With a burst of inspiration and a lot of hard work, Ouweneel-Bascom Professor of Mechanical Engineering Sanford A. Klein set out to rid himself and his students of the mathematical tyranny experienced in solving problems in the thermal sciences. The result of his dogged perseverance is a software program called Engineering Equation Solver (EES). Klein received the 2006 Byron Bird Award for Excellence in a Research Publication in recognition of the significant impact this software continues to have in both academia and industry.
EES fundamentally changed how researchers in the thermal sciences approach problem solving. In the past, tremendous effort was required to pose problems in a tractable analytical or numerical manner and to manipulate algebraic equations. EES makes it possible to de-emphasize mathematical manipulation and table look-ups to focus student attention on the underlying physics of a problem. The result is that students tackle more difficult problems and ultimately develop a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts. The program's ease of use quickly draws students into simulating systems with hundreds or thousands of simultaneous equations.
EES allows users to input a series of equations and, provided that enough independent equations are supplied, returns the solution. The critical feature that makes EES unique and of incredible value to the technical community involves built-in functions that provide thermophysical properties with unprecedented accuracy. The solution to a set of independent equations automatically accounts for variations in properties.
In addition, EES removes the two major sources of errors in any engineering problem — algebra and units. The program eliminates the need for any algebraic manipulation. Governing equations are written in an easily followed natural form. EES checks unit consistency so typical errors in both metric and English systems are a thing of the past.
EES has seen widespread acceptance in both the technical and academic community, with more than 200 engineering departments using the software. It is also included with several engineering textbooks. Those who teach thermodynamics say Klein's work created a revolution in thermal systems analysis, freeing users to be incredibly more productive.