More Software Power for Modeling Chemical Reactions from AEA Technology

AEA Technology Engineering Software (Pittsburgh, PA) is teaming up with Performance Fluid Dynamics Ltd. (PFD, Dublin, Ireland) to enhance the ability of AEA's CFX-4 software to model chemical reactions.

CFX-4 is a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) program, used by the process and power industries for, among other purposes, simulating fluid flows in reactors, furnaces and mechanical structures. According to AEA, CFX offers a faster alternative to traditional scale modeling and has powerful features to describe complex shapes and physical effects, such as turbulence, heat transfer and multi-phase flows.

While CFX-4 has had some capabilities in reaction modeling, this is an area that all CFD programs could stand improvement. (And what CFD programs add in terms of accuracy, they often subtract by being highly compute-intensive and difficult to run.) AEA expects that by combining PFD's software, which calculates the rates of chemical reactions in fluid systems, process designers will be better able to scale up reactors, more accurately model combustion processes, and improve the yields of polymerization, precipitation and other common reactions. PFD has several products already in use: the PFDReaction tool, Net.Re@ction, an Internet-based reactor simulation service and Net.MeshGen, an Internet-based CFD mesh generator.

"PFD's technology represents a step change in the ability of CFD to model chemical reactions," says Giles Barwell, CFX Regional Manager of AEA Technology Engineering Software. "The innovative user interface to CFX-4 makes it easy for our clients to benefit from this technology."

"Inclusion of reaction chemistry in CFD calculations will become commonplace in the next five years," adds Joe Hannon, Managing Director of PFD. "Many companies invest separately in improving equipment design using CFD and quantifying the chemical reaction mechanisms in their processes. PFDReaction makes it possible to combine these data correctly and produce robust and efficient reactor designs, with shorter development cycles."

AEA Technology will market, sell, distribute and support the combined software product, while PFD continues to own and develop PFDReaction and interfaces between it and other software tools.

By Nick Basta