three spheres spinning




Laboratory Equipment


Major Qualifying Projects

CFD in CRE IV Conference


Heat and Mass Transfer Lab

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate students who are interested in research projects in our lab. can either sign up for an MQP (Major Qualifying Project) or see if there are any opportunities for a summer research job. A listing of current MQPs will be posted on this site, which we hope to keep up-to-date, but this may not happen and the best plan is to see Prof. Dixon as project availability can depend on the state of the research.

Major qualifying projects for AY 2015/16 - Professor Anthony G. Dixon

Project 1: “Spheres with Holes” – comparison of fixed bed reactors with full spheres and spheres with holes in them for hydrogen production by steam reforming of methane. Will use either COMSOL Multiphysics or Fluent CFD.

Project 2: “Distortions in Fixed Beds” – evaluation of the effects of thermowells in fixed beds reactors. The thermowell tube down the axis of the bed will affect the packing, the flow and the temperature. This project will use Fluent CFD to compare fixed beds with and without thermowells.

Project 3: “Conduction Model Testing” – testing of effective medium models for conduction, radiation and point contact heat transfer through packed beds of spheres, using 2D transport models (COMSOL) to reproduce temperature profiles and heat fluxes from full 3D (CFD - Fluent) simulations of beds of varying tube-to-particle diameter ratio.

Project 4: “Radial-flow Reactor” – design of radial-flow fixed-bed reactors to ensure proper flow distribution through the catalyst bed, while keeping pressure drop low. Project will use and extend a 2D axisymmetric model in COMSOL Multiphysics. Follow-up of last year’s MQP to design the reactor to balance flow distribution against pressure drop, and to extend to non-isothermal and reacting models as time permits.

For more information, see Prof. Dixon (

Our work with CFD and fixed bed steam reforming is described at greater length in the research pages of this website. Take a look there to see more results and information. MQP opportunities in these areas are usually available, summer positions depend on current needs and funding.

Last modified:
Jan. 20, 2015

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