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Microsoft Excel Based Numerical Solution Of Linear, Homogeneous 1 D Transient Partial Differential Equations

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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

Computed Simulation and Animation

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.851.1 - 8.851.10



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Paper Authors

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Mohan Ketkar

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Gopal Reddy

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

Session 2320


Mohan A. Ketkar Gopal B. Reddy Prairie View A&M University University of Houston Prairie View, TX 77446 Houston, TX 77204


Many transient phenomenons are mathematically described and simulated by the homogeneous, parabolic partial differential equations. Irregular and non-linear boundary conditions pose formidable difficulties to engineers to obtain closed form (exact) solutions.

In this paper, a procedure is outlined to make use of Microsoft Excel software to solve these differential equations by converting them into finite difference equations employing explicit and implicit techniques.

The advantages of this study are to apply universally available Microsoft Excel to solve fairly complex engineering problems. The method lends itself as a powerful tool to Engineering students to design and perform parametric analysis by employing simple, quick techniques without having to acquire specialized and sometimes expensive software packages.

A case study is presented where the time history of temperature in a one-dimensional heat transfer problem is analyzed. Finite difference techniques are used to solve the differential equations. Initially the equations are solved using an explicit method and the same problem is also solved using an implicit method. Step by step procedure to generate Excel worksheet is described.

Results obtained with the two numerical methods are compared with analytical results. Effects of grid size and time interval on the accuracy of the results are graphically presented.


Exact analytical solutions of the partial differential equations describing various transient systems and processes are cumbersome and sometimes complex, and time consuming. The difficulty is compounded, if not impossible, when shapes of irregular and non-linear boundaries are encountered. Due to these complex procedures and solutions, the Engineering students, do not take full advantage of parametric study in the design and analysis of the engineering systems. Numerical solution of some such differential equations and the tools to generate these solutions

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

Ketkar, M., & Reddy, G. (2003, June), Microsoft Excel Based Numerical Solution Of Linear, Homogeneous 1 D Transient Partial Differential Equations Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12441

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