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CE 523

Process Kinetics and Dynamics in Environmental Engineering

Lecture Notes

Instructor: Professor Mike Pirbazari

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

University of Southern California

Spring 2013
CE 523

Process Kinetics and Dynamics in Environmental Engineering

Spring 2013

Course Description: Concepts and applications of processes that affect water quality in natural and engineered systems. Major processes include: flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, oxidation, adsorption, and membrane processes.

Instructor: Professor Massoud Pirbazari (Dr. P)

Office: KAP 260; Phone: 213-740-0592

E-mail: pirbazar@
Class Hours: Wednesday: 6:30-9:10 p.m.
Class location: to be determined
Office Hours: To be determined

Grading Criteria:

Two Midterm Exams 20 % (10 % each)

Final Exam 25 %

Quizzes 10 % (5 % each)

Homework & Class Assignments 20 %

Term Project 15 %

Class Participation 10 %


100 %

Schedules for Exams and Quizzes:
Quiz 1 Febuary 6, 2013

Midterm 1 Febuary 20, 2013

Quiz 2 March 13, 2013

Midterm 2 April 10, 2013

Final Exam May 8, 2013 (7 – 9 p.m.)
Assignment: Term Project (see details on page 5 )

Weber, W.J., Jr. Environmental Systems and Processes: Principles, Modeling, and Design, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2000.
Pirbazari, M., Class Notes, 2011 (available on Blackboard)

Crittenden, J.C., Trussell, R.R., Hand, D.W., Howe, J.K., and Tchobanoglous, G., “ Water Treatment: Principles and Design”, MWH, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2005.
Weber, W.J., Jr. Physicochemical Processes for Water Quality Control, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1972.
Snoeyink, V.L. and D.W. Jenkins. Water Chemistry, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1980.

Students with Disabilities

Any student requesting academic accommodation based on disability is required to register with Disability Services and Programs Office (DSPO) each semester. A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from DSPO. Please be sure the letter is delivered to the instructor (or the TA) as early in semester as possible. DSPO is located in STU 301 and is open 8:30am – 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. The phone number for DSPO is (213) 740-0776. (This statement is suggested by the office of the Provost).

Academic Integrity

The use of unauthorized material, communication with fellow students during an examination, attempting to benefit from the work of another student, and similar behavior that defeats the intent of an examination or other class work is unacceptable to the University. It is often difficult to distinguish between a culpable act and inadvertent behavior resulting from the nervous tension accompanying examinations. When the professor determines that a violation has occurred, appropriate action, as determined by the instructor, will be taken.

Although working together is encouraged, all work claimed as yours must in fact be your own effort. Students who plagiarize the work of other students will receive zero points and possibly be referred to Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards (SJACS).

All students should read, understand, and abide by the University Student Conduct Code listed in SCampus, and available at:

CE 523

Process Kinetics and Dynamics in Environmental Engineering

Spring 2013


  1. Process and System Modeling (2 weeks)

1. Rational Approach

2. Material Balance Equations

3. Fluid flow and Mass Tranmsport

4. Elementary Process Equilibria

5. Elementary Process Rates

6. Complex Process Rates

II. Process Dynamics and Reactors (3 ½ weeks)

  1. Ideal System Modeling and Design

  • completely mixed batch reactors

  • completely mixed flow reactors

  • plug flow reactors

  • comparison of reactor performances

  1. Hybrid System Modeling and Design

  • sequencing batch reactors

  • CMFRs in series

  • reactors with recycle

3. Nonideal System Modeling and Design
III. Chemical Precipitation, Coagulation, and Flocculation (2 ½ weeks)

1. Solubility

2. Precipitation Kinetics

3. Stability of Colloids

4. Destabilization Phenomena and Techniques

5. Transport and Flocculation Phenomena

6. Unit Operations and Processes
IV. Sedimentation (1/2 week)

1. Sedimentation Processes

2. Short Circuiting and Dispersion Pattern

3. Sedimentation Tank Design

4. Unit Operations and Processes
V. Filtration (1/2 week)

1. Flow through Porous Media

2. Mathematical Models for Deep Granular Filters

3. Slow Sand Filtration

4. Rapid Sand Filtration

5. Unit Operations and Processes

VI. Adsorption (2 weeks)

1. Adsorption Equilibria and Adsorption Isotherms

2. Rates of Adsorption

3. Sorption Kinetics in Batch Reactors and Flow Reactors

4. Contacting Systems and Modes of Operation

5. Unit Operations and Processes

6. Adsorber Modeling and Design

VII. Membrane Processes (2 weeks)

1. Microfiltration

2. Ultrafiltration

3. Nanofiltration

4. Reverse Osmosis

5. Unit Operations and Processes

VIII. Advanced Oxidation Processes (2 weeks)

1. Types of Advanced Oxidation

2 . Hydroxyl Radical Production

3. Byproducts of AOPs

4. Major Factors Affecting AOPs

5. Assessing Feasibility of AOPs




Schedule of Quizzes & Exams









Quiz 1





Midterm 1







Quiz 2



Spring Recess







Midterm 2







Term Project Presentation



Final Exam 7:00 to 9:00pm

Term Project Topics

Spring 2013

Students in groups of ‘three” are required to choose one of the following topics by Feb. 4, 2013 and prepare a Power point report to be presented during the last day of classes. The length of each presentation should be about 20 minutes followed by 2 minutes questions/answers.

  1. Ozonation Processes in Water & wastewater Treatment

  2. Enhanced Coagulation in Water & Wastewater Treatment

  3. Reverse Osmosis Processes in Water & Wastewater Treatment

  4. UV Processes in Water Treatment

  5. Microfiltration Processes in Water & Wastewater Treatment

  6. Ultrafiltration Processes in Water & Wastewater Treatment

  7. Nanofiltration in Water & Wastewater Treatment

  8. Activated Carbon Adsorption in Water Treatment

  9. Water Treatment for Removal of Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals (EDCs) and Disinfection Byproducts

  10. Nanomaterials and Water Purification

Note: Starting Monday February 11th through March 11th each student group must set up appointment with Dr. P for guidance regarding their term projects.

Effective Class Participation

Please note the following suggestions for effective class participation:

  1. Make every effort to interact with your class partner(s).

  1. Try to stay active throughout the class period.

  1. Don’t hesitate to ask questions in class.

  1. Share your ideas with the rest of us.

  1. Don’t hesitate to ask the instructor to repeat himself.

  1. Keep an eye on your partner not to fall asleep in class!!

  1. Try to bring new ideas to class.

  1. Don’t read unrelated materials in class.

  1. Share your ideas for class improvement with your instructor.

10) Put your fair share of efforts in preparing the term projects and the term paper. Be

cooperative at all times.
11) Discuss your term paper and term project with the instructor periodically.
12) Come to class prepared.
13) Help your instructor make the class interesting.

  1. Discuss your concerns and problems (if any) about the course with the instructor. He will do his best to accommodate your suggestions.

  1. late homework is unacceptable.

  1. Tardiness is undesirable.

  1. Class teamwork is encouraged.

  1. Use of laptop is undesirable.

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