MATERIAL BALANCES AND APPLICATIONS MATERIAL BALANCES AND APPLICATIONS Summary: Chapter 4 MATERIAL BALANCES AND APPLICATIONS 1 MATERIAL BALANCES AND APPLICATIONS 4.1. Introduction Material balances are important first step when designing a new process or analyzing an existing one. They are almost always prerequisite to all other calculations in the solution of process engineering problems. Material balances are nothing more than the application of the law of conservation of mass, which states that mass can neither be created nor destroyed. Thus, you cannot, for example, specify an input to a reactor of one ton of naphtha and an output of two tons of gasoline or gases or anything else. One ton of total material input will only give one ton of total output, i.e. total mass of input = total mass of output. A material balance is an accounting for material. Thus, material balances are often compared to the balancing of current accounts. They are used in industry to calculate mass flow rates of different streams entering or leaving chemical or physical processes. 4.2. The General Balance Equation Suppose propane is a component of both the input and output streams of a continuous process unit shown below, these flow rates of the input and output are measured and found to be different. Collections: Materials Science