Faculty of Engineering

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Engineering
Organisational UnitDepartment of Chemical Engineering
OfferedNot offered in 2014
Coordinator(s)Assoc Professor Wei Shen


This unit will equip students with the ability to evaluate new developments in biorefining, and pulping and bleaching from an chemistry perspective, and to analyse the chemistry of current operations. This will require the development of detailed knowledge and understanding of the chemistry of cellulose, of the various lignins and hemicelluloses and of wood extractives. This unit will examine the detailed chemistry of the various chemical pulping, bleaching and recovery processes, of the production of byproducts from pulping and bleaching operations, of the production of energy from biomass and the production of specialty chemicals and materials from biomass. It will also study the detailed chemistry of the interaction between fibres and 'wet-end' chemicals in an aqueous environment.


Learning objectives of this unit are that the student will:

  1. Acquire an increased knowledge and understanding of:
    • The lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose chemistry of hardwood and softwoods
    • The minor chemical components of wood and of non-wood sources of cellulose
    • The chemistry of pulping and bleaching processes, with an emphasis on the kraft pulping process
    • The chemistry of the production of chemical byproducts of pulping processes
    • The chemistry of suspensions of cellulosic fibres and additives (wet-end chemistry)
    • The chemistry of the production of energy from biomass
    • The chemistry of the production of specialty chemicals from biomass
    • The chemistry of the production of materials from biomass

  1. Develop the skills required to:
    • Understand and analyse new findings in the chemistry of biomass and bioprocessing, and the chemistry of fibre suspensions, and assess the importance of these findings
    • Keep up to date with developments in the chemistry of biomasss and bioprocessing, and the chemistry of fibre suspensions, and assess their relevance for specific commercial operations

  1. Demonstrate the ability to:
    • Undertake in depth research of the literature on a specific aspect of the chemistry of a biomass conversion process or fibre suspensions, analyse the information obtained and produce a report which demonstrates understanding and insight
    • Organise practical experiments, make detailed observations of experiments, analyse the results and produce an accurate and detailed report


Assignments and reports: 40%
Test: 10%
Final Examination: 50%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

28 hours lectures and 8 hours laboratory classes in a one week intensive, 115 hours private study