Chemical Product and Process Design Courses


For over 70 years, the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering has offered a two-course sequence in product and process design. The Fall course, CBE 4000, is a lecture course that introduces the basics of product and process design. The Spring course, CBE 4590, has been devoted entirely to the solution of design problems in groups of three or four students. Timely problems are provided primarily by consultants from the local chemical industry who visit the University on Tuesday afternoons to assist the students throughout the Spring semester. Faculty and students sometimes also propose problems.

For a description of the courses, see Capstone Chemical Product and Process Design Courses: Industry and Faculty Interactions, an article prepared for the Capstone Design Conference, University of Illinois, May 31- June 2, 2012. Also, see the course syllabus for CBE 4000 and for CBE 4590, the list of Reserve Books, and a website that provides special assistance for CBE 4000 and 4590 students provided by the Librarians.

Student Design Projects

The 2023-2024 Industrial Consultants have provided projects (2023-2024), currently being solved by 8 design groups (2023-2024). See the schedule of visits by the industrial consultants for Spring 2024. Also, see our recommendations for executing the CBE 4590 design project in the Spring of 2024.

Since 1978, the Melvin C. Molstad/Warren D. Seider Prize has been awarded annually to the most outstanding design group in the senior class. Also, since 2000, three of our best design groups have competed in the Engineering Alumni Design Competition. CBE 4590 design project reports are stored in the Penn library system.

Teaching Tool Development

During the summer of 1994, work was begun to create a multimedia module to teach the basics of the simulation of chemical processes using the ASPEN PLUS and HYSYS simulators. An article entitled “An Interactive Approach to Teaching Steady-state Simulation of Chemical Processes” was prepared for the Computer Application in Engineering Education journal.

From 1996-2000, the two courses were upgraded in cooperation with colleagues at Princeton and Lehigh Universities and funded by the NSF Combined Research-Curriculum Development Program. For an overview of the changes, see the Project Description. Also, see the paper entitled “Experiences in Team-Teaching a Process Design Course Covering Steady-state Synthesis, Optimization, and Control.”

Recently, the fourth edition of our textbook Product and Process Design Principles: Synthesis, Analysis and Evaluation (Seider, W. D., D.R. Lewin, J.D. Seader, S. Widgado, R. Gani, and K.M. Ng, Fourth Edition, Wiley, 2017) was published. You can access the multimedia module at:  Also, you can obtain 93 design problem statements. Click on .

Attention Students

Students of CBE 4000 or 4590, click here to check the latest homework assignments and course announcements.

In This Section:

Your CBE Contact:

Hannah Wright

Undergraduate Coordinator

Phone: 215-573-0290

Office: 311A Towne Building


Student Resources