Chemical Exam Specifications

NCEES Principles and Practice of Engineering Examination
Chemical Exam Specifications
As of April 2012

A few general points noted about the exam, which are followed by the detailed specifications.

• The exam is an 8-hour open-book exam. It contains 40 multiple-choice questions in the 4-hour morning session, and 40 multiple-choice questions in the 4-hour afternoon session. Examinee works all questions.
• The exam uses both the International System of units (SI) and the US Customary System (USCS).
• The exam is developed with questions that will require a variety of approaches and methodologies, 
including design, analysis, and application.
• The knowledge areas specified as examples of kinds of knowledge are not exclusive or exhaustive categories.

I. Mass/Energy Balances and Thermodynamics 23%
A.    Mass Balances 10%
1.    Material balances with no reaction (e.g., phase behavior, mass, volume, density, composition, purge, bypass)
2.    Material balances with reaction (e.g., multiple reactions, incomplete reactions, excess reactant, purge, bypass, recycle, combustion)
B.    Energy Balances and Thermodynamics 13%
1.    Energy balances on non-reactive systems (e.g., sensible heat, latent heat, heat of solution)
2.    Energy balances on reactive systems (e.g., heat of reaction and combinations with sensible heat; latent heat; heat of solution)
3.    Power cycles (e.g., refrigeration, engines, turbines, heat recovery)
II. Heat Transfer 16%
A. Mechanisms 9%
1.    Heat transfer without phase change (e.g., thermal 
conductivity, heat capacity, conduction, convection, free/forced heat transfer coefficients/correlations, radiation, combinations thereof)
2.    Heat transfer with phase change (e.g., vaporization and evaporation, condensation, sublimation, crystallization, latent heat)
B. Applications 7%
1.    Heat exchange equipment design (e.g., overall heat transfer 
coefficient, fouling factors, LMTD, F-factor, equipment selection, insulation)
2.    Heat exchange equipment analysis [e.g., pressure drop, fouling effects, performance evaluation (NTU), changes in parameters]
III. Kinetics 11%
A.    Reaction Parameters 6%
1.    Rate equation (e.g., rate constant, activation energy, order of 
reaction, mechanisms, catalysis)
2.    Chemical equilibria (e.g., temperature and pressure 
dependence, composition)
B.    Reactors 5% 
1. Conversion in single reactors [e.g., batch reactor, continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR), plug flow reactor (PFR)] 
2. Conversion in complex reactors (e.g., reactors in series: CSTR and/or PFR, multiphase reactors, fluidized beds, packed beds, recycle, bioreactors) 
3. Yield and selectivity
IV. Fluids 16%
A.    Mechanical-Energy Balance 12%
1.    Flow behavior (e.g., viscosity; velocity; Reynolds number; 
friction factor; pressure drop in pipes, valves, and fittings; expansion/ contraction; porous media; particle dynamics; fluidization; sonic velocity; laminar/turbulent; two-phase flow)
2.    Flow applications (e.g., potential and kinetic energy, friction, flow networks, mixing, pumps, NPSH, turbines, compressors, drivers, solids handling)
B.    Flow and Pressure Measurement Techniques 4%
1. Flow measurement application (e.g., mass and volumetric
meters) and pressure measurement application (e.g., permanent pressure drop, differential pressure devices)
V. MassTransfer 14%
A.    Phase Equilibria 5%
1.    Ideal systems (e.g., Henry’s Law, Raoult’s Law, Dalton’s Law, 
ideal gas law, vapor pressure)
2.    Non-ideal systems (e.g., activity coefficients, fugacity 
coefficients, azeotropes, immiscible/partially miscible 
phases, equations of state)
3.    Phase equilibrium applications (e.g., bubble point, dew point, 
flash, critical states)
B.    Continuous Vapor-Liquid Contactors 8%
1.    Material and energy balances for trayed units and packed 
units (e.g., absorption, stripping, distillation)
2.    Design parameters for trayed units (e.g., minimum flow rates 
and reflux, minimum and theoretical stages, feed location, tray selection, capacity/efficiency, flooding, dumping, tray hydraulics)
3.    Design parameters for non-trayed units (e.g., minimum flow rates and reflux, minimum stages, theoretical stages/NTU, feed location, packing selection, capacity/efficiency, flooding, pressure drop, mass transfer coefficients/height of transfer units)
C. Miscellaneous Mass Transfer Processes 1% 1. Continuous, batch, and semicontinuous (e.g., drying,
membranes, extraction, crystallization, filtration, leaching, humidification, diffusion, adsorption, absorption, stripping, distillation)
VI. Plant Design and Operation 20%
A. Economic Considerations 1% 1. Cost estimation and project evaluation (e.g., capital costs,
depreciation, operating costs, risk evaluation, optimization,
return on investment)
B.    Design 10%
1.    Process design (e.g., process flow sheets, P&ID, specifications, procedures, modeling/simulation, scale-up, process or product development, boundary conditions)
2.    Process equipment design (e.g., equipment selection, optimization, design temperature, design pressure)
3.    Siting considerations (e.g., security, ingress, egress, plant layout, utilities, natural disasters, human factors)
4.    Instrumentation and process control (e.g., sensors, controller actions, feedback/feed-forward actions)
5.    Materials of construction (e.g., material properties and selection, corrosion considerations)
C.    Operation 4%
1.    Process and equipment reliability (e.g., testing, preventive 
maintenance, startup/shutdown procedures, robustness)
2.    Process improvement and troubleshooting (e.g., 
debottlenecking, experimental design and evaluation, 
D.    Safety, Health, and Environment 5%
1.    Protection systems [e.g., pressure/vacuum relief valves (safety valves), flares, rupture disks, vents, vacuum breakers, inerting, seal legs, discharge location, configuration, fire protection]
2.    Industrial hygiene (e.g., MSDS, exposure limits and control, noise control, ventilation, personal protective equipment)
3.    Hazard identification and management [e.g., flammability/ explosive limits, auto-ignition, reactor stability, process hazard analysis, safety integrity level (SIL), management of change]
4.    Environmental considerations (e.g., emissions evaluation, permitting, pollution prevention, mitigation, waste determination)


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