Chemical engineering is a branch that deals with applying physical sciences, mathematics, and biological sciences in the design, development, and operation of chemical processes. This field has become an essential part of the modern industry because it produces many products, from food to fuel. Chemical engineering is the engineering branch that deals with applying chemical principles to the design, operation, and optimization of chemical processes. This field is one of the most important branches of engineering because it is used in many industries, such as pharmaceuticals, energy production, and food processing.
Over time, chemical engineering has become more critical in today’s world because, with the growth and development of societies, there is a need to design new processes and products more than before, and chemical engineering also helps us develop new materials and technologies. It also helps us understand how chemical reactions work and how they can be used to create useful and needed products. In addition, chemical engineers are responsible for designing more efficient processes that use fewer resources while producing higher-quality results.
Chemical engineering plays an essential role in our lives by helping us make better use of natural resources, reduce pollution, improve safety standards for workers, and create new products for consumers. The importance of this field in today’s world cannot be ignored. This field has helped us to use the available resources in the best way to meet the needs of today’s societies and, at the same time, to be diligent in preserving the environment by using more optimal and healthier processes.
Chemical engineers are responsible for developing new processes and technologies that can be used to produce products with higher efficiency and safer. They also work on improving existing processes to increase efficiency and reduce their environmental impact. Chemical engineers are also involved in research and development activities to develop new materials or products used in various industries.
Chemical engineers are essential in many industries, such as pharmaceuticals, energy production, food processing, and environmental protection. Because they use their knowledge to create new methods for producing safe chemicals and more efficient processes, at the same time, they are effective in minimizing the environmental effects of chemical reactions carried out in industries. Their work is vital to help us tackle global challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity.
CFD analysis in chemical engineering
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is an essential tool for chemical engineers to understand and predict the behavior of fluids in various engineering systems. It can simulate the flow of fluids such as liquids, gases, and mixtures. CFD can also be used to analyze the chemical reactions that occur in complex chemical phenomena. With its help, chemical engineers can accurately analyze and optimize the performance of their processes without the need to conduct expensive experiments in laboratory environments. This makes CFD a valuable tool for chemical engineering applications.
The critical advantage of CFD is its ability to predict flow and reaction behavior in chemical processes accurately. Unlike experimental methods, where data collection and extraction of laboratory results is a difficult task, in CFD, any data in the simulation can be observed and analyzed at any point in the computing space. With the progress of science, CFD methods, and codes have also become more advanced. Nowadays, it is possible to simulate and analyze complex phenomena such as reactive and phase-changing flows, fuel cells, combustion chambers, surface reactions, and chemical reactors. This allows chemical engineers with little or no experience in fluid mechanics to design and optimize their processes by performing simulations with relative ease.
In the following, some CFD applications in chemical engineering cases are discussed.
Combustion chambers are the main components of thermal power plants to generate electricity. Of course, they are very important in other industries, such as internal combustion engines used in most vehicles, cars, ships, etc. In power plants, the ambient air, after condensing in the compressors, enters the combustion chamber and chemically reacts with the fuel entered into the combustion chamber. Finally, the combustion products, which have high temperatures and pressure, enter the turbine to generate power.
Therefore, we need to study and investigate the combustion reaction to help us design combustion chambers in power plants and internal combustion engines. CFD can help us with this task. We know the combustion reaction is exothermic; however, some natural reactions are endothermic. With the help of CFD, all kinds of chemical reactions can be simulated.
With the expansion of CFD methods, more accurate simulations (such as determining the type of fuel and air mixing) of combustion reactions can be performed. We know that the fuel and air mixing type can be premixed, partial-premixed, or non-premixed. That each of these types of mixing can have a high impact on the type and products of the reaction.
The simulation of combustion reactions in combustion chambers helps engineers and designers to design a more optimal combustion chamber. To make the maximum use of the injected fuel with the correct combination of fuel and air in the combustion chamber and achieve a higher temperature in the combustion products. And minimizing the pollutants caused by combustion products such as carbon monoxide reduces its harmful environmental effects.
PHASE CHANGE MATERIAL (PCM):
Phase change materials have high latent heat and can absorb or release a large temperature at their melting point and change phase. When these substances are in a solid state, their temperature gradually increases by taking heat until they reach their melting point. At this point, they change state and become liquid without increasing the temperature. These materials allow us to store energy when high energy is available. And when we have a lack of energy, we can use the energy stored in these materials.
CFD can be used to simulate and study the active phase change of these materials. And calculated the amount of stored energy and the time it takes for these materials to release their energy and return to the solid state. These simulations can be very important because the laboratory investigation of how many of these materials should be present in the systems where these materials are used inside them is costly. On the other hand, these simulations can be performed in different arrangement modes to optimize energy storage and release.
Nowadays, energy production has become very important with the increasing need of societies for energy. On the other hand, fossil fuels are not desirable for us due to their pollution and high cost, so we are looking for a suitable alternative for them. There are methods for producing clean energy, of which fuel cells are one of them. In fuel cells, the chemical energy of a fuel is converted into electrical energy using a chemical reaction. Fuel cells are composed of several electrolyte, cathode, and anode layers. Hydrogen, ethanol, and methanol fuels are usually used in these cells to generate electricity.
CFD also helps us in this field. Using CFD, we can simulate fuel cells and observe their performance details. We can suggest a more optimal design by studying and checking how fuel cells work.
Considering the importance of energy production, energy storage is also very important. Today, batteries are used for energy storage. Batteries can convert electrical energy into chemical potential energy and store it. Then, when needed, it rereleases chemical energy in the form of electricity. Currently, batteries are the only way to store electrical energy. Therefore, it is very important to study and investigate the reaction mechanism in batteries. Among these studies is investigating the increase in battery temperature during charging and discharging.
As it was said in batteries, by performing a chemical reaction, electrical energy is converted into chemical energy and vice versa. During these reactions, temperature increases in the battery cells, which reduces the life and efficiency of the battery. With CFD simulation, thermal analysis of batteries can be performed, and their charging and discharging time can be predicted. These simulations can offer us solutions to increase the life and efficiency of batteries.