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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Chemical Engineering

Advisor 1

Michael E. Mullins

Advisor 2

Tony N. Rogers

Committee Member 1

Jeana L. Collins


Engineers have long sought to improve the thermodynamic efficiency of heat transfer equipment. One metric that quantifies thermodynamic inefficiency is the rate of entropy generation. By minimizing entropy generation, engineers can improve the thermodynamic efficiency of equipment designs, yielding benefits in economic performance. There are not many examples of applications of entropy generation minimization in chemical process design. This thesis introduces applications of entropy generation minimization in designs of columns for distillation of acetone and water. In this case, it was found that the economically-optimal reflux ratio, reboiler steam pressure, and processing scheme for multiple waste streams correlate with the lowest rates of entropy generation for the design. A new entropy-based expression, the “separation irreversibility coefficient”, is introduced, which predicts the economic performance of these designs with accuracy. Additionally, an incremental LMTD-based method for the calculation of sizing data, temperature profiles, and entropy generation profiles in heat exchangers is elucidated.