Chemical Process Dynamics is a core theme in chemical engineering. The purpose of this area of study is to identify and characterise industrial chemical processes. The problems (and difficulties) arises from large-scale chemical reactions are different from lab-scale reactions.
Eg. a chemist may use a burnsen burner to heat a 200ml beaker of water. This process is sufficiently efficient in the lab because the quantity of water being boiled is small.
Imagine scaling the 200ml beaker to a 1000L container. The heat transfer from the heat source (at the bottom of the container) may not reach the water at the top. At high temperature, the superheated water form a vapour film at the bottom of the container, which acts a heat insulator. This means the temperature of the heat source must be raised to compensate the rate of heat transfer.
Another problem is evaporation. The rate of evaporation is hardly a problem in a 200ml beaker, but a 1000L container is capable of producing so much steam that it will choke everyone in the entire lab/room. We cannot afford to boil water in a system directly open to the environment in the same room.
Alot of heat required means alot of money wasted on fuel. How do we improve the economy of the process? Is it possible to use the exhuast gas from combustion to warm up the water before the water enter the boiler? Is it possible to maximise the contact area between the heat source and water?
Other important area of consideration is how fast the system response to an input. If a system were to response 5min after the input has been adjusted, or if the system were to exhibit a momentarily negative response when you expect it to exhibit a positive response? What implication does transient behavior on the entire system and the controller network?
In all, this forum aims to bridge the conceptual gap between chemistry and chemical engineering. It aims to educate chemists the difference between industrial processes and lab processes, and make them aware the importance of economics in applied chemistry,