4 Tools Chemical Engineers Should be Using

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One size fits all.

That’s a bit of a bold statement, isn’t it? I don’t think I’m alone in feeling a little skeptical any time I see an article of clothing with “One size fits all” on the label. You mean to tell me that that baseball cap will fit a toddler just as well as an NFL lineman? You expect me to believe that those socks will fit size 13 feet just as well as size 3? Surely these items were, on some level, tailored to fit some average specimen with an allowance for most other people. Two standard deviations on each side of the peak of the bell curve.

The same skepticism can make conversations about PTC Mathcad difficult. Truly, PTC Mathcad is designed to be the single solution for engineering calculations, regardless of industry vertical. But saying “one size fits all” is insufficient. Engineers need to know that PTC Mathcad is the right tool, the right solution, for them.

And so, for the past couple weeks, we have run a blog series about why engineers in certain industry verticals should use PTC Mathcad. It allows us to get the conversation moving in a more specific fashion. A couple weeks ago, Tim Bond kicked things off by talking about Mechanical Engineers. Last week, Cosmin Negru continued with Civil Engineers. Now it’s my turn to talk about Chemical Engineers.

So why should Chemical Engineers use PTC Mathcad? What makes PTC Mathcad specifically suited to fit the needs of the Chemical Engineer? The following list is by no means exhaustive—far from it! But hopefully they will get the conversation moving.

  1. Pre-built Worksheets: PTC has a variety of worksheet packages available free and for purchase that contain pre-built PTC Mathcad worksheets. These worksheet libraries provide great value in many industries, giving engineers examples of how the various pieces of functionality in PTC Mathcad can be leveraged to solve specific engineering problems. Specifically, Worksheet Library Volume 1, with nearly 500 worksheets, provides a collection of 22 worksheets specifically geared at Chemical Engineering, as well as a handful of other applicable worksheets in the “Miscellaneous” folder of the Library. Engineers can use these worksheets as a starting point for their calculations, rather than having to deal with the intimidation of a blank worksheet that has to be built from scratch. The other worksheets in the Library add great value as well, such as the Programming collection and the Differential Equations collection, but I wanted to specifically call out those worksheets that are directly structured for Chemical Engineers.
  2. Prode Physical Properties Custom Functions: Steam tables and fluid properties form an integral part of Chemical Engineering calculations. Dr. Harvey Hensley worked with PTC Mathcad to build out some 220 custom functions that access the 1650+ chemical compounds and their properties from the Prode database. This resource is extensive and powerful and is available for customers who are active on Global Support.
  3. CoolProp Custom Functions: While Prode is an excellent tool, in some cases it may be far more than sufficient for most engineers in need of physical properties and steam table access. CoolProp is a free, open-source fluid properties database. The custom functions built to access CoolProp using PTC Mathcad are also available for Global Support customers. While less robust than the Prode custom functions, the CoolProp functions are rather more user friendly than the Prode implementation.
  4. Unit Conversion: Okay, I know we talk a lot about how PTC Mathcad handles units, but when it comes to Chemical Engineering, unit conversion is paramount. With all the possible units for pressure (atm, Pa, psi, etc.) and the confusion of temperature units (Fahrenheit, Celsius, Kelvin), having a tool that handles these units for you is critical.

Now, with all that said, you still want to know if PTC Mathcad will “fit” you. Fortunately, we have a fitting room. Try our free download of PTC Mathcad Express.

This entry was posted in Mathcad, The Inside Scoop, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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