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University of Balamand > Academics > Faculties > Faculty of Engineering > Facilities > Chemical Engineering Laboratories

Chemical Engineering Laboratories

The Department of Chemical Engineering at UOB is the first chemical engineering department in Lebanon and it’s sponsored by PETROFAC Company. This department has the following laboratories for research and applied purposes:


IT is intended to provide laboratory application of fundamental principles of chemical process dynamics and feedback control. This includes open-loop dynamics of typical chemical engineering processes such as distillation, fluid flow, chemical reactors and heat stirred tanks. Closed-loop experiments will involve control loop design, controller tuning, multivariable, and computer control.
The objective of the Laboratory is to provide the students with practical experience in software using Matlab® and hardware using the Multi loop control unit pertaining to continuous-time dynamical processes and their control.

1. Control of continuous-time dynamical processes using Matlab® software

In this part, students learn:
  • Analysis of continuous time signals and systems in both time domain and frequency domain.
  • Conversion between transfer function and state space.
  • Root locus, Nyquist and Nichols Plots.
  • Design and simulation of feedback control systems with Simulink.


2. Control of continuous-time dynamical processes using Multi Loop Unit

In this part, students are familiarized with the use of sensors, actuators and control regulators in industrial technology, including:
  • Electromagnetic flow meter
  • Differential pressure transmitter
  • Centrifuge pump
  • Heater and power controller
As well as the study and the optimization of different control loops.
  • Control of the water flow rate by activating a valve
  • Control of the water bath temperature
  • Control of the liquid level in the tank
  • Control of the output temperature of an exchanger in a cascade loop.


· Evaporation Crystallization Unit

  • Study the evaporation process: Mass balance on the evaporator and thermal balance on condenser.
  • Study of crystallization by cooling process: seeding of supersaturated solution; monitoring of cooling rate by thermal balance and mass balance on crystal production.
  • Implementation a batch process and a continuous process for the study of evaporation-crystallization

· Continuous Reactors Unit

  • Comparison of four different reactors with the same volume: one perfectly stirred reactor (CSTR); a cascade of two CSTRs; one plug flow reactor (PFR) with high axial dispersion  and one PFR with high axial dispersion.
  • Hydrodynamic study of the reactors by the residence time distribution (RTD) method: comparison of experimental and  theoretical residence time to diagnose non ideality of a chemical reactor.
  • Evaluation of the chemical conversion rate by conductivity measurement: materials balance, reaction yield and comparison of the efficiency of the different reactors.
  • Organic and mineral syntheses operations in a perfectly stirred glass  reactor: batch process,operation at atmospheric or reduced pressure.
  • Follow - up of reaction kinetics.
  • Separation of the products: by distillation and settlement for organic syntheses or by crystallization for mineral syntheses.
  • Study of the reflux ratio for the distillation column.


· Press filter for food processing Unit

  • Implemention of the filtration process at constant pressure: vegetable oil, fruit juice, etc.
  • Definition of process parameters: choice of filter medium: coarse screening, clarification and cold sterilization; choice of filtration pressure or choice of filtration surface area: 3 to 10 support plates.
  • Manipulation of the different stages of filtration: filter assembly, filtration, washing…
  • Qualitative study of the process on the basis of the final filtrate quality.

· Pasteurization 100L/h Unit

  • Study of a basic heat treatment process used in the food processing industry: pasteurization of a liquid.
  • Study of the combined influence of the holding time and heating temperature on the quality of the treated product.
  • Monitoring of the various thermal exchanges during pasteurization.
  • Control of the product quality through industrial design.


· Reverse Osmosis (RO) Unit

  • Study of the water reverse osmosis process for municipal water and for various NaCl solutions.
  • Determination of osmotic pressure.
  • Verification of the Van't Hoff law for saline solutions.
  • Qualitative and quantitative comparison of the experimental data: balance sheet material and influence of transmembrane pressure on the rate of production of RO water.

· Gas-Solid Fluidization Drying Unit

  • Study of fluidization of solid particles by air: characterization of fluidized solid; experimental fluidization laws: (1) define the ΔP curve of the fluidized bed as a function of air flow; (2) determine the minimum fluidizing velocity (3) study of the influences of the height of the bed of particles.
  • Study of drying solid particles in a stream of hot air: operating diagram of the humid air and determination of the kinetic curves of linear drying and diffusion phases.


· Fluid Dynamics Unit

  • Evaluation ofthe pressure drop across various components in hydraulic networks: valves, elbows, abrupt changes in pipe diameter and pipes of different diameter, length and roughness.
  • Comparison between flow rate measurement techniques: float-type flowmeter; pressure-reducing devices (Venturi, membrane).
  • Observation of the flow regime.

· Heat Exchangers Unit

  • Comparison of three industrial heat exchangers with the same exchange surface area (0.12 m2) and different technologies: (1) single-tube glass/stainless steel heat exchanger (2) shell-and-tube heat exchanger with glass shell and stainless steel tubes (3) stainless steel plate-type heat exchanger.
  • Study of the influence of flow regimes on heat transfer: (1) turbulent and laminar regimes; (2) co-current and counter-current circulation (3) study of temperature gradient .
  • Characterization of heat transfers: thermal balance; efficiency; overall experimental and theoretical heat exchange coefficient K.

· Centrifugal Pumps Unit

  • Comparison of two self-contained centrifugal pumps in suction operation: plot the characteristic graph at various rotation speeds; observe cavitation and determine yield (electrical consumption/hydraulic power).
  • Study of pump coupling methods: coupling in series or in parallel.
  • Study of a motor pump assembly in suction operation: determine characteristic TDH (total dynamic head),  graphs of TDH versus flow rate (for three different diameters or for different rotation speeds) and determine yields (electrical consumption/motor torque/hydraulic power)


· Gas-Liquid Absorption Unit

  • Study of the hydrodynamics of a packed column: Determine the overflooding conditions and the packing factor.
  • Study of the absorption of NH3 or CO2 in water: Determination of the efficiency of the column by defining the HTU and NTU; Demonstration of the exothermic effect due to absorption.
  • Study of the desorption by air of an ammonia or carbonated solution.

· Liquid-Liquid Extraction Unit

  • Study of the continuous liquid-liquid extraction process: determination of the operating conditions and interphase level.
  • Use of a ternary diagram: mass balance and determining the efficacy of HUT / NUT column.

· Multi-Function Distillation Unit

  • Simultaneous implementation of two distillation units: discontinuous distillation on the one hand and continuous distillation on the other hand.
  • Coupling implementation of distillation units: process of hetero-azeotropi cdistillation by decantation and regeneration in continuous mode of third casing and process of ternary distillation.

· Ebulliometer Under Vacuum Unit

  • Study of liquid-vapor equilibriums at atmospheric pressure and under vacuum.
  • Theoretical study of binary mixtures: (1) ideal miscible mixtures: Dalton’s equation, Raoult’s equation; (2) non-ideal miscible mixtures: deviation, volatility, azeotropic mixtures; (3) partially-miscible and non-miscible mixtures.
1-      Nanotechnology Lab
In this Lab, the nanomaterials and catalysts can be tested by:
  • Physisorption (ASAP 2020, Micromeritics) for determination of : surface area, pore volume and pore size distribution
  • Chemisorption (ASAP 2020 equipped with chemisorption kit) for determination of: active surface area and metallic dispersion
  • Chemisorption (AutoChem 2920, Micromeritics) for study of reactivity of catalysts by temperature programmed oxidation (TPO) and temperature programmed reduction (TPR).  The metallic dispersion can also be measured by temperature programmed desorption (TPD) as well as the BET surface area of sample before and after TPO/TPR. The exhaust gases can be analyzed by an on-line Mass spectrometer.
  • Gas pycnometer for the measurement of density of catalysts (powders or pellets)
    The activity of the catalysts can be tested in a microreactor (PID, Eng and Tech), the gases are analyzed on line by a Micro-GC. This reactor can be heated up to 1000°C and it also works under high pressure (up to 100 atm).
    MS students can do their MS projects and theses in this lab. The MS students of the CHEN 412 (Industrial Catalytic Processes) are also applying some of the course content in this lab in the form of small projects.


Corrosion Lab
right In this lab, the catalytic support can be prepared by sol-gel method in small (hot plate and oil bath) or large (double jacketed reactor, 5 Liters) quantity. Heat treatments in oven (up to 300°) or calcination in a muffle furnace (up to 900°C) can also be performed. The addition of active phase can be done (stirrers).
This lab also serves to perform experiments for the production of biodiesel.
MS students can do their MS projects and theses in this lab. The MS students of the CHEN 412 (Industrial Catalytic Processes) course are also applying some of the course content in this lab in the form of small projects.
The chemical computer lab at Semaan Building is equipped with 19 computers, 1 non colored printer, and 1 LCD projector. It is open 5 days a week from 8:00 AM till 5:00 PM. The use of the lab is for anyone with a valid user Id. The chemical computer lab is a teaching lab too; it is reserved by faculty for classroom use 3 days a week.
The computers are networked and available for use by the public. They offer user’s access to the Internet and provide software that students can use to do research and complete their homework. Because they are shared by multiple users, computers often have Sophos antivirus to block certain viruses. Also Windows update is scheduled every week.

Software Available on Computers
  • Microsoft office 2010
  • Adobe Reader X
  • WinRAR 4
  • Matlab 2011
  • Autocad 2012
  • Labview 2122
  • SimXpert 212
System Specification
  • Operating System: 64-bit
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Processor: 3.2 GHz
Lab Policies
  • The lab area is to be maintained as a quiet study area at all times
  • No food or drink is allowed in the lab
  • The lab is clean and orderly
The supervisor in the lab is there to:
  • help students log into the computer
  • provide printing assistance
  • resolve software or hardware related conflicts
  • contact IT staff if there are serious system or account related problems
  • provide basic information regarding the Internet
  • put paper and toner in the printers
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University of Balamand,
Balamand Al Kurah,

Tel:  +961-6-930250
Fax: +961-6-930278