All posts by Ed Fontes

Ed Fontes | May 12, 2015

Biosensors are the workhorses of the analytical tools used for detailed mechanistic understanding at the molecular level of biological systems. The applications of these analysis tools are countless for the detection of biomolecules in the pharmaceutical, health care, and food industries; agriculture; environmental technologies; and in general for research of biological systems. The biosensor demo app is a good example of an application where non-experts can benefit from accurate multiphysics simulations.

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Ed Fontes | May 7, 2015

What is the relation between the extremely popular band One Direction, quantum mechanics, and cosmology? Stephen Hawking may just have explained this relation in one of his recent talks at the Sydney Opera House. It has to do with the prediction of parallel universes, where we, in an infinite number of worlds, could find worlds that are almost identical to ours but with all possible permutations and differences, much like the 410-page books in The Library of Babel by Borges.

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Ed Fontes | February 5, 2015

Starting the car on a cold winter morning can be unpleasant if you have not been proactive the night before. When you are unable to start an engine, it is often the battery’s fault. Why is a battery more sensitive than other processes in a car? The answer lies in the battery’s ability to convert chemical energy into electrical energy, with a minimum of heat generation, and the relatively small amounts of thermal energy available at low temperatures.

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Ed Fontes | February 3, 2015

Modeling of heterogeneous catalysis traditionally attracts great interest from the chemical engineering community, due to the many industrial processes that utilize this type of catalysis. Here, we discuss the procedure of starting with detailed micro-geometries and then proceeding with approximations through homogenization. By following this procedure, from the microscopic particle level to the macroscopic reactor level, we can design the catalyst in detail and study the influence of this design on the total reactor performance.

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Ed Fontes | January 8, 2015

COMSOL applications created with the new Application Builder will make sophisticated simulations based on parameterized CAD models more accessible than ever before. A COMSOL application allows easy access to not only parameterized models but also completely different geometry configurations, such as a mixer with a variable number of impeller blades or a variable number of impellers. To make this easy for the application developer, we have made available cumulative selections and geometry subsequences. See how these tools work.

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Ed Fontes | November 21, 2014

The Tubular Reactor application is a tool where students can model a nonideal tubular reactor, including radial and axial variations in temperature and composition, and investigate the impact of different operating conditions. It also exemplifies how teachers can build tailored interfaces for problems that challenge the students’ imagination. The model and exercise are originally described in Scott Fogler’s book Elements of Chemical Reaction Engineering. I wish I had access to this type of tool when I was a student!

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Ed Fontes | September 10, 2014

As a chemical engineer, I can’t just smoke a cigar and leave it at that. Here, I investigate the anatomy, structure, and chemical process zones of a cigar and show you a simple model of the temperature distribution of the smoke in a cigar as well as the concentration of oxygen.

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Ed Fontes | June 12, 2014

The Beckham and Maradona curl obtained with the inside of the soccer cleat (football boot), and the curl by Eder, Nelinho, and Roberto Carlos with the outside of the cleat, is due to the Magnus effect. The effect is named after the scientist who first observed it in a laboratory in the 1850s. The Magnus effect explains the side-force on a sphere that is both rotating and moving forward. Here, we use it to analyze the World Cup™ match ball.

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