Optimal Distribution: Tree Roots and Microreactors

Valerio Marra March 13, 2013

I love trees and my favorite is definitely the ficus, all varieties included. A few weeks ago I had the chance to admire a stately ficus microcarpa (see figure below). What struck me above all were its aerial roots. Roots are designed to absorb water and nutrients, sustaining the tree and synthesizing substances responsible for its growth. A thought crossed my mind right away: the shape of those roots and the way they coalesce have surely been optimized by Mother […]

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Fanny Griesmer March 5, 2013

In a previous blog post we dealt with the reaction kinetics and modeled plug flow of a monolithic reactor in the exhaust system of a car. The goal was to determine the ideal dosage of ammonia to reduce the nitrogen oxide levels emitted into the air. After understanding the chemistry of our problem, it is now time for the second part in our “Modeling Chemical Reactions” blog series. Here, we will go through the steps of generating a 3D model […]

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Fanny Griesmer March 1, 2013

In chemical reaction engineering, simulations are useful for investigating and optimizing a particular reaction process or system. Modeling chemical reactions helps engineers virtually understand the chemistry, optimal size and design of the system, and how it interacts with other physics that may come into play. This is the first of a series of blog posts on chemical reaction engineering, and here we will have a look at the initial stages of modeling the application: the chemical reaction kinetics.

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Fanny Griesmer February 1, 2013

Microbubbles filled with oxygen can be injected into contaminated lakes to restore the water quality. Typically, water is purified via water-treatment plants, but this microbubble technique is both inexpensive and more environmentally-friendly in comparison. As seen in a COMSOL News 2011 article, oxygen microbubbles are a researcher’s way of copying nature’s own self-restoration mechanism for cleaning contaminated lakes.

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Fanny Griesmer November 9, 2012

A mixer that doesn’t move may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s not. Used in various chemical species transport applications, static mixers are inexpensive, accurate, and versatile. Still, there is always room for improvement. Optimizing the design of static mixers calls for computer modeling, but traditional CFD methods may not be the best way to model these mixers. How do these motionless mixers work and how can their performance be simulated?

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