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New Mexico State University

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Sun donates equipment to NMSU chemical engineers

New Mexico State University chemical engineering students will soon have a new way to learn, thanks to a computer hardware grant from Sun Microsystems. The six engineering workstations and server, valued at $60,000, will allow students to use sophisticated simulations of a full-size chemical plant to perform virtual experiments.

"Think of a simulation as a 'chemical plant in a box,'" said Paul Andersen, an NMSU associate professor of chemical engineering. "A process that is too large, too complex or too hazardous for the undergraduate lab can be simulated easily and safely on the computer."

Andersen was part of a team that originally developed six simulation modules at Purdue University. Each module was produced with the assistance of a corporate sponsor, and accurately models the behavior of an industrial chemical process. The modules include a video tour of the actual plant, provided by the sponsoring company.

Rachel Kendall
June 15, 2000