Sequential Batch Processing Experiment for First-Year ChE Students


  • Ronald J. Willey Northeastern University
  • J. Anthony Wilson University of Nottingham
  • Warren E. Jones University of Nottingham
  • John H. Hills University of Nottingham


Batch processing is an important aspect of chemical engineering; yet experiments designed with direct emphasis on batch processing are few and far between.  This paper reports on the results of running a sequential batch experiment operated by first-year ChE Students.  The experiment was repeated twice in each session; first automatically and second manually.  The experiment involved a 400-liter vessel in which two reactants, A and B (both were water for this experiment) were added in the correct sequence. Then heating followed to 55°C by using a steam jacket.  The batch was held at this temperature for ten minutes, and afterward, cooling to 40°C by a cooling water coil ensued.  When the batch finally reached 40°C, it was transferred to the next step in the process (the drain, in this case).  Students are exposed to several important ChE principles, including energy balances and automated data acquisition.  They also gain an appreciation of automatic-versus-manual control of batch processes.

Author Biographies

Ronald J. Willey, Northeastern University

Ronald Willey holds a BS from the University of New Hampshire and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). He joined the Northeastern faculty in 1983. His teaching centers around the unit operations laboratory and his interests include integration of process safety into the chemical engineering curriculum. He is a registered engineer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

J. Anthony Wilson, University of Nottingham

Anthony Wilson holds BSc and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Nottingham. With industrial and consulting experience in process control and batch process engineering, and active research in both fields, he coordinates the school's research in computeraided process engineering.

Warren E. Jones, University of Nottingham

Warren Jones holds BSc and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Nottingham. He has a wide-ranging interest in both frontend process and detailed plant design, developed initially through nine years of experience with a major engineering and construction company. Teaching responsibilities include several plant design courses and engineering thermodynamics.

John H. Hills, University of Nottingham

John Hills holds MA and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge. He worked in industrial R&D and taught in Africa before coming to Nottingham. His research interests are in gas-liquid reactors and multiphase flow, and he currently teaches chemical reactor design and chemical thermodynamics.