meaning of unit operation, process, research and development


The practice of chemical engineering in industries is summed up into two divisions which are unit processes and unit operations. Most times students and teachers use this interchangeably thereby living the audience in confusion. These units are of great importance in the industrial production.

Unit operations: these are all the physical practices done in the industries in the production of materials. Unit operation does not involved chemical reactions, it may be in a homogenous or heterogeneous way, no new compound is formed. This is majorly found in petroleum industries. Unit operations include the following; separation processes, cracking, distillation, condensation, mixing, etc

Unit processes: these include all the activities that involve chemical reactions. The product formed being represented in a definite ratio proportion. In this process, new compounds are formed. They include activities done in the furnace, oxidation and reduction. Practical example is Heber and contact process   {production of ammonia and tetraoxosulphate(vi)}

Research and development: research is a search, investigation into a body of knowledge in order to get updated in the level of modernization while development is the improvement seen in products manufacturing caused by the right application of knowledge.

The various types of research includes: basic, scouting, engineering and application research while forms of development are product and process development.

In product development, the chemical Engineer strives to produce a product of demonstrated feasibility while in process development; he seeks to device economical and practical methods of manufacturing products.





  • Constitution of the American Institute of chemical Engineers
  • The institution of chemical Engineers, (1977). Rugby UK, regulation for election or tranasfer within the institution of chemical Engineers.
  • Hougen,O.A. (1977). Seven decades of chemical engineering, chem..eng.prog; 89-104.


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