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and oil traveling through. From there,      FIGURE 4. A cropped screenshot of the Amphos 21 hydrophobic mesh app showing inputs for a
Coene, Molinero, and Silva were able        pore analysis (top) and mesh and uid properties (bottom).
to calculate the oil saturation level,
the ux rates for the oil and water,         use these apps to reduce experiments,      groups, and others working to solve
and the fraction of water mixed with        save money on testing, and they’ll         this problem,” said Molinero. “With
oil that passed through the mesh (see       be able to simulate a small section of     the COMSOL model and a custom
Figure 3, left and center). “These results  a mesh and then scale it in order to       application built around it, we’ve made
are especially helpful for choosing a       design the technology they need. This is   headway into a new way to clean
pore radius size when designing a           a promising development in designing       up oil spills.”
mesh for use at certain depths,”            hydrophobic meshes.”
Molinero commented.                                                                       Next, they will distribute their app to
                                               The Amphos 21 app (see Figure           engineers who can use the hydrophobic
   After studying the correlation           4) allows the user to predict the          mesh model on a large scale to design
between optimal oil ux and optimal          mesh performance and quickly check         the ideal mesh for a given situation, and
                                            the quality of designs for different       ultimately deploy new tools to help in
  uid height, they also used their model    operating conditions by changing the
to run a pore analysis (see Figure 3,       mesh and uid properties. In less than      real time. v
right) based on a given maximum             30 seconds, he or she can run an analysis
water fraction — the amount of water        over a range of pore sizes and water       The Amphos 21 team working on their simulation
permitted in the mixture without            depths to nd the best mesh for certain     app. Left to right: Orlando Silva, Emilie Coene,
requiring the oil to be treated.            depths based on a chosen maximum           Jorge Molinero.
                                            water fraction.
   “For different mesh opening sizes,
the model results gave us the oil ux           The app will also calculate different
and the maximum uid column height           mesh properties, such as the absolute
for the desired oil purity,” continued      permeability and other quantities
Coene. “For example, imagine I want to      related to the breakthrough
operate the mesh at least half a meter      pressure, helping designers choose
below the water level, and I want a         the ideal t to suit the needs of
maximum of 1% water in my mixture.          different circumstances.
This shows me what radius I’d need for
my mesh holes.”                                “We think this will be very appealing
                                            to R&D departments, environmental

One feature of the COMSOL software
makes it possible to easily distribute
the results of a simulation to others
without sharing the entire model. “We
used the Application Builder available
in COMSOL Multiphysics to create a
customized user interface around our
model,” Silva explained. “Simulation
apps make it possible to distribute the
simulation results to users but not give
them the entire model. Companies can

“With the COMSOL model

 and a custom application

 built around it, we’ve made

 headway into a new way to
 clean up oil spills.”


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