Rao et al.
|BACKGROUND - MODELING
In scientific fields, it is often desired to predict an outcome. To make such a prediction, one must first have a good understanding of the physics. Over the years, much of the effort in math and science has centered on developing equations that describe how things work. The idea is that if the governing equations of a system are known, then these equations can be solved to predict the behavior of the system. For example, if the initial position and velocity of a baseball is known when it leaves the bat, one can predict when and where it will land by using Newton’s laws. That type of information would be very useful for an outfielder!
Suppose we want to model something more complicated, like the catalytic converter that this paper considers. The complexity of the device means that there will be several governing equations. Imagine grouping all the relevant equations together. We call this a mathematical model.
Once a model is constructed, computers are often used to solve the equations (and therefore simulate the devices). This is advantageous for many reasons. First of all, it is faster than solving the equations by hand. Also, if we want to see how changing the size of the catalytic converter will affect its performance, that simply amounts to changing one number inside the computer model. There is no need to build a large number of devices for testing. In this way, using computer models can help save time and money.
To learn more about computer modeling, check out this website.