Chemical unit operations (2024)

Course manager

Simon Craige

Semester schedule

Autumn (13 + 3-week period)



Language of instruction


Course type



Competences that are equivalent to participation in the disciplines - Mathematics 1 and 2, Physical chemistry and Projects 1 and 2 are recommended.


The objective is to provide the students with a satisfactory foundation for the understanding and application of engineering processes used within biotechnology-based industries, which e.g. comprises the chemical, biochemical, and pharmaceutical industry as well as parts of the food industry.

This course will present the student with a wide range of unit operations with emphasis on the student's understanding of the physical/chemical principles involved. Teaching will be provided in Fluid Mechanics, relating to equipment operations, and calculations relating to fluid statics and dynamics. The students is expected to acquire an understanding of how the individual unit operations are combined into the overall design of processing plants. Training will also be provided in the skills expected of ingineering working in industry, such as critical thinking, technical communication, and incorporation of safety and sustaimability intoprocess and plant design.


  • Development, use and interpretation of process and engineering drawings
  • Principles of process design
  • Operational utilities and ancillary services/equipment
  • Flow in piping systems , vessels and tanks
  • Design and operation of pumps
  • Requirements and processes used to achieving aseptic conditions in biotechnology based production
  • Filtration and membrane processes
  • Extraction and chromatographic based seperation/purification processes
  • Separation and sedimentation processes (e.g. centrifugal separators, precipitation/recrystallisation, ect.
  • Different types of heat transmission, comprising the dimensioning of heat exchangers
  • Evaporation and drying
  • Crystallisation
  • Introduction to process design
  • Critical thinking and written/oral communication skills for engineers

The purposes of the laboratory elements of the course (corresponding to 4 ECTS) are to illustrate, explain and apply theoretical principles by way of practical exercises comprising subjects from the course. 

Learning targets

On completion of the course, the student is expected to be able to:


  • Assess how changes in processing conditions or processing equipment can effect the overall process
  • Work responsibly with chemical unit operations in terms of safety and compliance with given safety regulations and codes of practice
  • Understand the principles of selected chemical unit operations



  • Explain how a production process can be broken down into unit operations 
  • Compile use and interpret engineering drawings (i.e. PDFs, P&IDs)
  • Calculate sizes, flows, pressures and temperature of processing-plant components
  • Assess the capabilities, and troubleshoot issues with process plant flow and heating system
  • Size process equipment for selected unit operations (not detailed dimensioning)


  • Assess how changed processing conditions or processing equipment can affect the overall process
  • Principles of process design
  • Collect and analyse design and performance data from selected chemical unit operations

Teaching method

Lectures, Seminars, group work, problem solution, site visits, and experimental work.

Qualifications for examination participation

  • Participation in laboratory exercises and acceptance of associated reports and papers 
  • Approval of all written assignments
  • Participation in all planned site visits
  • Participation in all planned teaching activities involving external lecturers

All course work shall be executed and submitted pursuant to guidelines set out by the course manager.

Examination and aids

Oral examination based on a selected laboratory exercise plus a theoretical topic. Duration of examination: 30 min. No preparation time. 

Permitted aids: Reports on laboratory exercises. No access to the internet.




The 7-point grading scale