At Johnson Matthey modelling is one of our core skills in advanced material design that helps us differentiate ourselves from our competitors through technology

Developing new process catalysts at Johnson Matthey`s Billingham, UK site
Developing new process catalysts at Johnson Matthey`s Billingham, UK site

Background

Modelling techniques are at the cutting edge of determining what works and what doesn't when designing products to meet customer needs – whether it's a better, faster and more active catalyst or a safer, less resource intensive process.

At Johnson Matthey modelling is one of our core skills in advanced material design that helps us differentiate ourselves from our competitors through technology. Find out more about differentiation through technology .

Exploring the scientific challenge

We use modelling in a wide range of research and development (R&D) areas. Models underpin all chemical engineering design work and vary widely in their complexity.

Both traditional and more modern computational based approaches are used throughout industry – but mistakes can be costly.

Use of inaccurate data and design margins to account for uncertainty can inflate the cost of a new plant by up to 50%.

Before a new modelling approach can be adopted, however, its users need to have confidence that it will perform under the conditions it is to be applied.

Chemical engineers at Johnson Matthey in Billingham, UK, in collaboration with Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts, USA, have investigated the validation of a range of modelling approaches.

Using a variety of examples from heat transfer, reaction kinetics as well as particle and fluid flow, they have shown how detailed validation of models can be carried out using appropriate data and at appropriate scales.

This will ultimately allow advanced modelling techniques to achieve widespread use as primary design tools, transforming the way chemical engineers carry out research and evaluation.

At the other end of the scale huge growth in computing power in recent decades means that ever larger and more complex systems can be tackled.

Johnson Matthey is a part of this atomic-scale modelling revolution which will be at the heart of developing catalytic and materials science for fuel cells, battery materials, emission control and process catalysis well into the 21 st century.

Find out more

Read more about the use of modelling at Johnson Matthey and the validation of chemical engineering models in Vol 59 Issue 2 of the Johnson Matthey Technology Review: 'Guest Editorial: Applications of Modelling at Johnson Matthey'; 'How Good is Your Model?' and'Atomic-Scale Modelling and its Application to Catalytic Materials Science'.