June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.746.1 - 12.746.28
Finite Element Modules for Enhancing Undergraduate Transport Courses: Application to Fuel Cell Fundamentals Abstract
The transport phenomena courses (momentum, heat, and mass transfer) in chemical engineering typically contain many mathematical derivations and may often lack practical applications. The use of finite element software can help students visualize solutions and see how parameter changes affect velocity, temperature, and concentration profiles and their corresponding fluxes for design of practical systems.
Alternative energy is a rapidly growing research area yet is lacking in available course content for chemical engineering transport phenomena. In this paper we illustrate the use of the finite element method using Comsol Multiphysics1 (formerly known as FEMLAB) for problems related to the design of fuel cells and their components. As such, we present ready-made tutorials for use in undergraduate transport courses.
Introduction and Motivation: The Typical Transport Course
As is the case with many core courses in the undergraduate curriculum, courses in fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and mass transfer can be categorized into three generic classifications:
1. Transport phenomena approach – a highly theoretical approach focusing on the derivation of microscopic conservation equations and their solutions, such as that contained in the text of Bird, Stewart, and Lightfoot2. 2. Unit operations approach – a highly practical approach focusing on macroscopic balance equations and using them for the design of pumps, heat exchangers, and membranes, such as that contained in the text of McCabe, Smith, and Harriott3. 3. A balance between the transport phenomena and unit operations, such as that contained in the text of Geankoplis4.
At Michigan Technological University, students must complete a two-semester sequence of lecture courses (CM 3110 Transport / Unit Operations 1; CM 3120 Transport / Unit Operations 2). Based upon the title of the course we typically follow the third classification; however, content can vary depending on the instructor.
In a recent ASEE paper, Krantz discussed that the above textbooks often focus on simple problems with analytical or numerical solutions, but the development of software for performing computational analysis has allowed instructors of transport phenomena to focus on model development by introducing more complex problems5. An additional advantage of the software is that it allows the students to visualize the transport processes taking place.
Other studies have also used computers to help students learn concepts in chemical engineering education. This includes that of Thompson6, who has used the partial
Keith, J., & Morrison, F., & King, J. (2007, June), Finite Element Modules For Enhancing Undergraduate Transport Courses: Applications To Fuel Cell Fundamentals Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1700
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015