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Multidisciplinary simulation and design exploration in the chemical and process industry

Taking a raw material of relatively low value, converting it into a material of high value through reactions and eventually separating out the wastes and unwanted products is the basis of any process in the chemical and process industry. These higher-value materials provide new functionalities in a host of other industries: from touch-sensitive glass for smartphones, pharmaceuticals, corrosion inhibitors for oil pipelines, paints and foams for automobiles to carbon fiber for aircraft. Maintaining profitability in the chemical and process industry requires a sustained focus on operational excellence and innovation to tackle the perennial challenges of predicting process performance, optimizing for energy and process efficiency, reducing byproducts and waste, and troubleshooting sub-optimal processes.

Multiphysics CFD simulation and design exploration solutions are key enabling technologies for achieving operational excellence, bridging the gap between large-scale transport processes (mass, heat and momentum transfer) and microscale chemical processes, allowing engineers to investigate the effects of the large-scale processes on product quality and yield, making simulation accessible to process engineers with limited simulation experience but strong process knowledge.

Leading companies realize that investing in modeling and simulation is critical and have deployed simulation in several areas of their businesses. The articles in this Special Report highlight a few examples of this, covering a range of applications that demonstrate the value of simulation, including:

  • Freedom to test novel concepts to meet process needs
  • Testing ideas and solutions under actual operating conditions and scales
  • Guiding the scale-up of processes from preliminary design and pilot-scale knowledge