Fundamentals of Material Balance (Reactive Systems)

  • Ricardo Simpson
  • Sudhir K. Sastry


In both chemical and bioprocess engineering, the material balance of reactive systems is very important. According to the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, two of the main achievements of chemical engineering are the synthesis of ammonia and the production of antibiotics on an industrial scale. As was shown and discussed in  Chap. 3, in 1908, Professor Fritz Haber filed a patent on the “synthesis of ammonia from its elements,” and as we will see and discuss in  Chap. 10, U.S. companies with strong governmental support began producing penicillin in 1943 and on a larger scale in 1945. These two great achievements involve reactive systems.

In our view, having completed  Chap. 7, you have already learned the main concepts in material balance, and we purposely left reactive systems for this chapter. As you will see, using the same approach as that proposed, analyzed, and discussed in  Chap. 7, you will be able to take on and solve most, if not all, material balances for reactive systems.

In this chapter you will find engaging and diverse problems on material balances on reactive systems. Seven different examples were prepared, and 3 solved problems and 25 proposed problems will challenge your preparation and knowledge.


Mass Fraction Mass Flow Rate Material Balance Feed Stream Molar Composition 
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Additional Web References

  1. Balances on Reactive Systems
  2. Single Reaction with Recycle
  3. Balancing Chemical Equations
  4. Balancing Combustion Reactions
  5. Stoichiometry - Conversions Using Balanced Equations
  6. Two Continuous Stirred Tank Reactors in Series
  7. Balances on Multiple Units with Reaction
  8. Extent of Reaction for Material Balances
  9. Three Methods for Solving Reactive Material Balances

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricardo Simpson
    • 1
  • Sudhir K. Sastry
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Environmental EngineeringUniversidad Técnica Federico Santa MaríaValparaísoChile
  2. 2.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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