Studies in the synthesis of separation processes



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Problems related to the synthesis of separation sequences have been considered in this dissertation. The main emphasis has been on the synthesis of sharp separation sequences. The synthesis of a separation sequence implies the creation of an arrangement of separation units that will isolate species from a given multicomponent feed stream at a minimum cost. The products are specified in terms of desired recoveries and purities. An evolutionary approach is used. The synthesis problem is decomposed into two phases, 1) creation of an initial feasible structure, and 2) evolution of the structures. A heuristic procedure for the creation of an initial structure is developed. The heuristic rules embody the knowledge of the general behavior of separation units and separation sequences in a form which is suitable for computer implementation. Starting from the feed stream, a systematic application of the eight heuristic rules creates a good initial structure. In the evolutionary phase, the initial structure is successively modified by the application of five evolutionary rules. The evolutionary rules are applied in a hierarchical manner until no modification can. be detected. The structure thus obtained is termed the "optimal structure" and is not changed in the later work. [...]