The Catalytic Pellet: A Rich Prototype for Engineering Up-Scaling


  • Pedro E. Arce Tennessee Tech University
  • Mario Oyanader Universidad Católica del Norte
  • Stephen Whitaker University of California


This paper focuses on the use of scaling aspects for understanding transport processes with reaction in catalytic pores and pellets. The idea is to identify a systematic up-scaling approach in the learning process to help students with several concepts related to the transport-reaction process and the mathematical description associated with them. Items at the heart of this contribution are the integration of mathematical concepts with the physics of the system, the understanding of micro and macro scales, and the avoidance of approaches rooted in unit operation approaches, i.e., already scaled-up that are commonly used in traditional textbooks. In addition, the approach highlights the role of the catalytic pellet as an effective POK[38] in learning about multiple-scale systems. The proposed approach uses a microscopic formulation and an area-averaging process with a closure procedure to yield macro-transport equations.

Author Biographies

Pedro E. Arce, Tennessee Tech University

Pedro E. Arce is a professor and chair of the chemical engineering department at Tennessee Tech University. His interests in engineering education are in active and collaborative engineering learning environments. His research interests are centered on electrokinetic-hydrodynamics with applications to soft materials, high oxidation methods, and applied and computational mathematics.

Mario Oyanader, Universidad Católica del Norte

Mario A. Oyanader is an associate professor of chemical engineering at the Universidad Católica del Norte in Antofagasta, Chile. His interests in engineering education are in introducing "real world problems" to students and bringing them into research at early stages of their careers. His research interests are focused on chemical environmental processes with applications to electrokinetic soil cleaning, contamination control, and water management.

Stephen Whitaker, University of California

Stephen Whitaker is professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis. His interests in engineering education are in introducing students to the fundamentals of science and engineering using a sequential and calculus-based approach, and using up-scaling principles to derive engineering equations. His research interests are in transport phenomena in porous media, volume-averaging methods, and transport and reacting systems.