About Process Simulation and Design Process Design

What is Process Simulation

Process simulation is mathematical model to represent unit operations in process and chemical industry. It can also said as performing the mathematical calculations to mirror the plant or process behavior. It runs all the calculations in the background to show us the results of all the calculations.

Process Simulation Software

Current commercial available process simulation software are quite robust and include various calculations to represent the results. Following information is in-built in the simulation software -

  • Components database
  • Flexibility to add new components
  • Gives flexibility to add components in different ways like distillation curves and even match the experimental data to adjust the properties.
  • Process simulation includes various correlations for components interaction with each other and even includes non-ideal behaviors. In normal terms it is mentioned as thermodynamics in Process simulation software.
  • Process simulations software includes not only thermodynamics but also various phenomenon such as
    • Reaction
    • Mass transfer
    • Energy or heat transfer
    • Fluid dynamics and transport behavior

As-such in most of the cases, process operations are complex with multiple factors involved. The process simulation includes most of the applicable phenomenon and includes effect of one phenomenon in all other phenomenons.

  • Process Simulations includes all current unit operations or equipment used in process industry, few namely
    • Reactors
    • Physical separations such as vessels, separators, etc.
    • Pressure increasing devices such as pumps and compressors
    • Heat Exchanging devices such as cooler, heater, heat exchangers, etc
    • Pressure reducing devices such as control valves, pressure relief valves, etc
    • Complex rigorous interactions such as distillation, absorption, stripping, etc
    • Mixing and splitting of flow streams.
    • It even includes mathematical tool to achieve desired results.

Importance of process simulation

Process simulation is very powerful tool to perform various activities in Process industry. It integrates all the likely behaviors and also represents in user friendly manner.

Process simulation software is tool and user needs to be careful when using it. The results or outcome will be based on the inputs. It will not converge or give results when mathematically not possible but it might converge or give results which might not be practically or even theoretically possible. As someone has said, the tool will be always as good as the user. If the inputs (in terms of data, data inputs, phenomenon involved, etc), analysis and review is not proper the outcome is always questionable.


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