PROPOSAL OF A METHODOLOGY FOR THE INTEGRATION OF THE LEARNING OF NUMERICAL METHODS WITH WASTEWATER BIOLOGICAL TREATMENTS
Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The design and simulation of wastewater treatment plants through biological treatments requires the use of mathematical models, as well as some design criteria, that in many cases are complex and not very intuitive for the student. On the other hand, numerical methods are the fundamental tool that allows the engineer to solve and manage these models. However, the level of abstraction of these methods makes the learning process difficult and highlights the need of a new learning methodology based on the use of practical cases.
Therefore, it is necessary to establish a link between those mathematical subjects in which the required methods are taught and the technological subjects that make use of them. This allows to contextualise the utility of mathematical methods and to go deeper into their application to engineering.
Biological treatments of activated sludge in a piston flow reactor require a model that describes the transport and the biological processes that affect organic matter and microorganisms at the biological reactor. To do so, a system of nonlinear first-order differential equations with variable boundary conditions, to be solved numerically, is used.
We present a learning methodology based on the application of numerical methods to the resolution of practical cases in Environmental Engineering, through the use of new technologies such as the development of Graphic Interface programs (GUIs). This methodology consists on guiding the student in the development of an application that includes the different resolution stages of the practical case: numerical resolution of the problem, development of the GUI and simulation of the process. In the development phase, the student will have to get deeper into the choice of method, and its correct use. Carrying out the project allows the understanding of the model, and also to visualize the effect that the design parameters have on the problem being studied. It also allows to perform dynamic and interactive simulations, representing graphically the solutions of the problem.
Keywords: Wastewater treatment, biological treatments, environmental engineering, interactive simulation, Matlab, graphical interface, active methodologies.