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Integration Of Numerical Problem Solving Into The Chemical Engineering Curriculum

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.754.1 - 8.754.5



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Paper Authors

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Morcechai Shacham

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Michael Cutlip

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

Integration of Numerical Problem Solving into the Chemical Engineering Curriculum

Michael B. Cutlip and Mordechai Shacham

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Connectcut, Unit 3222, Storrs, CT 06269-3222 / Department of Chemical Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Beer Sheva, Israel 84105

ABSTRACT This paper provides a collection of representative problems with detailed solutions that can be used to introduce numerical problem solving into core chemical engineering courses. These prob- lems require application of the numerical analysis areas of linear equations, nonlinear equations, ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, and regressions with statistics (poly- nomial, multiple linear and nonlinear).

A set of 12 “example” problems is presented along with complete solutions utilizing three repre- sentative software packages: Microsoft Excel*, MATLAB*, and Polymath*. An additional set of 12 “assignment” problems is also be presented. All 24 problem statements and detailed solutions are made available on a special web site that has been designed for efficient use by interested fac- ulty.

These problems and their solutions provide insight into the various types of problems appropriate to chemical engineering, practical aspects of problem solution, and proper interpretations of results. Emphasis will be given to placement of these problems and application of the software within the Chemical Engineering curriculum. INTRODUCTION Engineering computations often require the use numerical software packages for problem solving. Such needs frequently arise in both ChE education and practice, where the main objectives are deriving the mathematical model of the physical phenomena and critically analyzing the results while technical details of the solution can be handled by a numerical software package. For pro- fessionals and ChE students who are involved with the development of mathematical models, there are considerable benefits in using numerical software packages for model development and implementation as compared to the use of source code programming. This is particularly helpful when engineers must carry out computations that involve non-conventional processes and chemi-

* Excel is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation (, MATLAB is a trademark of The Math Works, Inc. (, and POLYMATH is copyrighted by Mordechai Shacham, Michael B. Cutlip, and Michael Elly (

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Shacham, M., & Cutlip, M. (2003, June), Integration Of Numerical Problem Solving Into The Chemical Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11598

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