CHME 441.Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Engineering

1. Course number and name

CHME 441. Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Engineering

2. Credits and contact hours

3 credit hours = 45 contact hours per semester

3. Instructor’s or course coordinator’s name

Dr. David A. Rockstraw, Ph. D., P. E.

4. Text book, title, author, and year

5. Specific course information

a. catalog description: Analysis and interpretation of kinetic data and catalytic phenomena. Applied reaction kinetics; ideal reactor modeling; non-ideal flow models. Mass transfer accompanied by chemical reaction. Application of basic engineering principles to design, operation, and analysis of industrial reactors. 

b. prerequisites: CHEM 313, CHME 302 and CHME 306 co-requisites: CHME 307

c. required, elective, or selected elective (as per Table 5-1): Required

6. Specific goals for the course

a. The student will be able to…

  • define the rate of chemical reaction, conversion, and space time;
  • write mole balances in terms of conversion for a batch reactor, CSTR, PFR, and PBR;
  • determine reactor sizes (volume, catalyst weight) for reactors either alone or in series once given the molar flow rate of A and the rate of reaction, – rA, as a function of conversion, X;
  • write the relationship between the relative rates of reaction;
  • write a rate law and define reaction order and activation energy;
  • define the Arrhenius Equation and describe how rate of reaction varies with temperature;
  • describe homogeneous, heterogeneous, elementary, nonelementary and reversible reactions;
  • express species concentration as a function of conversion for liquid and gas phase reactions;
  • express the volumetric flow rate for a gas phase reaction as a function of conversion;
  • express the rate of reaction as a function of conversion for any given rate law;
  • account for effect of pressure drop on conversion in packed bed reactors;
  • size batch reactors, semibatch reactors, CSTRs, PFRs, PBRs, membrane reactors, and microreactors for isothermal operation given the rate law and feed conditions;
  • determine the reaction order and specific reaction rate from experimental data;
  • describe how the methods of half lives, and of initial rate, are used to analyze rate data;
  • choose the appropriate reactor and reaction system that would maximize the selectivity of the desired product given the rate laws for all the reactions occurring in the system;
  • size reactors to maximize selectivity and to determine the species concentrations in a batch reactor, a semibatch reactor, a CSTR, a PFR, and a PBR, in systems with multiple reactions;
  • discuss pseudo-steady-state-hypothesis and how it is used;
  • explain what an enzyme is and how it acts as a catalyst;
  • describe Michaelis-Menten enzyme kinetics and rate law with its temperature dependence;
  • discuss how to distinguish the different types of enzyme inhibition;
  • discuss the stages of cell growth and the rate laws used to describe growth;
  • write material balances on cells, substrates, and products in bioreactors to size chemostats and plot concentration-time trajectories in batch reactors;
  • define a catalyst, a catalytic mechanism and a rate limit step;
  • describe the steps in a catalytic mechanism and how one goes about deriving a rate law and a mechanism and rate limiting step consistent with the experimental data;
  • size isothermal reactors for reactions with Langmuir-Hinshelwood kinetics;
  • discuss the different types of catalyst deactivation and the reactor types and describe schemes that can help offset the deactivation;
  • describe the steps in Chemical Vapor Deposition(CVD);
  • size adiabatic CSTRs, PFRs, and PBRs;
  • use reactor staging to obtain high conversions for highly exothermic reversible reactions;
  • size nonadiabatic CSTRs, PFRs, and PBRs;
  • carry out an analysis to determine the Multiple Steady States (MSS) in a CSTR along with the ignition and extinction temperatures;
  • analyze multiple reactions carried out in CSTRs, PFRs, and PBRs which are not operated isothermally in order to determine the concentrations and temperature as a function of position (PFR/PBR) and operating variables;
  • analyze batch reactors and semibatch not operated isothermally;
  • analyze perturbations in temperature and presence for CSTRs being operated at steady state and describe under what conditions the reactors can be unsafe (safety);
  • analyze multiple reactions in batch and semibatch reactors not operated isothermally;
  • define a residence time distribution (RTD) [E(t), F(t)] and the mean residence time;
  • determine E(t) form tracer data;
  • write the RTD functions (E(t), F(t), I(t)) for ideal CSTRs, PFRs, and laminar flow reactors;
  • describe the tanks-in-series and dispersion one parameter models;
  • describe how to obtain the mean residence time and variance to calculate the number of tanks-in-series and the Peclet number;
  • calculate Peclet numbers and dispersion coefficients using correlations and RTD data; and
  • calculate conversion for a first order reaction in a tubular reactor with dispersion.

b. Criterion 3 Student Outcomes specifically addressed by this course are found in a mapping of outcomes against all CHME courses in the curriculum.

7. Brief list of topics to be covered

  • mole balances
  • conversion
  • reactor sizing
  • rate laws
  • reacting system stoichiometry
  • isothermal reactor design
  • collection and analysis of rate data
  • systems involving multiple reactions
  • non-ideal reaction mechanisms
  • bioreactions and bioreactors
  • steady-state nonisothermal reactor design
  • unsteady state nonisothermal reactor design
  • catalysis and catalytic reactors
  • distributions of residence times for chemical reactors
  • models for nonideal reactors

Common Syllabus Addendum

The NMSU Department of Chemical Engineering maintains a syllabus addendum containing course requirements common to all courses with the CH E prefix online.  This document is accessible from the URL:

Last modified: January 4, 2017