Bruce A. Finlayson

Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering

University of Washington

Bruce Finlayson

Papers on modeling chemical reactors, polymer flow, microfluidics, ferrofluids, orthogonal collocation, finite element method.


Overview of finite element method (powerpoint). 1D 2D

Section Editor of the Mathematics Section of Perry's Chemical Engineer's Handbook, 1997, 2008, 2018.






See also Microfluidic Papers


serpentine mixer



Undergraduate Research (100 Projects, 2001-2009)

How to Teach Comsol Multiphysics


Multimedia Lessons


Polyethylene Garbage Bags

Fluidized Beds

Stiff Equations

How to Recycle Computers

microreactorpolymer reactorcat crackercomputer


Books and Papers
New Edition, 2014

with Aspen Plus 8

Examples in Python

and other free resources


Web Book on Numerical Analysis



Introduction to Chemical Engineering Computing (2012, revised 2014 for Aspen Plus 8) teaches you how to solve chemical engineering problems using the programs Excel, MATLAB, AspenPlus, and Comsol Multiphysics. The emphasis is on showing how to show your solution is valid rather than on the numerical analysis. A new version emphasizing AspenPlus 8 will be available in April, 2014.

For those more mathematically inclinded, error bounds and variational principles are desribed in Method of Weighted Residuals and Variational Principles, published in 1972 and republished as a SIAM Classic in 2014. New problems are available on the website.

See also Nonliinear Analysis in Chemical Engineering is a 2003 reprint in paperback of the 1980 McGraw-Hill book. This book describes many of the numerical methods used in current software to solve algebraic equations, ordinary differential equations as initial value problems and boundary value problems, and partial differential equations.

The WebBook on Numerical Analysis provides details about numerical analysis, available on this web site.