Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An Idiot’s Guide to Crack Chemical Core Disciplinary Courses (CDCs) Part 1

Hi Guys,

It has been exactly one year since I first thought of writing this post. Frankly speaking, I used to motivate myself by thinking that If I get a CDC GPA of 10, I would type out something like this. I managed to keep my dreams alive till the second semester but the moment I came to know that there is a CDC called Process Control in the 2nd semester , I knew I would never make it because I had made a ‘D’ in control systems. In the end, I ended up making a GPA of 9.59 in my core courses that include Fluid Flow Operations, Process Calculations, Petroleum Refining and Petrochemicals and Computational Transport Phenomena. But still, as a tribute to the long cherished dream and my unflinching dedication I jot this post down for my juniors.

I have called this an Idiot’s guide because I myself made an ‘A’ in a technical subject as late as in 2-2.Also there is no need of so called “Interest in chemical” in achieving this feat. I admit I did this quite mechanically.

To perform well in BITSian Chemical courses, you need to believe in history more than Chemical Engg. because history (read last year’s questions)repeats itself in the chemical courses’ tuts, tests, quizzes and comprees. The quizzes are essentially repetitive in nature. Overall the courses are nothing to worry much about. The grueling tuts ensure that you do not have to cover much syllabus on the eve of any exam. The key to success is cracking the Test1s.This eases out a lot of pressure and also creates interest in the course. It is also important to go to the classes from time to time to keep track of the syllabus. Also, the topics covered in last 5/6 lectures of the semester would carry disproportionately high marks in the comprees. Now, I present the course wise description.

Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics(CET): This course should actually be called calculation engg. thermodynamics/ techniques .The course is taught using primitive techniques which leaves the student overwhelmed with the calculations involved rather than being able to understand the concepts. The more you score in tuts the better it is as the tuts are really very easy .They are mostly based on derivations of relations covered in the previous class.

Skill set required: mastery over your calci, solved examples, Last year’s question papers.

Important Topics: Generalized Correlations of state for gases, fugacity and fugacity coefficient, Residual Properties.

Grading: depends upon Batch performance. About 15 /85 ‘A’s would be awarded.

Caution!!! : Do solve a few questions COMPLETELY before appearing in the test.

Mass Transfer Operations (MTO): This is one course where you can expect the unexpected(i.e little repetition of historic questions)This course is on the tougher side . The course is designed based and does give a peep into applied chemical Engineering. The textbook won’t serve much purpose from exam point of view and you need a microscope to decipher the text. Class Notes will go a long way even after the course get over. VERY IMPORTANT from placement point of view. Do attend the classes regularly for this course.

Skill set required: Patience (attending classes is a must).Graph plotting.

Important Topics: Maccabe Smith and Ponchon-Savrit method of designing Distillation columns, Leaching, Absorption. HTU-NTU concept

Grading: shall be on the tougher side.

Caution!!! : Continuously 4 tuts will be held back to back and then there would be a long lull. The rest would be in the last four tut classes.

HEAT TRANSFER OPERATIONS: The course is basically pure Physics. It stands out as one of the more interesting and insightful course of the chemical engg. syllabus at BITS. It deals with the phenomena of conduction, convection and radiation. It is important to note that the test 2 would be very tough(our time av. was 6!).Its important from placement point of view as well.

Skill set required: Clear understanding of the physical phenomena, ability to skim through large information and identify the correct formula to be used.

Important Topics: Fins, Condensation and boiling, Radiation (the electrical analog method),Design of heat exchangers

Grading: depends upon performance. About 15/83 ‘A’s in our time.

Caution!!! : Do practice some derivations for the comprees. Although it’s humanly impossible to derive such stuff, at least give them a try.

Selected Chemical Engineering Operations: oh! who can forget the obnoxious noise of the Ball Mill in the SCEO lab. This course primarily deals with mechanical operations involved in the chemical industry. The course is 50% theory so it becomes important to attend classes. Also, the number of solved examples is the text are very few so you need to make sure you have practiced all the relevant material.

Important Topics: Filtration, Drying, Adsorption

Grading: shall be on the easier side. About 20/83 ‘A’ s in our time.

Caution!!! : The questions in the Tests/Quizzes might often be wrong. So, don’t waste your time on any particular question and move on. In the case of question being wrong, the solutions of your batch’s topper would be deemed correct, howsoever illogical, impractical and impossible they might seem.

The second semester CDCs and some popular electives shall follow in the next post.

That’s all from my side guys, it’s up to you to accept the challenge and put in your efforts or just let things go. You can always contact me on, these are just suggestions and personal experiences and hence not under legal jurisdiction of any court.

All the best.


  1. Dude..should have written this post last year...wouldn't have made a CDC CGPA of 4.0000

  2. gr8 joshi.. :) anothr marvel.. enlightening ur jnrs.. !! keep rocking.. :) n ya.. if possible.. do write sumthing abt project courses also.. i'll b glad 2 read tht.. bst luck.. :)

  3. Dude this post sucks...