Mass Balance Basics

Learn how to solve Mass Balance Applications in Chemical Processes.
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  • Lectures 108
  • Length 16 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 3/2015 English

Course Description

Welcome to the Mass Balance Introductory Course!

I designed this course is for general engineering fields. Chemical and Process Engineers will find it very relevant for their study curriculum but even Mechanical or Industrial Engineers will find it very interesting!

By the end of this course you will learn:

  • Basic concepts of Engineering and Chemical Processes
  • Application of the Mass Balance Equation to many real life processes
  • Non-Reactive Systems and Reactive Systems
  • Equilibrium and Multiple Reactions
  • Single-Unit or even Multiple-Units Mass Balances
  • Special topics in engineering: Recycle, Purge Systems, Bypass and Combustion

By the end of the Course you will be able to:

  • Solve Mass Balance Problems of many real-life Chemical Processes

The course is structured as follow:

  • 12 Sections of Theory and Applied Examples (Video-Based!)
  • 31 Mass Balance Solved Exercises (about 10-hour-video of explained problems content)
  • 11 Quizes for Learning Review
  • Support on the Discussion Board!

This is a very important Subject in Engineering and is the basis of further courses such as:

  • Energy Balance and Thermodynamic
  • Heat and Mass Transfer Operations and Unit Operations
  • Reactor Engineering and Plant Design

I teach this course for about $800 per semester. You will get it as low as $49 for a LIFETIME!

Take the course and you will have a greater advantage than your classmates to get a better grade on your university courses!

The Course Curriculum may be seen below!

What are the requirements?

  • Please check out my previous course: Mass Balance OVERVIEW
  • You should know the basics of math and chemistry of a High School Study Program

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Learn basic concepts and definitions used in Chemical Engineering
  • Get to know the basic Unit Operations in Engineering
  • Understand the difference between open, closed and isolated systems
  • The importance of Steady State and Transient State Processes
  • Understand that the Mass Balance Equation is based in the conservation of mass principle
  • Be able to Apply the Mass Balance Equation to Engineering Problems
  • Solve Mass Balance Problems with 1, 2 or even more Unit Operations in the Process
  • Solve Mass Balance Problems with and without Chemical Reactions
  • Understand the importance of the use of Purge, Recycle and Bypasses in Engineering Applictions
  • Know the basic concepts in Combustion

Who is the target audience?

  • Engineers of all areas will find it attractive, specially those in Plant Engineering
  • Chemical Engineers, since it is the basic curriculum
  • Process Engineers might find it helpful
  • Biochemical Engineers, Industrial Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, and even Petroleum Engineers

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction to Mass Balance: Theory and Basic Definitions

Brief Introduction to the Topics we will be studying in this Course


Understanding the definition of Process...

A chemical process must have a chemical reaction.


There are 3 main Type of Diagrams:

  • Block Diagram
  • Flow Diagram
  • Pipe and Instrumentation Diagram

Block and Flow Diagrams will be used extensively in the course...

P&ID are studied in higher level courses such as Plant Design, Automation and Control of Process, etc.


Basic Unit Operation:

  • Heat Transfer Unit Operation
  • Mass Transfer Unit Operation
  • Momentum Transfer Unit Operation
  • Reaction Unit Operations

Important specially for further courses! Understanding the importance of a Unit Operation in a Chemical Process.


Process Variables are essentially variables that will be analyzed to understand the "status" of our system.

Several examples are:

  • Temperature
  • Pressure
  • Density
  • Flow rate
  • Concentration
  • Viscosity

It's important you understand the importance of each of the variables and how the variables are measured.


Mass flow, Mole Flow and Volumetric Flow

These type of flow rates are the ones that matter to us in Mass Balance.

Please get to know that you can relate them

  • Mass - Molecular Weigth - Mole
  • Mass - Density - Volume

The State of a System is very important.

There are two types of State that we will be studying in this course

  • Steady State: No change of variables with respect of time
  • Transient State: properties of the system change with time

We present other type of System classification

  • Open System: Exchange of Matter and Energy
  • Closed System: Exchange of Energy but no Matter
  • Isolated System: No exchange of Matter or Energy

We also present the type of processes:

  • Isobaric
  • Isothermal
  • Isochoric
  • Adiabatic (No heat exchange) we study this in Energy Balance

End of Section 1

You should know bay far all the basic concepts and definitions for the course.

Be sure to review the material in order to satart Section 2!

Section 1 Quiz
7 questions
Section 2: Mass Balance Elementary Principles and Equation

We will see the next topics:

  • Mass Balance Principle and Equation
  • Mass Balance in 2 Units (No Reaction)
  • Mass Balance in 2 or More Units (No Reaction)
  • Recycle and Bypass in Mass Balance
  • Mass Balance in Reactive Systems
  • Chemical Equilibrium in Mass Balance
  • Multiple Reactions in Mass Balance
  • Mass Balance of Atomic and Molecular Species
  • Mass Balance with Purge Systems
  • Combustion in Mass Balance

Let's go!


Basic Principle of Mass Conservation: No creation or Destruction of Mass!

There is only transformation...

We present an examples so you get the best of the Topic!


The Mass Balance Equation is presented:

Inlet - Outlet + Production - Consumption = Accumulation

The accumulation term is generally a derivative... In steady state we will ignore this fact!


The Differential Mass Balance is recommended for Continuous Processes (Steady State)

The Integral Mass Balance is recommended for Batch or Semi-Batch Processes (Transient State)


The type of Processes are presented once again... We will perform some exercises!


Steady State Problem... We see how the accumulation term is cancelled and since there is no reaction the consumption and production terms are cancelled as well!

We will work with Inlet = Outlets


We solve this Batch Problem. Hexane will be evaporated with air. At the end you finish with NO hexane at all...

The accumulation term here is a derivative of mass with respect of time!


How to read and draw Flow Diagrams.

Its very important to be able to read the diagrams and get information and data that will help you understand the process.

If you get written data or any type of extra data, is very important that you draw the diagram and write down every data! Then you should be able to solve you problem!


Its very important to be able to scale-up and scale-down. This is done generally by calculating a Factor.

Basis of calculation is important to establsih on "what base" is the problem based?


We analyze our first system: A system with no reaction, in one single unit!


We apply the Mass Balance Equation to this example of Water and NaOH. The idea is to dilute the original Brine to a less concentrated one.


Sometimes you are going to stumble upon a problem with not enough data and you will ask yourself if you either need more data or if you just made a mistake.

We start this study of "Degree of Freedom". This methodology allows us to know if the system is completely set or if it has some degree of freedom (i.e you can set the variables)


We use the "variable counting" vs. "equation couunting".

Its very important to use INDEPENDENT equations. If you count a dependent equation, the you will not be able to solve the system!


Degre of Freedom Analysis Example. I like this example since you get to see how we apply the method of DOF Analysis.

Important to mark that you should account all the variables, even though you know you have the data. Explicit data such as:

X = 10

is an explicit equation that you should also take into consideration!


The proposal of this Methodology to attack Mass Balance Equations is totally recommended!

You may use other approaches but they should be similar to these one!


We apply the methodology to an example.


A real life example of how we could Apply the Mass Balance Equation to a "Egg Factory"... Even though we are using "eggs" as a currency, we could still use "mass"


Exercise for Labeling Streams in a Mass Balance Problem


We perform an analisys of the degrees of freedom in a Distillation Column


We perform a Mass Balance on a Distillation Column. Be sure to get how we apply the inlet = outlet reduced mass balance equation.


Humidifying Air: This process is contrary to "drying" air which will be studied in Exercise#08


A simple mass balance of different solutions of Sulfuric acid (H2SO4). Mass Balance Equation reduces to Inlets equals Outlets


Application of the Mass Balance Equation to a Wet Sugar Factory. Remember that there are two substances and we can apply 2 mass balances!


Dry Air and Humidity (water) are common mixture in ambient air. Normal operations require dry air, therefore the air must be dried.


Flow of CO2 in a pipeline. We use geometry of the pipeline...


This are basic Mass Balance Problems. We will add up extra "features" to these type of problems such as:

  • More Unit Operations
  • Recycle, Bypass and Purge
  • Reactions
  • Combustion

Be sure you get the idea, these set of problems is very important for you to continue in this course!


The next exercises will be based on these type of problems!

7 questions

A Review of this Section

Section 3: Mass Balance in 2 Units and No Reactions

Mass Balance in 2 units with no reaction. Last section was about 1 unit, now we add an extra unit. Things get more complex now. Be sure to understand the "sub-system" concept!


An applied example of a Mass Balance with two units and no reactions!


An exercise using 2 units. Be sure to get the Mass Balance in the Sub-Systems!


The next exercises will include at least 2 or more units! This is just an introduction. In the next Section you will study multiple units

3 questions

A Review of this Section

Section 4: Mass Balance in 2 or MORE Units and No Reactions

This topic is actually an extension of Mass Balance with no Reaction on 1 Unit and 2 Units. The Mass Balance is still in Steady State. We apply the balance in differente sub-sustems now!


Multiple set of units in a Concentration of a Brine. Since all the set are equal, you may get a standard formula for the "nth" unit.


Please refer to next sections if you need more Solved Problems of Mass Balance with 2 or MORE!

3 questions

A Review of this Section

Section 5: Recycle and Bypass Applications in Mass Balance

Lets see a little bit of theoretical concepts of Plant Design. We use Recycle and Bypass to improve the process. It is very basic but very powerful!


We apply this concept to a process. Be sure to get how we set the basis of calculation!


We introduce the application of Bypass. In this example, some fresh juice is mixed in the end due to the flavour conditions.


In this crystallization process you will use multiple units!


In this crystallization process you will use multiple units!


We apply the concept of Recycle in each unit.


We apply the concept of Recycle in each unit.


Recycle and Bypass Applications will be included in many other exercises in the next sections! Just keep doing exercises and you will find more recycle and bypasses!

6 questions

A Review of this Section

Section 6: Mass Balance in Reactive Systems

This is an introduction for Mass Balances with Reactions! We still work in steady state but we will now add the Produciton and Consumption terms!

Its very important that you know how to apply the MAss Balance equation to each. Please take the time to review the Stoichiometry Topics... Eventhough is no topic of Mass Balance, you will need them!


A Stoichiometry review: the stochiometric coefficeints and factors


A Stoichiometry review: How to balance a chemical equation. The Mass Balance depends on 100% of the balanced equation.


A Stoichiometry review:

  1. Limiting reactant - ONE species that will react totally
  2. Excess reactatns - one or more species that will NOT react totally

A Stoichiometry review: Conversion is very important specially in reaction proesses such as reactors or even in combstion!

Conversion is based on the feed mateial vs the outlet material.


A Stoichiometry review: Extent of Reaction

Is similar to conversion but it is based on the stoichiometric factor of each of the species. This will help us A LOT in the Mass Balance Problems!


Examples of the use of Extent of Reaction.


We've seen conversion before. Its important to note that the conversion may be based on either the Global Process, or the Single-Pass Conversion of that single unit!

The reference changes since the inlet value is different!


A simple reaction of oxidation. Be sure to balance the equation and solve!


Another Reaction Mass Balance to form Ethyl Bromide


Production of the famous pigment Titanium Dioxide. We use a lot of reactions and mass balances which is important since many processes are like this one


Production of the famous pigment Titanium Dioxide. We use a lot of reactions and mass balances which is important since many processes are like this one


If you need more help or exercises for chemical reaction, check out the next sections, these included more chemical reaction exercises! Good luck!

5 questions

A Review of this Section

Section 7: Chemical Equilibrium in Mass Balance

Chemical Equilibrium Theory. This Course's Scope has nothing to do with Chemical Equilibrium but with the applciation of Mass Balance in Chemical Equilibrium Systems.


Application of the concepts of Chemical Equilibrium to a Real-Life Problem


We start now another process which include a chemical reaction. Be sure to balance correctly the equation, account for each species and perform the Balance Equation in Steady Sate.


We start now another process which include a chemical reaction. In this special case we include EQUIBLIRUM Be sure to balance correctly the equation, account for each species and perform the Balance Equation in Steady Sate. Then use the equilibrium constant and perform the operations!


We apply the equilibrium reaction to methanol


Chemical Equilibrium problems are not typical in Mass Balance Problems. You WILL study these type of problems in Equilibrium Thermodynamics or Physical Chemistry problems...

Please refer to Problem #20. This Problem includes 2 reactions and an Equilibrium.

4 questions

A Review of this Section

Section 8: Multiple Reactions in Mass Balance

An overview of what happens when we add MORE reactions on the process. Essentialy the basics are known but we need to adapt it for multiple reacitons!


Yield is important since we want to maximize it in a process. We are going to see how could we maximize it using just Mass Balance Theory. This is a typical Reactor Engineering Topic


Selectivity is essentially, how is the reactant "selecting" the path of reactions. We have multiple reactions and we want one in specific.

The higher the selectivity, the better performance of reactions we will have.


How to apply the Extent of Reaction in Multiple Reactions Systems. Please refer to the Applied Exmaples #1 and #2!


We apply the extent of reaction to multiple reactions!


We apply the extent of reaction to multiple reactions!


We apply Multiple Reactions and Equilibrium concepts!


Multiple reactions and side reactions. Balance Equations, apply extent of reactions and solve for the mass balances


Multiple Reactions in the same process!


Mass Balance application to the production of Formaldehyde.


Production of Methyl Chloride... in multiple reactions. Be sure to account for each extent of reaction correctly.


Production of Methyl Chloride... in multiple reactions. Be sure to account for each extent of reaction correctly.

4 questions

A Review of this Section

Section 9: Mass Balance of Atomic Species and Molecular Species

So far we've only seen the Mass Balances of Molecular Species (H2O, CO2, N2)... But we could also do Mass Balances on the Atomic Species.

The main advantage is that atoms cant be created or destroyed so they have the form:

Inlet = Outler

Even though there is a reaction occuring in the system!


Applying the Atomic Species Balance to an example

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Instructor Biography

Emmanuel Ortega, Passionate Engineer... I love teaching Online to the World!

I'm a Chemical Engineer!

I've been in the Chemical Industry for about 3 years. I love applying all my knowledge learned in University to the Daily Engineering Life. From working in a Petrochemical Plant as a Process Plant Designer to working with textile material from Polyester Yarns; I could teach you a lot of how it is important to learn the Engineering subjects!

My expertise:

  • Chemical Process Design
  • Plant Design
  • Heat Transfer Operations and Equipment Design
  • Industrial Polyester Yarn
  • Online Tutoring

Right now I'm preparing online material for Engineers all over the world. I have a dream in which online education will break all barriers and let Engineers all over the world learn easier and faster! Please join me in my quest!

The Courses I design are entirely dynamic. You will see theory and then apply it ASAP to a real life problem! I even use the books you are using right now in your engineering courses...

Hope to see you in any of the Courses I'm offering!

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