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Unit Overview


Mass and energy balances are a cornerstone of chemical engineering. This unit introduces students to the theories and tools required to formulate and solve material and energy balances for chemical process systems. Students learn how to conduct and analyse material balances for multi-unit process systems with and without chemical reactions, including systems that incorporate recycle and purge streams, and to formulate energy balances based on the first law of thermodynamics. Analysis of these systems develops an understanding of and the ability to calculate the thermodynamic properties of gases, liquids and vapours.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Chemical Engineering major sequence

Students are able to (1) translate written process descriptions into accurate process flow diagrams; (2) document calculations and simulations to clearly and concisely communicate working and results using standard engineering processes and conventions; (3) design, construct and interpret static process flow diagrams using commercial software and assess the quality and limitations of simulation outputs; (4) use steam tables and other standard tables of engineering data to find required data; (5) estimate system properties when exact values are not available and determine the limitations of these estimates; and (6) solve static material and energy balances.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) assignments; (2) simulation and practical exercises; and (3) exams. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Miccal Matthews
Unit rules
ATAR Subject(s) Chemistry
or CHEM1003 Introductory Chemistry
or CHEX1003 Introductory Chemistry
ATAR Subject(s) Mathematics Methods
or MATH1721 Mathematics Foundations: Methods
or MATX1721 Mathematics Foundations
ENSC3005 Mass and Energy Balances (ID 871)
Advisable prior study
ATAR Physics or equivalent
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
practical classes: 2 hours per week
computer modelling and practical labs: 10 hours per semester
This unit is available to students who are intending to transfer to the new BE Chemical Engineering major in 2022. Students intending to remain in the Engineering Science major should enrol in ENSC3005 Mass and Energy Balances
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.