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Material and Energy Balances

Mass Balance Calculations

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Material and Energy Balances

At the end of this chapter, you should be able

• Apply material balances for simple systems
• Formulate and solve material balance

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Mass Balance Calculations
Material and Energy Balances

• All material balance problems are variations

on a single theme:
• Given values of some input and output
stream variables, derive and solve
equations for others.
• Deriving the balance equations from a
description of a process and a collection of
process data may be considerable difficult
• A procedure for reducing a description of a
process to a set of equations that can be
solved will be outlined in this lecture.

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Material and Energy Balances

The catalytic dehydrogenation of propane is carried out in a

continuous packed bed reactor. One thousand kilograms per
hour of pure propane is preheated to a temperature of 670oC
before it passes into the reactor. The reactor effluent gas, which
includes propane, propylene, methane and hydrogen, is cooled
from 800oC to 110oC and fed to an absorption tower, where the
propane and propylene are dissolved in oil. The oil then goes to
a stripping tower in which it is heated, releasing the dissolved
gases; these gases are recompressed and sent to a distillation
column in which the propane and propylene are separated. The
propane stream is recycled back to join the feed to the reactor
preheater. The product stream from the distillation column
contains 98% propylene, and the recycle stream is 97% propane.
The stripped oil is recycled to the absorption tower.

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Material and Energy Balances

• The best way to organize the information

convenient for calculations is to draw
flowchart of the process
• A flowchart is drawn using boxes or other
symbols to represent process units (reactor,
mixers, separation units, etc.) and lines with
arrows to represent inputs and outputs.

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Flowcharts - Example
Material and Energy Balances

• Suppose a gas containing N2 and O2 is combined

with propane in a batch combustion chamber in
which some of the O2 and C3H8 react to form CO2
and H2O, and the product is then cooled,
condensing the water. The flowchart of the two unit
process might appear as shown.

100 mol C3H8 50 mol C3H8 50 mol C3H8

750 mol O2 750 mol O2
CHAMBER 3760 mol N2 3760 mol N2

1000 mol O2 150 mol CO2 150 mol CO2

3760 mol N2 200 mol H2O

200 mol H2O

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Material and Energy Balances

• A flowchart of a process can help get

material balance calculations started and
keep them moving
• To do this, the chart must be fully labeled
when it is first drawn, with values of known
process variables and symbols for unknown
variables being written for each input and
output stream.
• Several suggestions to get the greatest
possible benefit from it in material balance
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Material and Energy Balances

• Suggestions:
• Write the values and units of all known stream
variables at the locations of the streams on the
• Assign algebraic symbols to unknown stream
variables and write these variable names and
their associated units on the chart
• As you work the problem, add your findings to
the chart

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Example – Flowchart
Material and Energy Balances

EXAMPLE: The feed to a continuous still contains 20

mol% C6 and 80 mol% C11 hydrocarbons. The
composition of the overhead distillate is essentially
pure C6 and the bottoms contain 5 mol % C6 and the
balance C11 materials. Sketch the flowchart.

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Flowchart scaling
Material and Energy Balances

• Suppose a kilogram of benzene is mixed with a

kilogram of toluene. The output of this process is
obviously 2 kg of the mixture that is 50% benzene
by mass.
1 kg C6H6
2 kg
0.5 kg C6H6/kg
0.5 kg C7H8/kg
1 kg C7H8

• This process shown in the flowchart is said to be


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Flowchart scaling
Material and Energy Balances

• Observe now that the masses (but not mass

fractions) of all streams could be multiplied by a
common factor and the process would remain
• The stream masses could also be changed to
mass flow rates
• The units of mass of all stream variables could be
changed to any other unit
• The process still remain balanced.

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Flowchart scaling
Material and Energy Balances

1 kg C6H6
2 kg
0.5 kgC6H6/ kg
1 kg C7H8 0.5 kgC7H8/ kg

300 kg
C 6H 6 600 kg
0.5 kgC6H6/ kg
300kg C7H8 0.5 kgC7H8/ kg

300 Ibm
C6H6/h 600 Ibm/h
0.5 Ibm
300 Ibm C6H6/Ibm
C7H8/h 0.5 Ibm
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Flowchart scaling
Material and Energy Balances

• The procedure of changing values of all stream

amounts or flow rates while leaving the stream
compositions unchanged is referred to as scaling
• Scaling-up – if the final stream quantities are
larger than the original quantities
• Scaling down – if they are smaller

• Since a balanced process can always be scaled,

material balance calculations can be performed on
the basis of any convenient set of stream amounts
or flow rates and the results can afterwards be

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Choosing a basis
Material and Energy Balances

• Early in the solution of most balance problems, you

must choose a "basis of calculation."
• The basis is a reference you choose for the
calculations you plan to make.
• Your basis is a fixed number -- all other values are
determined relative to it.
• If a stream amount or a flow rate is given in the
problem statement, it is usually most convenient to
use this quantity as a basis
• If no stream amounts or flow rates are known,
assume one preferably that of a stream with known

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Flowchart scaling
Material and Energy Balances

• Exercise
The process shown below was balanced using the
indicated basis of calculation.
Basis of calculation: 100 mol C2H6

100 mol C2H6

2100 mol
0.0476 mol C2H6/mol
2000 mol air
0.200 mol O2/mol
0.21 mol O2/mol
0.752 mol N2/mol
0.79 mol N2/mol

Scale up to a feed of 1000 kmol C2H6/h.

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Balancing a process
Material and Energy Balances

• Suppose 3.0 kg/min of benzene and 1.0 kg/min of

toluene are mixed. The process flowchart might be
drawn and labeled as follows:

3.0 kg C6H6/min
m kg/min
1 kg C7H8/min x (kg C6H6/kg)
(1-x) (kg C7H8/kg)

• There are two unknowns: m and x

• Two equations are needed to calculate them

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Balancing a process
Material and Energy Balances

• Material balance for this nonreactive process has

the simple form : input = output
• Three possible balances can be written
– Total mass balance
– Benzene balance
– Toluene balance

• Solve the problem first!!!

• Which balances are to use when a choice exists?

• What is the order in which the balance equations
are to written?

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Balancing a process
Material and Energy Balances

• The maximum number of independent equations

that can be derived by writing balances on a non
reactive system equals the number of chemical
species in the input and output streams

• Write balances first that involve the fewest unknown


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Material and Energy Balances

An aqueous solution of sodium hydroxide contains

20.0% NaOH by mass. It is desired to produce an
8.0% NaOH solution by diluting a stream of the 20%
solution with a stream of pure water. Calculate the
ratios (liters of water/kg of feed solution) and (kg
product solution/kg feed solution).

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Degrees of Freedom
Material and Energy Balances

• One of the analysis used to determine whether

you have enough information to solve a given
problem: degree-of-freedom analysis.
Uses the equation f = V - E
where f = no. of degrees of freedom
V = independent variables/unknown
E = independent equations
• If f = 0, fully specified and can be solved
• If f > 0, more unknowns, under specified
• If f < 0, more independent equations, over

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Problem Solving Procedure
Material and Energy Balances

• The problem-solving approaches discussed earlier

are summarised. Take the ideas presented here &
use them as a basis for your own approach.
• Almost every engineering problem-solving
technique boils down to five broad steps
– Describe the problem
– Identify pertinent known and unknown facts
– Identify the scientific principles needed for
– Manipulate the numbers
– Evaluate the result

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Problem Solving Procedure
Material and Energy Balances

• The steps can be expanded to a detailed solution

guide tailored to the solution of balance problems.
Notice that the approach has the same basic
1. Read the problem thoroughly. Understand what
is required for the answer
2. Make a sketch or flowchart of the problem.
3. Write down the known and label unknown
stream variables.
4. Choose a calculation basis.

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Problem Solving Procedure
Material and Energy Balances

5. Check the specification of the problem

(degrees of freedom). Can it be solved as is,
or is more information needed?
6. Determine what additional data, if any, are
needed. Find them.
• Be sure to indicate the source and
applicability of anything you bring from

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Problem Solving Procedure
Material and Energy Balances

7. Write the required equations

• Material Balances -- NC +1 can be written,
NC are independent.
• Energy Balance
• Specifications (additional if any)
– Assigned values of stream variables.
– Fractional Recoveries.
– Composition Relationships (x1=K*x2).
– Flow Ratios.
• Physical Properties
• Constraints

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Problem Solving Procedure
Material and Energy Balances

8. Keep track of units. They can help tell if an

equation is complete. If the problem units are
mixed, you may want convert all quantities to a
common set of units, but probably should wait
until you're sure which numbers you'll need.
9. Solve the equations for the unknowns.
• Use a solution strategy. Solve the equations in a
planned order. Often, this allows sequential rather
than simultaneous solution.
8. Scale the answer (if necessary).
9. Check the solution. Does it make sense?

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Problem Solving Procedure
Material and Energy Balances

– A complete material balance problem, ready for

solution, will consist of:
– the system with input and output streams
– variables which describe the flow rates and
compositions of all streams
– a set of material balance equations
– a basis
– a set of specifications on the solution.

If you don't have all of these, you probably aren't

ready to crunch the numbers.

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Problem Solving Procedure
Material and Energy Balances

Example: Dilution of Sulfuric Acid

Dilute sulfuric acid has to be added to dry charged
batteries at service stations in order to activate the
battery. You are asked to prepare a new batch of
acid as follows:
A tank of old weak battery acid (H2SO4) solution
contains 12.43 mass percent H2SO4 (the remainder
is water). If 200 kg of 77.7% acid are added to the
tank, and the final solution is 18.63% H2SO4, how
many kilograms of battery acid have been made?


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Material Balances on Distillation Column
Material and Energy Balances

• A liquid mixture of benzene (B) and toluene (T)

containing 55% B by mass is fed continuously to a
distillation column with a feed rate of 100 kg/h. A
product stream leaving the top of the column
(overhead product) contains 85% B and a bottom
product stream contains 10.6% B by mass.
• Determine the mass flow rate of the overhead
product stream and the mass flow rate of the
bottom product stream.

• Solve!!!

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Mass balance on a dehumidification
Material and Energy Balances

• Wet air containing 4.0 mole% water vapor is

passed through a column of calcium chloride
pellets. The pellets adsorb 95.0% of the water and
none of the other constituents of the air. The
column packing was initially dry and had a mass of
3.40 kg. Following 5.0 hours of operation, the
pellets are reweigh and found to have a mass of
3.54 kg.
• Calculate the molar flow rate (mol/h) of the feed
gas and mole fraction of water vapor in the product

• Solve!!!

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Material and Energy Balances

• You have learnt

– To draw flowcharts and indicate the
variables on them
– To choose a suitable basis and perform a
mass balance calculations.
– Scaling of flowcharts
– Perform mass balance calculations on a
single unit systems

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