Particle Mechanics and Processing

Subject CHEN90018 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 x 2 hour lecture and 2 x 1 hour lectures + 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week + 1 x 3 hour practical
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated 200 hours


Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2

(Prior to 2013 ENGR30001 Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics)

and ONE OF the following subjects (or an equivalent approved by the subject coordinator):

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Summer Term, Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2


Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Anthony Stickland


Dr Anthony Stickland


Subject Overview:


This subject covers many of the aspects related to powder and suspension processing. Initially, the student learns how to describe particles and systems of particles in terms of size, shape and distribution, followed by understanding the basic mechanics of fluid flow around particles. This knowledge is used as the basis for designing unit operations associated with powders and suspensions, including particle classification, particle breakage (comminution) and agglomeration, solid-liquid separation through filtration, centrifugation and thickening, packed beds and fluidisation, flotation and powder storage in hoppers.

The combination and variety of topics in this subject provides students with an appreciation of particulate processing. This knowledge is vital for numerous industries including (but not limited to) mineral processing, potable water treatment, wastewater treatment, food and pharmaceuticals.


  • Particle size and measurement of particle size, shape factors, differential and cumulative distributions, mean size, median size and surface area
  • Generalised description of separation and classification efficiency based on particle size, density and composition. Hydrocyclones, screens and data reconciliation for particulate separators, including the two product formula
  • Comminution, Bond work index, matrix description of size reduction and milling circuit simulation, comminution circuits and liberation of particles from composite particles
  • Flow properties of solids, design of bins and hoppers, mass and channel flow
  • Solid-liquid separation including flocculation processes, gravity sedimentation, clarification, thickening and pressure filtration
  • Motion of particles in fluids, fluidisation, minimum fluidisation velocity and bed expansion, flow of fluids through granular beds.

Learning Outcomes:


On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Be able to describe particles and systems of particles
  2. Appreciate the flow behaviour of particulate materials
  3. Design unit operations associated with particulate powders and slurries common to the materials, food, water, pharmaceuticals and minerals processing industries
  4. Be familiar with the unit operations in comminution and particle liberation, particle separation, hopper flow, solid-liquid separation and fluidisation and flow through packed beds.

  • 10 x weekly online quizzes worth 10 marks each (10% total). Each quiz reinforces the week’s lectures and address Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 1 to 4. Assessed within weeks 2 to 11
  • One written experimental report not exceeding 1000 words (10%), requiring approximately 13-15 hours of work, based on the 3 hour practical experiment. Due in week 12. ILOs 1, 2 and 4 are addressed in the practical.
  • One written assignment not exceeding 1000 words (10%) due during Week 9, requiring approximately 13 - 15 hours of work. ILOs 3 and 4 are addressed in the assignment
  • One written closed book end-of-semester examination (70%). ILOs 1 to 4 are addressed in the exam.

Hurdle requirement: A mark of 40% or more in the end of semester examination is required to pass the subject

Prescribed Texts:


Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution through application of knowledge of basic science and engineering fundamentals
  • Capacity for independent thought
  • Awareness of advanced technologies in the discipline
  • Ability and self confidence to comprehend complex concepts, to express them lucidly and to confront unfamiliar problems.



The subject is delivered through a combination of lectures, guest lectures, tutorials, online quizzes and a practical experiment. The tutorials include aspects of student-centred learning. Regular online quizzes are used to assist student progress and understanding. Students also complete an assignment which reinforces the material covered in lectures.


Students have online access to lecture slides and lecture recordings through the subject LMS site. The site also contains tutorials and worked solutions.

The key texts for the subject are:

  • Rhodes, M.J., 1998, Introduction to Particle Technology, Wiley, Chichester
  • Coulson, J.M. and Richardson, J.F., 1991,Chemical Engineering, vol 2, 4th Ed, Particle Technology and Separation Processes, Pergamon Press, Oxford
  • Kelly, E.G. and Spottiswood, D.J., 1989, Introduction to Mineral Processing, John Wiley and Sons


The knowledge gained through this subject is crucial to the career of a process engineer, since 75% of chemical manufacturing processes involve small particles at some point in the process. This subject is vital for students wishing to progress to jobs in engineering design offices and in operational roles within a wide range of industries including minerals processing, water and wastewater treatment, paints and coatings, food processing and ceramics to name just a few.

Related Course(s): Doctor of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Philosophy - Engineering
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: B-ENG Chemical Engineering stream
B-ENG Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering stream
Master of Engineering (Biochemical)
Master of Engineering (Chemical with Business)
Master of Engineering (Chemical)

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