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 2014/15 - Professor Anthony G. Dixon

Project 1: “Hot and Cold Running Experiments” – use of heating and/or cooling experiments for the determination of fixed bed heat transfer parameters for beds of different catalyst particle shapes. Suitable for a team of four.

Project 2: “Shaped Catalyst Particles” – a CFD (ANSYS-Fluent) simulation study and evaluation of the effects of changing catalyst design features for hydrogen production by methane steam reforming.

Project 3: “Conduction Model Testing” – testing of porous media 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) simulations of beds of varying tube-to-particle diameter ratio.

Project 4: “Steam Reforming of Biodiesel By-product Glycerol” – a reaction engineering simulation study (COMSOL) of the gas-phase steam reforming of glycerol in a fixed bed, to determine heat and mass transfer limitations on the reaction under industrial conditions. Follow-up of this year’s MQP to consider radial temperature gradients in the reactor tube and/or carbon deposition reactions.

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. 30, 2014

[WPI home] [Chem Eng home]