Course project - 2014

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Due date(s): 19 November 2014 at 09:30

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The timing is now just right for the course project to start: midterms are mostly over, and we are getting started with the last weeks of the course.

There are 3 project topics to choose from, and you may complete the project on your own, or with one other person in the class. You can pick any topic below that you prefer - there is no need to email your decision to me.

  1. . Consider the commercial, large-scale, production of membranes. There are a variety of membrane types that are used at a commercial level. In your report you are to describe and explain how membranes are produced, why and how modifications made to operate at higher temperature, why and how modifications are made to the surface properties of the membrane as a way to improve its performance, and why and how to reduce fouling.

Additional keywords to trigger some research ideas: what is a dope solution?; forward osmosis membranes; modifications to the membrane surface characteristics such as charge or functional groups.

Please note: this project is not for small or laboratory scale units. The systems you must consider are to be processing at the tonnes/day level.

  1. . Separation reactors: separation units and reactors are increasing coming together and integrated into one larger unit. In this project report you are to investigate systems which combine reaction and separations in a single, integrated unit (it can have sub units embedded inside each other). This is a chance to combine two unique Chemical Engineering concepts: reactors and separations.

In your research for this project, consider these keywords and concepts: operation of the unit; MBRs; use of the technology at a large scale (i.e. not lab- or pilot-scale); separative reactors; economic impacts.

  1. . Large scale bioseparations using chromatography and/or ion-exchange are increasingly important in bioseparations flowsheets. What are the challenges in operating these units? How are the resins and adsorbents typically selected?

Some keywords to consider in your research: capacity; selectivity; specificity; regeneration; loading and unloading.

Final project report


One you have selected the topic above, then you must:

  1. . Research/discover/select an application area where your project topic is relevant. Be specific about the objectives of the separation application (e.g. what is being separated from what). Describe how the unit operates on a regular day-to-day basis. What are the mass and/or energy separating agents? Spend about 2 pages on this part.
  2. . Then spend 1 page describing an alternate unit operation to the one you considered and discuss what the advantages and disadvantages of this unit operation are when compared to the unit you have selected.
  3. . The main part of the report will describe the topic you have selected above, answering the questions I posed related to that topic. This section should include photos or diagrams of the units.
  1. . Bonus credit: as mentioned in a prior class and on the website, you may receive 10% bonus credit if you attended the McMaster Water Week poster presentations. Add an additional half page to your report, where you describe a poster you visited. In your half-page, describe the presenter's aspect of water treatment/pollution abatement/monitoring being considered; how their work impacts society, and which technological tools they were using.

Report structure

The project report will be a professional, 8 page, business style report, written in Google Docs using the default page and font settings. These 8 pages include **all** content, including table of contents, references and any optional appendices (I strongly recommend against the use of an appendix; the report should contain the details inline where they can be read and studied by the reader). Do not use a cover page; ensure your name(s) and student number(s) appear somewhere on the first page. Please `follow the instructions on the course website carefully <>`_ for submitting electronic documents. These are not difficult to follow; but require that you pay attention.

Paper documents will not be accepted. PDF documents will not be accepted. Word documents will not be accepted.

A list of supporting references must be provided (no more than a page in total). Links to any of the course materials (my slides; guest lecture materials) are not valid resources for the course project.

Due dates


The project report is due by 19 November 2014, at 09:30, class time.