve your ability to search for data.

The lectures are a guide to the scope of practical learning.  Tutorials provide examples and guidance in calculation methods.  Laboratory exercises give practice in the application of the theory.   Extension into other linked studies, such as process plant design and thermodynamics, is expected. Topic Learning Guides are provided for most topics, which set the study requirements for the course.

Overview of Learning Resources

Prescribed Text:

Geankoplis, C J, Transport Processes and Separation Process Principles (includes unit operations), Prentice-Hall, 4th edition, 2003

Recommened Texts:

  1. Treybal, R. E., Mass Transfer Operations, McGraw-Hill, 3rd edition, 1981.
  2. McCabe, W.L., Smith, J.C. and Harriott, P., Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering, McGraw-Hill, 6th edition, 2001. (The 7th edition (2005) will also used).
  3. Hines, A.L. and Maddox, R.N., Mass Transfer Fundamentals and Applications, Prentice Hall, 1985.
  4. Seader J.D. and Henley, E.J., Separation Processes Principles, John Wiley, 1998.

Overview of Assessment

Test (25%)

Laboratory (15%)

Exam (60%)