June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Chemical Engineering and Educational Research and Methods
22.371.1 - 22.371.22
Connecting Mass and Energy Balances to the Continuum Scale with COMSOL DEMosIn transport phenomena courses, students often struggle with the visualization of massand heat transfer. In this paper, we use COMSOL Multiphysics to develop modules tohelp students connect high-level mass and energy balances with the underlying physicalphenomenon at the continuum scale. We focus on microfluidics and fuel cells becausefew examples exist in the chemical engineering literature in this area.A special topics course in chemical engineering entitled Analytical MicrodeviceTechnology was developed for undergraduate upper-classmen and beginning graduatestudents. One challenge when discussing microfluidics in microdevices is facilitatingstudent visualization of the mathematical expressions and physical behaviors observed inthe micron length scales. A microscale module is described that involves fluid transport,diffusion, and reaction. The module begins with pressure driven flow in a microchanneland then adds electro-osmotic forces, which are linked to ion association kinetics at themicrochannel wall surface. The module presents step-by-step instructions to develop thisin an open system and to measure the integrated velocity profile at various axial locationsin the channel. It can be seen that the total mass flowrate is constant for any axial length.Subsequent student-oriented additions include protein transport via isoelectric focusing tothe isoelectric point as well as electrolysis reactions in the fluid reservoirs at the ends ofthe channels. A senior level elective course titled Computational Methods in Chemical Engineeringwas developed for upper level undergraduate students. About one-third of the coursefocuses on solving partial differential equations. The students are taught finite differencemethods and practice them in MATLAB. They are also taught COMSOL Multiphysics.We describe a module building upon the pressure driven flow of the microdevice moduleand add transverse mass transfer of hydrogen gas through a gas diffusion layer to acatalyst surface for fuel cell applications. The module includes surface integration of thechemical species hydrogen to verify the closure of the overall mass balance. Student-oriented additions include nonlinear reaction kinetics and extension to multiplechannels.Course handouts and supplemental materials will be included in the paper andalso made available for instructor use via a website.
Minerick, A. R., & Keith, J. M., & Morrison, F. A., & Tafur, M. F., & Gencoglu, A. (2011, June), Connecting Mass and Energy Balances to the Continuum Scale with COMSOL DEMos Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17652
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