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ChEn 385 Thermodynamics and Heat & Mass Transfer


Refrigeration (the chilling process used in air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, etc.) is accomplished by the vapor compression cycle. You first learned about this process in Ch En 273, and you will see it again in Ch En 373. Four unit operations are involved: compression, condensation, expansion across a valve, and evaporation.

Vapor Pressure

All thermodynamic equations require absolute pressure (atmospheric pressure is location and day specific). In this lab you will learn: the PVT behavior of compounds along the vapor/liquid saturation line, how such states are quantified, and how such states are physically created.

Heat Exchanger

Heat exchangers facilitate the transfer of energy from one fluid stream to another. Using a heat exchanger, students will understand how flow rate affects the operating conditions of heat exchangers and identify the differences between flat plate and shell & tube heat exchangers.


Heat capacity is a physical property of a chemical that describes how much the temperature of the substance changes when heat transfer occurs. In this lab you will be able to describe the physical meaning of heat capacity and the molecular-level interactions involved, understand how a calorimeter operates and is used to measure heat capacity.


Mass transfer is one of the most important concepts that define the field of chemical engineering because one of the main applications of the phenomena is separations. In this lab you will be able to quantify the process of evaporation of a liquid out of an open container and explain how it occurs in terms of mass transfer.


Convection of heat occurs when a moving fluid at one temperature flows past an object at another temperature. Students will calculate convective heat transfer coefficients from experiments, explain how flow rate affects the convective heat transfer coefficient, and explain the difference between free and forced convection in this lab.


In this lab students will qualitatively explain how changes in thermal resistances affect the temperature profile through a composite solid and be able to match physical parameters to Fourier's Law of conduction


A large portion of any chemical process involves the separation of mixtures to make pure chemical species. The purpose of this lab is to understand how experimental VLE data is measured using an ebulliometer, obtain activity coefficients from experimental VLE data, and explain the phase behavior of a binary mixture.

Mass Convection

One application of the analogy between heat and mass transfer means that a correlation developed to describe convective heat transfer can also be used for convective mass transfer problems. Students will apply the heat and mass transfer analogy to solve convective mass transfer problems and calculate convective mass transfer coefficients from correlations and experiments.

Shell and tube Heat Exchanger

Shell and tube heat exchangers are ubiquitous in many industries. In this lab students will experience operating a pilot-scale shell and tube heat exchanger, quantitatively analyze the performance of the heat exchanger using real data, and explain the qualitative behavior of heat exchanger performance.