(366k) Using Matlab, Simulink, and Simscape in Chemical Engineering Fluid Mechanics Courses | AIChE

(366k) Using Matlab, Simulink, and Simscape in Chemical Engineering Fluid Mechanics Courses


Denery, T., MathWorks
Horton, B., MathWorks
In chemical engineering, many chemicals are transported from one unit operation to another and processed in a fluid or partially fluid phase. To equip chemical engineers with the essential understanding of fluid mechanics, many chemical engineering programs list fluid mechanics or equivalent courses as core courses.

In typical undergraduate introductory fluid mechanics courses, fluid statics, control volume analysis (mass, momentum, and energy conservation), differential fluid flow analysis (continuity, Navier-Stokes Equation), the Bernoulli equation and its applications, flow in pipes (laminar, turbulent flow and frictional losses) are covered. In these courses, students usually learn analytical methods to solve fluid mechanics problems. This approach helps students master the fundamental concepts, but the problems that could be solved analytically are limited. In the workforce, students encounter more complex flow problems and use software to tackle such problems.

Students’ understanding of these fluid mechanics concepts can be enhanced with additional exercises involving computational tools. MATLAB is a high-level technical computing language used for data analysis, numeric and symbolic computation. Simulink is a graphical environment where dynamic systems can be represented as graphical and functional blocks. Simscape is a physical modeling tool to model and simulate multidomain physical systems. These tools are widely used in the engineering industry and academia. In this talk, we will discuss how the chemical engineering fluid mechanics curriculum could be modernized with the addition of these tools. Using such computational tools help students get started with the typical workflows followed in the industry and expand the variety of problems students can solve. Through examples derived from typical chemical engineering fluid mechanics problems such as tank draining, constant head tanks, and pressure loss calculations, we will showcase how students can learn to use computational tools and master fluid mechanics concepts at the same time.