CHEN30240 Biochemical Engineering Lab 1

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module, which is a core module for the BE in Chemical Engineering with Biochemical Engineering Minor, is designed to explore and reinforce the fundamental principles of unit operations and transport phenomena, through laboratory-based experimentation and associated theoretical analysis and process simulation. It will enhance students' practical skills, as well as their awareness of and commitment to safe practice in laboratory and pilot-plant environments. Building from student learning in Stage 2 laboratory-based modules (CHEN20040/CHEN20080), it will further develop students' analytical abilities, as well as their technical reporting and communication skills. Where appropriate, experimental work will be supplemented with simulation/modelling (DynoChem and/or Aspen). This is a writing-intensive module.

Students, working in pairs/groups, will undertake and report (via technical reports, posters and/or oral presentations) on selected experiments relating to the following topics:
- Distillation: pilot-scale batch distillation with reflux, laboratory-scale solvent swap distillation
- Fermentation: laboratory-scale batch yeast fermentation
- Chromatography: chromatographic-based techniques for separation and/or analytical appications
- Stirred Tank Reactors (STR): characterisation of mixing and mass transfer in standard configuration stirred tank reactors
- Air-Lift Reactors (ALR): characterisation of hydroynamics and mixing in an air-lift reactor, operating in bubble colum and external-loop ALR mode.
- Evaporation: performance of single-effect and triple-effect evaporation systems
- Membrane filtration: water purification via osmosis.

This module will include the following, professionally-relevant, discipline-specific activities:
- Training in the use of process simulation software (DynoChem) and application of process simulation software (DynoChem & Aspen)
- Lectures in selected, experimentally-relevant operations/techniques for process/analytical applications.
- Laboratory and Process Safety training, via lectures, laboratory-related activities and via selected AIChE Safety Certificate online modules. (All CHEN30240 students will be required to register for (free) AIChE Student Membership.

Recommended Texts:
- McCabe, W., Smith, J. & Harriott, P. (2005) Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering. 7th Ed. New York: McGraw Hill.
- A laboratory manual will be provided.
- In preparing to perform laboratory experiments and in developing associated reports/assignments, students are expected to consult the relevant literature and relevant CHEN module materials.

A alternative linear mark-to-grade conversion system is used in this module for grades of C- and
above (i.e. C-:55.00-59.99; 60.00-64.99; C+: 65.00-69.99; B-: 70.00-74.99; B: 75.00-79.99; B+: 80.00-84.99; A-: 85.00-89.99; A: 90.00-94.99; A+:95.00-100.00).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should have:

1. Developed practical skills in a number of laboratory and processing techniques relevant to the chemical and allied industries
2. The ability to analyse a variety of standard unit operations, using process data and experimental measurements. Analyse experimental data, critically evaluate experimental results and understand data science, analytics and the ethical usage of technology and data. Compare obtained results with expected results and effectively communicate the results in written reports
3. An enhanced understanding of the principles underlying the performance of unit operations, fluid flow, heat transfer and mass transfer
4. Developed good laboratory practice, particularly with regard to safety, health and the environment.
5. Understand impact of chemical engineering (including choice of experimental parameters/conditions) on the environment, society and the economy.
6. Developed proficiency in the application of industry-standard computer-based simulation tools.
7. Enhanced their skills in the design of experiments and in the reporting & presentation of results.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lab work; active/task-based learning; peer and group work; lectures; critical writing. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Laboratory Reports & Assignments Varies over the Trimester n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Professor Niall English Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Roderick Jones Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 31, 32, 33 Mon 14:00 - 15:50
Laboratory Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 10:00 - 12:50
Computer Aided Lab Offering 1 Week(s) - 20 Tues 14:00 - 16:50
Laboratory Offering 1 Week(s) - 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 14:00 - 16:50
Computer Aided Lab Offering 1 Week(s) - 20 Wed 10:00 - 12:50
Laboratory Offering 1 Week(s) - 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Wed 10:00 - 12:50