MEng Chemical Engineering

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Computational Methods for Chemical Engineering

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEN10051
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


Advanced use of Microsoft Excel:

Data input, manipulation and graphical representation; Advanced built-in and user-defined functions; Optimisation, root-finding and non-linear regression using Excel Solver.


Programming with MATLAB:

Introduction to the use of computers in Chemical Engineering.


Data handling: Significant figures; Accuracy and precision; Error definitions; Round-off and truncation errors.


Introduction to MATLAB: The scientific computing environment; Types of variables; Number formats; Mathematical operations; Built-in functions; Graphical display of data.


Programming 1: Notion of algorithm; m-files structure; Indentation; Writing programs and user-defined functions; Program debugging; Data input and output.


Programming 2: Structured programming with conditional statements and loops (for and while)


Problem solving in Chemical Engineering using numerical methods: Roots of equations; One-dimensional and multidimensional optimisation; Systems of linear algebraic equations; Numerical integration; Ordinary differential equations.




The unit aims to:

Provide the advanced computational skills required for solving complex problems in Engineering and Science.


Learning outcomes

ILO 1:Represent numerical data with the appropriate number of significant figures and estimate errors in numerical calculations.

ILO 2:Use MS Excel and MATLAB to organise and manipulate numerical data, and represent it graphically.

ILO 3:Identify the appropriate numerical method to solve a complex mathematical problem.

ILO 4:Develop algorithms to solve numerically mathematical models of physical and chemical systems in Chemical Engineering.

ILO 5:Translate algorithms into MATLAB codes using structured programming.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures provide fundamental aspects supporting the critical learning of the module and will be delivered as pre-recorded asynchronous short videos via our virtual learning environment.

Synchronous sessions will support the lecture material with Q&A and problem-solving sessions where you can apply the new concepts. Surgery hours are also available for drop-in support.

Feedback on problems and examples, feedback on coursework and exams, and model answers will also be provided through the virtual learning environment. A discussion board provides an opportunity to discuss topics related to the material presented in the module.

Students are expected to expand the concepts presented in the session and online by additional reading (suggested in the Online Reading List) in order to consolidate their learning process and further stimulate their interest to the module.

Study budget:

  • Core Learning Material (e.g. recorded lectures, problem solving sessions): 24 hours
  • Self-Guided Work (e.g. continuous assessment, extra problems, reading)     : 44 hours
  • Exam Style Assessment Revision and Preparation: 32 hours

Assessment methods

Assessment Types

Total Weighting

Continuous assessment


Exam style assessments


Please note that the exam style assessments weighting may be split over midterm and end of semester exams. 

Feedback methods


Assessment task

How and when feedback is provided



Generic exam feedback form after exam board

Online test on Excel

Final mark only one week after the assessment.


Recommended reading

Reading lists are accessible through the Blackboard system linked to the library catalogue.


Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Claudio Pereira da Fonte Unit coordinator

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