Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Official blog of the Lehigh University Chemical Engineers

Top ChE Softwares You Need to Know

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There are many engineering softwares that Chemical Engineering majors here at Lehigh need to learn to solve complex problems. It really saves your day when you get differential equations that are almost impossible to solve by hand, or when you have a system of equations that include ten equations and ten unknowns. In addition, you can use process simulation softwares to model chemical engineering processes. Without further redue, let get into it!

Here are the three main softwares that I currently use:

  • Mathcad
  • Matlab
  • Aspen Plus


Mathcad is software that I use often for my Mass Transfer and Separation Processes class. It allows me to solve problems that involves very complicated math. It is great for solving differential equations and plot making. As long as you enter the expression in the correct syntax and keep tabs and all the variables, Mathcad really make your day a lot easier. You simply define variables and constants, and type in relations between your terms for Mathcad to solve. It saves me tons of time if I would try to the math by hand. If you want to become a Chemical Engineering major, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with Mathcad. Below is a video to get you started.


Matlab is software that use for my Chemical Reactor Design class. Matlab is great for computing functions, and solving differential equations. It is arguably one of the most popular programming tool used throughout engineering disciplines. The difference between Matlab and Mathcad is that in Matlab you have to type up your code for Matlab to compute, where as in Mathcab, you just define variables and relations. I would strongly recommend you to get comfortable with Matlab; it pays off tremendously as you face more and more mathematical challenges in solving chemical engineering problems.

Aspen Plus

Last but not least, Aspen Plus is one of the most important software that I believe every Chemical Engineering major need to master. It’s a simulation software that allow you the simulate almost any chemical engineering processes. You will need to input your component names, all kinds of parameter and methods for the process, and maybe a process flow sheet if you need one. Aspen Plus enables you to find key variables such as exit stream composition, cost etc. From separators to heaters to reactors, it really models the real world situation well. In fact, Aspen Plus is used outside of the school in the chemical engineering industry. Therefore, it is important to become a expert on this one as well!

At the end, I hope you enjoyed these videos as they should help you to have a idea on what are some of the softwares that chemical engineering majors learn here at Lehigh. Mathcad, Matlab, and Aspen will become your friends because there’s only so much Wolfram Alpha can do for you. I hope you like this and I’ll keep this updated.



Author: Jerry Jin

Hello, My name is Jerry Jin. I'm a senior at Lehigh University pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. I'm from Allentown, PA, but I was born in Shanghai, China. I moved here when I was fourteen years old. I'm currently the secretary for Southeast Asia at Lehigh Club, and treasurer for SASE. I'm also on the Lehigh Ultimate Frisbee Team and I enjoy being spontaneous.

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