Designing Solutions by a Student Centred Approach: Integration of Chemical Process Simulation with Statistical Tools to Improve Distillation Systems

Isabel M. Joao, Joao M. Silva


Projects thematically focused on simulation and statistical techniques for designing and optimizing chemical processes can be helpful in chemical engineering education in order to meet the needs of engineers. We argue for the relevance of the projects to improve a student centred approach and boost higher order thinking skills. This paper addresses the use of Aspen HYSYS by Portuguese chemical engineering master students to model distillation systems together with statistical experimental design techniques in order to optimize the systems highlighting the value of applying problem specific knowledge, simulation tools and sound statistical techniques. The paper summarizes the work developed by the students in order to model steady-state processes, dynamic processes and optimize the distillation systems emphasizing the benefits of the simulation tools and statistical techniques in helping the students learn how to learn. Students strengthened their domain specific knowledge and became motivated to rethink and improve chemical processes in their future chemical engineering profession. We discuss the main advantages of the methodology from the students’ and teachers perspective


Active learning, Aspen HYSYS, Distillation, Factorial design, Higher order thinking skills, Problem solving

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International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (iJEP) – eISSN: 2192-4880
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