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Studying ChE with Felder book (self-study, online, programming)

  1. Apr 5, 2012 #1
    I'm taking a second-year chemical engineering course online with BYU (link: http://is.byu.edu/site/courses/description.cfm?title=CHEN-273-200#). It uses the Felder textbook (link: https://www.amazon.com/Elementary-Principles-Chemical-Processes-Richard/dp/047168757X), which I reckon is popular for most ChE programs. What should I pay attention to in order to succeed in this class? What have your experience been like taking similar classes?

    Also, the class syllabus requires solving some problems using programming (Excel, MATLAB, MathCAD). I have all those programs but little experience programming with them. The only programming I took was a beginner C++ class (we covered up til Arrays). Which material/book should I read to catch up with the programming requirement to solve exercises for this class?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 25, 2012 #2


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    I took a similar class a few years ago at my university, using the exact same textbook. All in all, it is a very logical topic to study and requires only a few basic principles to solve complex problems. My biggest bits of advice would be to just be careful when solving the problems to ensure that you don't make a mistake with any of the balance equations (also take care in which units you use for energies, mass flowrates, volumes etc., because if I recall correctly, this textbook will throw all kinds of units at you), and PRACTICE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN! It will be much easier when it comes to an exam if you have a systematic way of tackling these problems, which you will gain by doing as many of the textbook questions as you can.
  4. Apr 27, 2012 #3
    Lucky you :wink:. I had a similar class in school that used that book, and honestly it was the hardest class I had in all my years of school (we had a really challenging teacher though). Honestly the concepts are almost painfully simple, but the actual problems can be extremely complex, particularly when you have to work them by hand. My best advice would be to solve all the examples in the textbook and check how the problems are worked out in there if you get stuck.

    Using Excel you can solve any of the problems from that book (or, I should say, any of the ones we had to do in my class). Basically all you need to know how to do is input a formula in Excel (use "=formula" in a cell), and use the Solver add-in (if you go to file/options, it should have a tab called "add-ins", you can install it through there). It takes a little creativity but you can solve simultaneous equations like a pro with that feature, it's great when you have a mass balance with like 15 equations and 15 unknowns.
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