Numerical Methods for Chemical Engineers Using Excel, VBA, and MATLAB: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Numerical Methods for Chemical Engineers Using Excel, VBA, and MATLAB

1st Edition

By Victor J. Law

CRC Press

247 pages | 150 B/W Illus.

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While teaching the Numerical Methods for Engineers course over the last 15 years, the author found a need for a new textbook, one that was less elementary, provided applications and problems better suited for chemical engineers, and contained instruction in Visual Basic® for Applications (VBA). This led to six years of developing teaching notes that have been enhanced to create the current textbook, Numerical Methods for Chemical Engineers Using Excel®, VBA, and MATLAB®.

Focusing on Excel gives the advantage of it being generally available, since it is present on every computer—PC and Mac—that has Microsoft Office installed. The VBA programming environment comes with Excel and greatly enhances the capabilities of Excel spreadsheets. While there is no perfect programming system, teaching this combination offers knowledge in a widely available program that is commonly used (Excel) as well as a popular academic software package (MATLAB). Chapters cover nonlinear equations, Visual Basic, linear algebra, ordinary differential equations, regression analysis, partial differential equations, and mathematical programming methods.

Each chapter contains examples that show in detail how a particular numerical method or programming methodology can be implemented in Excel and/or VBA (or MATLAB in chapter 10). Most of the examples and problems presented in the text are related to chemical and biomolecular engineering and cover a broad range of application areas including thermodynamics, fluid flow, heat transfer, mass transfer, reaction kinetics, reactor design, process design, and process control. The chapters feature "Did You Know" boxes, used to remind readers of Excel features. They also contain end-of-chapter exercises, with solutions provided.

Table of Contents

Roots of a Single Nonlinear Equation


Algorithms for Solving f(x) = 0

Using Excel to Solve Nonlinear Equations (Goal Seek)

A Note on In-Cell Iteration References

Visual Basic® for Applications Programming


Algorithm Design

VBA Coding

Example VBA Project

Getting Help and Documentation on VBA

VBA Statements and Features

Objects and OOP

Built-In Functions of VBA

Program Control

VBA Data Types

Subs and Functions

Input and Output

Array Data Structures

Alternative I/O Methods

Using Debugger


Linear Algebra and Systems of Linear Equations




Vector Operations


Matrix Operations

Solving Systems of Linear Algebraic Equations

Linear Equations and Vector/Matrix Operations in Excel®

More About Matrix.xla

SVD and Pseudo-Inverse of a Matrix

Numerical Differentiation and Integration

Numerical Differentiation

Numerical Integration

Curve Fitting for Integration

Ordinary Differential Equations (Initial Value Problems)


Euler-Type Methods

RK Methods

Stiff ODEs

Solving Systems of ODE-IVPs

Higher-Order ODEs

Ordinary Differential Equations (Boundary Value Problems)


Shooting Method

Split BVPs Using Finite Differences

More Complex Boundary Conditions with ODE-BVPs


Regression Analysis and Parameter Estimation

General Method of Least Squares

Linear Regression Analysis

How Good Is the Fit from a Statistical Perspective?

Regression Using Excel’s Regression Add-In

Numerical Differentiation and Integration Revisited

Partial Differential Equations


Parabolic PDEs

Thomas Algorithm for Tridiagonal Systems

Method of Lines

Successive Overrelaxation for Elliptic PDEs

Linear Programming, Nonlinear Programming, Nonlinear Equations, and Nonlinear Regression Using Solver


Linear Programming

Nonlinear Programming

Nonlinear Equations

Nonlinear Regression Analysis

Introduction to MATLAB®


MATLAB® Basics

MATLAB® Programming Language Statements

MATLAB® Function Arguments

Plotting in MATLAB®

Example MATLAB® Programs

Closing Comment Regarding MATLAB®

Appendix A: Additional Features of VBA


About the Author

Victor J. Law, Ph.D., FAIChE, FIChemE, CE, initiated a program that was to become the Department of Computer Science at Tulane. During his tenure in computer science, he wrote two textbooks on introductory computer programming. In 1988, Dr. Law returned to the Chemical Engineering Department in order to resume his research career. He has taught classes in process control, transport phenomena, process design, engineering statistics, and numerical methods for chemical engineers. His research has included projects in coastal erosion, methane emissions from rice paddies, thermochemical processes for hydrogen production from water, and butanol production from biomass. Dr. Law is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers; a Chartered Engineer in the United Kingdom and Europe; and a Registered Professional Engineer, State of Louisiana.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Biotechnology
SCIENCE / Chemistry / General
SCIENCE / Chemistry / Industrial & Technical