On the Necessary and Sufficient to Efficient Use of Software in the Teaching of Chemical Engineering

  •  Ruan Dias    
  •  Luís Vasconcelos    
  •  Romildo Brito    


The development of computers brought an increase in the number of software programs with a great potential to assist in the task of teaching engineering, among them are: Mathcad®, Mathematica®, Matlab®, Maple™ and Polymath. Several articles have been published with the aim of demonstrating the advantages of using these softwares, as well comparing their performance. The most recent books have clearly indicated the importance of these tools in engineering. Even so, however, the computer has not become a strong helper of the student in solving more complex engineering problems. The point of view presented in this article is a result of over twenty years of teaching in Chemical Engineering. In our opinion, the fact that students know to use a specific software program (syntax) is a necessary condition for solving engineering problems, but not sufficient if the student do not think in a systematic way. The methodology recommended in this article is applied for the resolution of the problem in modules and can be used in both simple and complex problems.

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