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I'd like to be able to view in graph form the volume and pressure of steam produced from heating water in a sealed vessel, starting from room temperature water.

Important variables, such as the saturation temperature of steam at different pressures and the energy required to convert water to steam at different pressures are contained in steam tables rather than formulae.

To graph the total volume of steam produced with time, is this the sort of thing these programs like Matlab are good for, automatically interpolating tabular data as appropriate to get a more accurate integration? Do such programs come with many in-built tables like steam tables?

I was just thinking I'd attempt something in Excel but I'm perplexed over how to handle the circular dependency here, i.e. pressure determining temperature which determines evaporation rate which determines pressure.

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There is already software available that can do this, both commercially and open-source. As an example of the latter, I suggest you take a look at Freesteam. It is based on the IAPWS-IF97 steam tables.

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    $\begingroup$ I did have a look at two commercial programs (FireCad and EcoSimPro) but they were more suited to the industry with lots of real-world detail rather than just simple thermodynamic modelling. Hence I thought I'd try more generalized computational software. Freesteam however looks more promising as I'm trying to learn through playing rather than designing professionally. $\endgroup$
    – jontyc
    Mar 15 '13 at 11:38

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