I have recently had some spare time and chose to use it updating impress adding some new features.
For anyone who has not heard me talk about impress: it is a simple mass balance tool designed for chemical engineers to use during the early stages of design. This application is simple and allows the user to generate approximate flowrates of different components through different streams. It is particularly useful when a number of recycle streams are used.
The main new feature added is a semi-natural language parser for new process descriptions. When generating a new process, the user first inputs all the components, then is directed to the ‘new process description’ page. Here the user enters a text description about the process layout. Below the text, an image of the process layout is automatically updated.
Example: “A and B to C to D to E and F”
The application will look for text such as ‘mix’, ‘react’, ‘separate’, ‘split’ and use this information to identify the type of unit. Any word that is capitalised is converted into a unit name. Once the form is submitted, the units and associated streams are automatically generated, allowing the user to continue to input the extra information such as Component feed flowrates and reactions in reactors. This new feature allows for very fast process generation.
Unfortunately as part of the update, there were difficulties with the database and as the previous version was considered alpha, it was decided to wipe the database and start again. I believe these new features should make the application more usable and welcome any feedback on any areas that still need improvement.
http://impress.thatscottishengineer.co.uk (link is dead, contact me if you wish to try it out)
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