MATERIAL BALANCE – An introduction

A quantitative analysis of the amount of material that is processed in a system (manufacturing/processing unit) based on the Law of conservation of mass. In simpler terms (for continuous processes) the amount of material entering the system should be equal to the amount of material leaving the system.

In batch operations, amount of material fed and removed should be equal.

For mixers and blenders, material balance helps in determining amounts of various inputs to meet the required mix or blend. In design applications, as amount of material to be processed plays an important role in estimating the size of the equipment. Efficiency of a process can be analyzed by comparing the actual yield or conversion that is obtained in the process to the lab scale values. 

Material balances are usually carried out on molar, mass even on elemental basis. Conversion of mass to molar basis finds main application in reactive systems. In mixers and blending operations, mass, ppm or percentage based calculations are applied. In rubber and plastics industry, the different additives and fillers are added in PHR (parts per hundred of rubber/resin) during compounding. 

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