Practical modelling and control implementation studies on a pH neutralization process pilot plant

Ibrahim, R. (2008) Practical modelling and control implementation studies on a pH neutralization process pilot plant. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In recent years the industrial application of advanced control techniques for the process industries has become more demanding, mainly due to the increasing complexity of the processes themselves as well as to enhanced requirements in terms of product quality and environmental factors. Therefore the process industries require more reliable, accurate, robust, efficient and flexible control systems for the operation of process plant. In order to fulfil the above requirements there is a continuing need for research on improved forms of control. There is also a need, for a variety of purposes including control system design, for improved process models to represent the types of plant commonly used in industry.

Advanced technology has had a significant impact on industrial control engineering. The new trend in terms of advanced control technology is increasingly towards the use of a control approach known as an “intelligent” control strategy. Intelligent control can be described as a control approach or solution that tries to imitate important characteristics of the human way of thinking, especially in terms of decision making processes and uncertainty. It is also a term that is commonly used to describe most forms of control systems that are based on artificial neural networks or fuzzy logic.

The first aspect of the research described in the thesis concerns the development of a mathematical model of a specific chemical process, a pH neutralization process. It was intended that this model would then provide an opportunity for the development, implementation, testing and evaluation of an advanced form of controller. It was also intended that this controller should be consistent in form with the generally accepted definition of an “intelligent” controller. The research has been based entirely around a specific pH neutralization process pilot plant installed at the University Teknologi Petronas, in Malaysia. The main feature of interest in this pilot plant is that it was built using instrumentation and actuators that are currently used in the process industries. The dynamic model of the pilot plant has been compared in detail with the results of experiments on the plant itself and the model has been assessed in terms of its suitability for the intended control system design application.

The second stage of this research concerns the implementation and testing of advanced forms of controller on the pH neutralization pilot plant. The research was also concerned with the feasibility of using a feedback/feedforward control structure for the pH neutralization process application. Thus the study has utilised this control scheme as a backbone of the overall control structure. The main advantage of this structure is that it provides two important control actions, with the feedback control scheme reacting to unmeasured disturbances and the feedforward control scheme reacting immediately to any measured disturbance and set-point changes. A non-model-based form of controller algorithm involving fuzzy logic has been developed within the context of this combined feedforward and feedback control structure.

The fuzzy logic controller with the feedback/feedforward control approach was implemented and a wide range of tests and experiments were carried out successfully on the pilot plant with this type of controller installed. Results from this feedback/feedforward control structure are extremely encouraging and the controlled responses of the plant with the fuzzy logic controller show interesting characteristics. Results obtained from tests of these closed-loop system configurations involving the real pilot plant are broadly similar to results found using computer-based simulation. Due to limitations in terms of access to the pilot plant the investigation of the feedback/feedforward control scheme with other type of controllers such as Proportional plus Integral (PI) controller could not be implemented. However, extensive computer-based simulation work was carried out using the same control scheme with PI controller and the control performances are also encouraging.

The emphasis on implementation of advanced forms of control with a feedback/feedforward control scheme and the use of the pilot plant in these investigations are important aspects of the work and it is hoped that the favourable outcome of this research activity may contribute in some way to reducing the gap between theory and practice in the process control field.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: pH neutralization process, fuzzy logic, intelligent control, feedback/feedforward, advanced control, pilot plant
Subjects: T Technology > TP Chemical technology
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Supervisor's Name: Murray-Smith, Professor David J.
Date of Award: 2008
Depositing User: Mr Rosdiazli Ibrahim
Unique ID: glathesis:2008-311
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2008
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:17

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