Combined Research - Curriculum Development in Process Design, Optimization, and Control

This project is intended to enable Professors Warren D. Seider (University of Pennsylvania), Christodoulos A. Floudas (Princeton University), and William L. Luyben (Lehigh University) to translate the results of their ongoing research in the design and control of chemical processes into a modern two-course sequence in process design. The three investigators are involved in various aspects of research to improve the designs of chemical processes by taking advantage of the latest optimization and control strategies. Their work is helping to shift the emphasis of conventional design strategies from analysis in the steady state to a more balanced approach using optimization and dynamic analysis.

Over the years, all three investigators have played an important role in the preparation of textbooks and teaching materials in their respective areas: flowsheet simulation, optimization, and process control. Yet, the teaching materials for the courses in process design lag far behind the developments in these areas over the past two decades.

In this project, the three investigators will create a two-course sequence, and the associated courseware (text and multi-media modules), that provides the first comprehensive treatment of process design, optimization, and control for the chemical engineering profession. It will blend heuristic approaches with their more analytical counterparts that involve computer simulation and optimization. It will be the first series of courseware to include instruction on: (1) the strategies for using the latest process simulators (both steady state and dynamic) and optimization packages, (2) methods for performing optimization in the synthesis of process flowsheets, and (3) techniques for achieving better process designs through the consideration of plant-wide control and process dynamics.

The proposal is designed to show the current limitations in the process design curriculum in spite of the efforts of many individuals to overcome them. It shows how these barriers can be overcome through the close cooperation of the three investigators, coupled with a team of industrial consultants that is largely in place. In addition, it emphasizes how the results obtained will impact the instruction of design in all of the engineering disciplines.

The proposal plans for close cooperation among the investigators in the presentation of lectures and the preparation of courseware. In addition, it shows how the industrial consultants will provide design problems and advise the student groups as their designs evolve. Finally, the proposal identifies the deliverable courseware, the software and hardware requirements, the evaluation mechanisms, and the distribution of courseware by the CACHE Corporation.

NSF FORM 1358 (1/94)

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