Work on 2nd edition and Comsol Multiphysics

Progress on the second edition of Introduction to Chemical Engineering Computing.

During September I was successful in running Comsol 4.0a for all the problems using Comsol that are in the first edition. I needed help from Comsol with a few of them, but I’m learning and getting better at it. I will be attending the Comsol Conference 2010, Boston the first week in October, so I can see what the pros are doing.

When I return, I will study plotting and meshing options in Comsol 4.0.  I need to be better at creating meshes, since some of my microfluidic problems (for research) required lots of elements. Some of my latest simulations, presented at the Comsol conference, use a million degrees of freedom, which is easy to do on a Mac with 16 GB memory. But, when the Peclet number gets big, having an efficient mesh is important.

The next steps for my book will be to write up the solutions to the problems in Ch. 8-11, at least those that use Comsol. While they might not all end up in the second edition, it will help me focus on what the user needs to know to apply Comsol to their problem. I will check with Wiley, the ultimate publisher, to see if I can post those on the internet in draft form until the book is printed. That is a tricky proposition, though, because of pirating whole books on the internet. But, part of my plan is to have some backup material, perhaps models, on the internet that can be downloaded and used in conjunction with the book.

In parallel, I will be working some problems in AspenPlus to expand the process sections to include more thermodynamic information and more processes involving energy, such as switchgrass to ethanol and pressure swing adsorption to purify hydrogen. Since the first edition of the book came out I’ve done consulting in both those areas and have identified some problems that undergraduates can solve. Since those topics are of current interest, they will be good additions.

Be sure to look at the Sept. 8th post, which has useful links to a number of items, including numerical analysis courses on the internet (legal ones!). Later I’ll arrange those in a more prominent place.

Bruce A. Finlayson


About chemecomp

Bruce A. Finlayson, retired Rehnberg Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Washington
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