UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Introduction to Biochemical Engineering Processing and Design

Course Code
Level One
Credits 0.5
Module Tutor
Dr Marco Marques
2 hour written examination  (60%)
Coursework (20%)
Quizzes and in-lecture assessments (20%)


To provide students with an engineering foundation in the principles of engineering analysis and design. It covers concepts key to the understanding of the performance of processes for the manufacture of biologically-based products and for the specification and design of overall process sequences. The course is a pre-requisite for 2nd year and 3rd year modules.

Learning Hours


Lectures: 30h
Tutorials: 10h
Revision: 50h
Problem solving: 20h


Introduction: Units and nomenclature. Dimensionless numbers. Physics and maths revision.

Rheology. Viscosity and shear stress. Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids. Rheology of fermentation broths.

Fluid flow in pipes: Predicting flow characteristics in pipe systems. Calculating head in a pipework system. Case study. Pumping of Liquids. Fluid flow and pressure measurement.

Fluid flow in packed columns: Flow through porous media. Determining column porosity. Estimating pressure drops in packed beds. Effect of particle shape. Case studies- Pumping and flow in chromatography columns.

Bioreactor mixing and scale-up/down: Flow patterns in stirred tanks. Quantification of mixing phenomena in stirred vessels. Case Study 1 – Design of batch sterilisation vessel and small aerated pilot fermenter. Influence of power input on oxygen transfer. Case Study 2 -  Scale-up/down of fermenters.