Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers book cover

Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers

Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers, Fifth Edition, provides solutions, common sense techniques, shortcuts, and calculations to help chemical and process engineers deal with practical on-the-job problems. It discusses physical properties for proprietary materials, pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical sector heuristics, and process design with simulation software, along with closed-loop heat transfer systems, heat exchangers, packed columns, and structured packings. Organized into 27 chapters, the book begins with an overview of formulae and data for sizing piping systems for incompressible and compressible flow. It then moves to a discussion of design recommendations for heat exchangers, practical equations for solving fractionation problems, along with design of reactive absorption processes. It also considers different types of pumps and presents narrative as well as tabular comparisons and application notes for various types of fans, blowers, and compressors. The book also walks the reader through the general rules of thumb for vessels, how cooling towers are sized based on parameters such as return temperature and supply temperature, and specifications of refrigeration systems. Other chapters focus on pneumatic conveying, blending and agitation, energy conservation, and process modeling. Online calculation tools, Excel workbooks, guidelines for hazardous materials and processes, and a searchable Rules of Thumb library are included. Chemical engineers faced with fluid flow problems will find this book extremely useful.

Chemical Engineers

Paperback, 456 Pages

Published: June 2012

Imprint: Butterworth Heinemann

ISBN: 978-0-12-387785-7


  • "Branan's useful and convenient handbook for chemical and process engineers (at a bargain price) will be much appreciated by students and practitioners..."
    American Reference Books Annual


  • Publisher’s Note

    1: Fluid Flow


        Data Required

        General Procedure

        Recommended Velocity

        Equivalent Length

        Shortcut Equation for Pressure Drop Due to Friction

        Reynolds Number

        Friction Factor

        Incompressible Flow

        Compressible Flow - Isothermal

        Compressible Flow - Transmission Equations


        Compressible Flow - Adiabatic

        Visual Basic Subroutines for Pressure Drop Due to Friction


        Control Valves

        Partially Full Horizontal Pipes

        Two-Phase Flow

    2: Heat Exchangers



        Selection Guides

        Design Recommendations

        Process Data

        Heat Exchanger Configuration and Area

        Determining the LMTD Configuration Correction Factor

        Tubeside Pressure Drop

        Tube Side Film Coefficient

        Shell Diameter

        Ideal Shell Side Film Coefficient

        Shell Side Film Coefficient Correction Factors

        Overall Heat Transfer Coefficient

        Shell Side Pressure Drop

        Heat Transfer Coefficients

        Fouling Resistances

        Installation Recommendations

        Thermal Conductivity of Metals

        Vacuum Condensers

        Air-cooled Heat Exchangers: Forced vs. Induced Draft

        Air-cooled Heat Exchangers: Air Data

        Air-cooled Heat Exchangers: Thermal Design

        Air-cooled Heat Exchangers: Pressure Drop, Air Side

        Air-cooled Heat Exchangers: Temperature Control

    3: Fractionators


        Separation Factor

        Relative Volatility

        Vapor-Liquid Equilibrium

        Activity Coefficients

        Establishing the Column Pressure

        Minimum Reflux - Binary

        Minimum Reflux - Multicomponent

        Minimum Stages

        Relationship of Theoretical Stages to Reflux Ratio

        Feed Location

        Reflux-to-Feed Ratio

        Actual Trays

        Graphical Methods - The McCabe-Thiele Diagram

        Plotting With Murphree Tray Efficiency

        Tray Efficiency Rules of Thumb

        Using the McCabe-Thiele Plot

        Column Internals - Trays and Packing

        Column Tray Spacing

        Tower Diameter - Souders-Brown Correlation

        Pressure Drop - Trays

        Control Schemes


        Packed Columns

    4: Absorbers


        Hydrocarbon Absorber Design

        Inorganic Absorbers

        Packing Height for Mass Transfer in Packed Columns

        Overall Mass Transfer Coefficient

    5: Pumps


        Pump Types and Selection

        Pump Testing

        System Curves

        Operating Point and Pump Selection

        Flow Control with Throttling Valve

        Charting Control Characteristics

        Flow Control by Changing the Pump Speed

        Affinity Laws


        Minimum Flow

        Temperature Rise

        Suction System NPSH Available

        Suction System NPSH for Studies

        Multiple Centrifugal Pumps in Parallel or in Series

    6: Fans, Blowers and, Compressors


        Rules of Thumb


        Fan Noise

        Blower Types

        Compressor Types

        Surge Control

        Performance Calculations

        Affinity Laws

        Power - Fan

        Power - Reciprocating Compressor

        Power - Centrifugal Compressor

        Comparison with Manufacturer’s Data

        Power with P-E Diagram

        Cost of Compressed Air

        Receiver Volume

        Time to Pump System to Pressure

    7: Drivers


        Electric Motors

        Motor Voltages

        Motors: Efficiency

        Motors: Starter Sizes

        Motors: Useful Equations

        Motors: Overloading

        Air-Driven Motors

        Hydraulic Motors

        Steam Turbines: Steam Rate

        Steam Turbines: Efficiency

        Gas Turbines: Performance

        Internal Combustion Engines: Fuel Rates

        Gas Expanders: Available Energy

    8: Vessels


        General Rules of Thumb for Vessels

        Tank Dimensions

        Liquid Volume at Any Fill Height

        Time to Drain a Tank

        Emissions from Storage Tanks

        Load Cells

        Liquid-Liquid Separators

        Vapor-Liquid Separators

        Liquid Surge Volume

        Vapor Velocity in the Disengagement Section

        Vapor-Liquid Separator Size

        Vessel Specifications

        Good Engineering Practices for Storage Tank and Vent Relief Design

    9: Boilers


        Boiler Horsepower

        Types of Packaged Boilers

        Power Plants


        Thermal Efficiency

        Stack Gas Enthalpy

        Steam Drum Stability

        Deaerator Venting

        Water Alkalinity

        Source Water Impurities

        Conductivity versus Dissolved Solids

        Silica in Steam

        Caustic Embrittlement

        Waste Heat

        Boiler Feedwater

        Blowdown Control

        Best Practices - Burner System Piping

    10: Cooling Towers


        Mechanical Draft Cooling Towers

        Material and Energy Balance Calculations

        Rating Nomenclature

        Performance Calculations

        Operations and Accessories

        Water Quality Guidelines

        Scale Prevention

    11: Refrigeration



        Indirect and Direct System Design

        Horsepower per Ton


        Refrigerant Containment

        Steam Jet Ejectors

        Ammonia Absorption Utilities Requirements

    12: Closed Loop Heat Transfer Systems


        Selecting the Heat Transfer Fluid

        Types of Heat Transfer Fluids

        Heat Transfer Coefficient

        System Design

        Temperature Control

        Physical Properties of Commercial Heat Transfer Fluids

    13: Biopharmaceutical Systems


        Contamination Root Causes

        Contamination Investigation and Recovery

        Microbiology Investigation

        Risk Assessment


    14: Vacuum Systems


        Vacuum Units

        Conversion between Mass Flow, Actual Volume Flow, and Standard Volume Flow

        Comparison of Vacuum Equipment

        Vacuum Jets

        Liquid Ring Vacuum Pumps

        Dry Vacuum Pumps

        Typical Jet Systems

        Steam Supply

        Measuring Air Leakage

        Time to Evacuate

        Instrumentation and Controls

    15: Pneumatic Conveying


        Flow Regimes

        Types of Systems

        System Design Procedure

        Saltation Velocity

        Pressure Drop

        Prime Movers

        Feed Systems

        Conveyor Piping


    16: Blending and Agitation



        Impeller Types

        Dimensional Analysis


        Solids Suspension

        Gas Dispersion

        In-Line Mixers

        High Shear Mixers

        Mixing Solids

        Mechanical Design

        Impeller Weight

    17: Process Evaluation


        Accuracy of Cost Estimates

        User Requirements

        Block Diagrams

        Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs)

        Basis of Design

        Block-Sequential Diagrams

        Piping & Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs)

        Data Sheets and Specifications

        Capital Cost Estimates

        Organization of a Cost Estimate


    18: Reliability


        Initial Design

        Risk Analysis

        Sustainable Practices

    19: Metallurgy


        Cost Comparison

        Embodied Energy


        Stress-Corrosion Cracking

        Hydrogen Attack

        Pitting Corrosion

        Creep and Creep-Rupture Life

        Naphthenic Acid Corrosion

        Thermal Fatigue

        Abrasive Wear

        Pipeline Toughness

        Common Corrosion Mistakes

    20: Safety


        Process Safety Management (PSM)

        Process Hazard Analysis (PHA)

        Safe Design Practices

        Emergency Vent Systems

        Flash Point of Binary Mixtures

        Deflagration Prevention or Control

        Prevent Backflow

        Equipment Purging

        Electrical Area Classification

        Causes for Loss of Containment

        Dust Explosion Hazards

    21: Controls


        Basic Nomenclature

        Definitions of Control Modes

        Cascade Control

        Specifying Instruments to Measure Values

        Control Ranges

        Drawing Conventions

        Artistic Expression

        Safety Instrumented Systems

        Enclosures: NEMA and IP

    22: Troubleshooting


        General Troubleshooting Approach

        Diagnostic Tools


        Control Valves (Process Control)

        Shell-and-Tube Heat Exchangers

        Plate-and-Frame Heat Exchangers

        Fractionation Towers

        Fractionation Case Histories

        Centrifugal Pumps


        Steam Jet Vacuum Systems


    23: Startup


        Startup Management

        Change Control During Startup

        Startup Cost

        Systems Approach

        Construction Quality

        Startup Checklists

        Operating Modes

    24: Energy Conservation


        Calculating Steam Cost

        Steam System Rules of Thumb

        Equivalent Cost of Fuels

        Steam Traps

        Energy Efficient Design for Fractionators

        Pinch Analysis


    25: Process Modeling


        Concepts and Terminology

        Equipment Design

        Mass and Energy Transfer

        Flowsheet Simulation - Continuous Process

        Flowsheet Simulation - Dynamic Process

        Discrete Process Simulation

        General Purpose Simulation Environments

        Software List

    26: Conversion Factors and Constants

        Significant Figures and Rounding

        Gas Constant

        Standard Gas Volume

        Atmospheric Pressure

        Irrigation Conversion

    27: Properties


        Approximate Physical Properties

        Vapor Pressure Equation

        Liquid Viscosity

        Relative Humidity

        Surface Tension

        Thermodynamic Properties of Water and Steam

        Gas Diffusion Coefficients

        Bulk Modulus

        Water and Hydrocarbons

        Compressibility Factor

        Inorganic Gases in Petroleum

        Foam Density

        Equivalent Diameter

        Properties Data Sheet

    Appendix A: Resources

    Appendix B: Tank Cleaning



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