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Distillation columns, particularly pilot-scale or industrial units, represent a quintessential application of core chemical engineering concepts and equipment design, and are a cornerstone of the training of undergraduate students and professionals. This website is designed to support engineering students for deep laboratory learning of chemical engineering concepts by integrating an interactive 360° virtual reality (VR) tour of a modern pilot distillation plant with high-fidelity process simulation and multimedia. The resource is suitable for teaching and learning at all academic levels, and more effective for use in a collaborative learning setting and/or in conjunction with physical distillation laboratory.

The integrated exploration of the real-world process in a virtual setting is structured to support efficient, student-oriented, and design-centric learning for students to acquire knowledge and practical skills of integrated systems and develop cognitive ability for problem-solving. On this website, you will have the opportunity to explore the following key elements:

An interactive 360° VR tour of a pilot-scale distillation column with the industry-standard design and process control in addition to enhanced process visualization.

VR Tour

Dedicated videos and theoretical components highlighting the connection between the underlying theories, equipment design, and observable operation phenomena.

Main Components

Process fundamentals based on real physical processes and rigorous mathematical models describing their applications to distillation.

Operation and Safety Performance Design and Optimization

Dedicated simulation modules that serve as high-fidelity process simulators and simulation-based design for different design methodologies.

Python Simulator

The pedagogical effort of this virtual learning resource bridges the equipment, control, and operation of a pilot-scale distillation column with all the theoretical elements, including theories for performance measurement and evaluation, process simulations, and column design and optimization.

Website Navigation

We suggest exploring this website by starting with the interactive VR tour. This will allow you to see the Main Components of the distillation column which will provide more detailed information and point you to other resources.

After familiarizing yourself with the components, we recommend proceeding with Operation and Safety, Performance, Design and Optimization.

The Python Simulator will allow you to virtually operate the distillation column to evaluate distillation performance and you will also be able to design your own column and test its performance based on the simulation algorithm.

Note the top navigation bar will allow you to navigate to specific pages of this website.