Chemical

Alexandra Foley | August 1, 2013

When thinking about freeze-drying processes, I am reminded of astronaut food like the freeze-dried ice cream I tried as a kid. While this application of freeze-drying is important for preserving food being launched into space, there is also an incredible number of noteworthy applications that are used a little closer to home. Let’s take a look at the freeze-drying process, how it can be simulated, and some of the products and designs that rely on it to function.

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Edmund Dickinson | June 27, 2013

During my time as a PhD student, a blue “Chemical Landmark” plaque was fitted to the building a couple of hundred yards down the road from my lab. The plaque commemorates the achievements of the researchers who made the lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery viable. Whether or not you know about the electrochemistry of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, you probably rely on one. We carry them around in our phones and laptops, and ride in cars and planes that use them for power. […]

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Laura Bowen | June 18, 2013

If you roast a turkey for dinner and you need to check the temperature, the technology exists to find it. But what happens if the temperature is so hot that a consumer-grade thermometer, or any man-made device, really, would instantly melt and be destroyed? This might not be a common occurrence in your kitchen, but it is a real concern in blast furnaces, where temperatures can reach close to 1,500°C. Simply guessing is far from safe. Luckily, by simulating with […]

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Phil Kinnane | June 12, 2013

My colleague, Edmund Dickinson, recently blogged about cyclic voltammetry, and how this can be modeled. It was a fantastic blog entry, as it really described the application, and how to implement such models in COMSOL Multiphysics. While Edmund has a background in electroanalysis, where cyclic voltammetry, potentiometry, and electrochemical impedance are important tools, I had a different but similar life before COMSOL, working within industrial electrolysis. For both of us, the new Electrochemistry Module would have been the perfect tool […]

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Fanny Littmarck | June 3, 2013

Did your chemistry teacher use an orange or lemon to demonstrate the concept of a battery, back in the day? You might remember how she magically produced electricity by sticking a couple of metal nails into the citrus fruit, as the whole class watched in awe. What if we now used simulation tools to demonstrate how an orange battery works, and then use that as an intro to electrochemistry modeling?

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Edmund Dickinson | May 27, 2013

If you’re not an electrochemist, chances are you’ve never come across cyclic voltammetry. But look at any electrochemical journal, conference proceedings, or company website for manufacturers of electrochemical sensors. Somewhere near the front, you’ll see a distinctive “double-peaked” graph.

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Phil Kinnane | April 18, 2013

It’s always been hard to place the field of electrochemistry into a more traditional engineering field. Departments and institutions that focus on electrochemical applications can be found within the faculties of Chemical Engineering, Physics, Materials Science, Physical Chemistry, and even Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering. I believe this is because electrochemistry is heavily involved in applications that are quite varied — and in some ways quite new. Electrochemical applications need to be studied before they can be understood and optimized, […]

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Fanny Littmarck | March 15, 2013

The beauty of COMSOL is that it provides a unified modeling platform no matter what type of simulations you are performing. This is almost unique to the CAE market. Recently we showed you how to model chemical reactions using a monolith reactor as our example. First we walked you through solving the reaction kinetics and then involving plug flow, next we created a full-scale 3D model of the reactor. A chemical engineer may feel comfortable using a software optimized for […]

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Valerio Marra | March 13, 2013

I love trees and my favorite is definitely the ficus, all varieties included. A few weeks ago I had the chance to admire a stately ficus microcarpa (see figure below). What struck me above all were its aerial roots. Roots are designed to absorb water and nutrients, sustaining the tree and synthesizing substances responsible for its growth. A thought crossed my mind right away: the shape of those roots and the way they coalesce have surely been optimized by Mother […]

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Fanny Littmarck | March 5, 2013

In a previous blog post we dealt with the reaction kinetics and modeled plug flow of a monolithic reactor in the exhaust system of a car. The goal was to determine the ideal dosage of ammonia to reduce the nitrogen oxide levels emitted into the air. After understanding the chemistry of our problem, it is now time for the second part in our “Modeling Chemical Reactions” blog series. Here, we will go through the steps of generating a 3D model […]

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Fanny Littmarck | March 1, 2013

In chemical reaction engineering, simulations are useful for investigating and optimizing a particular reaction process or system. Modeling chemical reactions helps engineers virtually understand the chemistry, optimal size and design of the system, and how it interacts with other physics that may come into play. This is the first of a series of blog posts on chemical reaction engineering, and here we will have a look at the initial stages of modeling the application: the chemical reaction kinetics.

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