Return to Home Page

PSE 370 / PSE 570 - Principles of Mass and Energy Balances


Fall 2012
(3 credits)

Lecture: MW 8:00-9:20 am in 211 Walters
Review Session: Tu 7:00-9:00 am in 211 Walters

Prerequisites: PHY 211, MAT 296 (or concurrent), FCH 152

Dr. Gary M. Scott
205 Walters Hall
Phone: x6501
Office Hrs: by appointment

Teaching Assistant:
Mr. John Buyondo
Phone: 315-420-7074
410 Walters Hall
Office Hrs: Tu 2:00-4:00 pm, W 12:00-2:00 pm
(Other times by appointment)
Undergraduate Teaching Assistant:
Ms. Aislinn Brackman
14 Bray Hall
Office Hrs: M 11:30 am-1:30 pm, Th 10:30 am-12:30 pm
(Other times by appointment)

Catalog Description

Conservation of mass and energy applied to steady-state and dynamic process units and systems. Problem analysis and solution; computational techniques. Thermodynamic data and their use; real vs. perfect gases; steam properties; psychrometry.

General Course Information

The course is designed as an introduction to engineering calculations and problem solving. These are skills that you will use in many of your upper division paper, bioprocess, and environmental engineering courses, summer and co-op jobs, and in your future employment. For example in PSE 468, you will be doing mass and energy balances on the paper machines in the pilot plant during the senior papermaking runs. In addition to learning how to solve engineering problems with pencil, paper, and calculator, we will also be doing computer solutions using WinGems (a pulp and paper industry-specific simulator), MathCad, Matlab, and Excel. Developing the skill to solve complicated mass and energy balance problems will make the topics covered in future classes much easier to learn.

Expected Background

Chemistry, physics, and calculus are prerequisites for this course according to the catalog. If you have not satisfied these prerequisites, you should seriously consider not taking this course until you have satisfied them. Specifically, I assume that you understand the following concepts from chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science.

  1. Chemistry
    1. Stoichiometry (limiting reagent, excess reagent)
    2. Formula weights
    3. Balancing chemical reactions
    4. Temperature scales (relative and absolute)
    5. Common English units and their SI equivalence
    6. Measures of concentration (M, ppm, etc.)
    7. Ideal gas law (Pv = RT)
  2. Mathematics
    1. Algebra, solving equations for a variable
    2. Solving systems of equations (especially linear equations, degrees of freedom)
    3. Integration and differentiation
    4. Simple differential equations and solutions
  3. Physics
    1. Basic understanding of mechanics, time, distance, acceleration
    2. SI units of length, mass, time, and the derived units (velocity, force, work, power, acceleration, pressure, etc.)
    3. Common English units and their SI equivalence
    4. Concepts of force, power, work
    5. Pressure (gauge, absolute, and vacuum)
    6. Conservation of mass and energy
  4. Computer Skills
    1. Email
    2. Programming functions on a programmable calculator
    3. Microsoft Word (or other word processor)
    4. Microsoft Excel (or other spreadsheet)

Course Outcomes:

Every course that a student takes should further his knowledge, building on what was learned previously. By the end of this course, each student should be able:

  1. To explain the concepts of dimensions, units, psychrometry, steam properties, and conservation of mass and energy;
  2. To solve steady-state mass and energy balance problems involving multiple process units and recycle/bypass/purge streams;
  3. To solve and understand simple unsteady-state mass and energy balances;
  4. To assess the quality and quantity of data given in engineering problems and discuss the quality of the solutions derived from the data given;
  5. To solve more complicated problems using the software appropriate to the problem;
  6. To present the solutions to engineering problems in both oral and written form in a clear and concise manner.

Relation to Curriculum Outcomes (Paper Engineering and Bioprocess Engineering):

PSE 370 is a sophomore/junior level course intended to be taken after some basic fundamental courses and before more in-depth engineering courses. The skills you learn in this class will help with the problem solving that occurs in many of your subsequent classes. Specifically, this class addresses the following published learning outcomes for Paper Science and Engineering:

  1. a sound knowledge of science and engineering as applied to paper science and engineering;
  2. the ability to conceptualize problems in terms of unifying principles, design and conduct experiments, and analyze and interpret data;
  3. the ability to solve a real engineering problem in a team environment using appropriate design techniques;
  4. an ability to engage in life-long learning;
  5. well-developed written and oral communication skills;

Required Textbook:

Basic Principles and Calculations in Chemical Engineering, Seventh Edition by David M. Himmelblau (Prentice Hall, 2004). The text is available from Syracuse University Bookstore. It is also available (and probably cheaper) from online booksellers such as,, and If you do order the book from an online seller, you should use overnight or express shipping to receive the book in a timely manner. It is expected that most of the text will be covered in the course. Steam tables will also need to be purchased as announced in class. Students are also encouraged to purchase the Fundamentals of Engineering Supplied-Reference Handbook, 7th Edition produced by the NCEES ( This book is the only reference material allowed to be used on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam so it is in your best interest to be thoroughly familiar with its layout. Two other useful texts are Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook, edited by Don W. Green (McGraw-Hill, 1984) and Standard Handbook of Engineering Calculations, edited by Tyler G. Hicks (McGraw-Hill, 1995).

Student Information

Students can access course information for PSE 370 / PSE 570 through the Blackboard@SU system. Log in with your student ID and password. Help with Blackboard@SU is available here.

Copyright 2012, Gary M. Scott. All rights reserved.