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CASCADE CONTROL OF A TUBULAR CHEMICAL REACTOR

USING NONLINEAR PART OF PRIMARY CONTROLLER


Petr Dostal, Jiri Vojtesek, Vladimir Bobal
Department of Process Control, Faculty of Applied Informatics
Tomas Bata University in Zlin
Nad Stranemi 4511, 760 05 Zlin, Czech Republic
E-mail: {dostalp;vojtesek;bobal}@fai.utb.cz

KEYWORDS In this paper, the TCR control strategy is based on the


Cascade control, tubular chemical reacor, external linear fact that a concentration of the main component of the
control, pole assignment. reaction taking place in the reactor depends on the
output reactant temperature. Moreover, the procedure
ABSTRACT assumes that the output reactant temperature is
measured continuously. Then, in the cascade control-
The paper deals with the cascade control of a tubular loop, the concentration of a main product of the reaction
chemical reactor. The control is performed in the is considered as the primary controlled variable, and, the
primary and secondary control-loops. A gain of the output reactant temperature as the secondary controlled
primary discrete nonlinear P controller consists of two variable. The coolant flow rate represents a common
parts. The first nonlinear part is determined on the basis control input. The primary controller determining the set
of simulated or measured steady-state characteristics of point for the secondary (inner) control-loop is derived as
the reactor, the second part is selectable. The controller a proportional controller with a nonlinear part obtained
in the secondary control-loop is an adaptive controller. from the steady-state characteristics of the reactor and
The proposed method is verified by control simulations with a selectable part. Since the controlled process is
on a nonlinear model of the reactor with an exothermic nonlinear, a continuous-time adaptive controller is used
reaction. as the secondary controller. The procedure for the
adaptive control design in the inner control-loop is
INTRODUCTION based on approximation of a nonlinear model of the
The cascade control belongs to useful control methods TCR by a continuous-time external linear model (CT
for many technological processes. It may be applied in ELM) with recursively estimated parameters. In the
such cases when at least two output variables can be process of the parameter estimation, a corresponding
measured and only one input variable is available to the delta model is used, see, e.g. (Garnier and Wang 2008;
control. Principles and examples of the use of cascade Mukhopadhyay et al. 1992; Stericker and Sinha 1993;
control can be found e.g. in (Smuts 2011; King 2010; Bobál et al. 2005). The resulting CT controller is
Seborg et al. 1989). derived on the basis of the polynomial method, see, e.g.
Chemical reactors are typical processes suitable for the (Kučera 1993; Mikleš and Fikar 2004; Dostál et al.
use of cascade control. In cases of non-isothermal 2007). The control is tested by simulations on nonlinear
reactions, concentrations of the reaction products mostly model of the TCR with a consecutive exothermic
depend on a temperature of the reactant. Further, it is reaction.
known that while the reactant temperature can be
measured almost continuously, concentrations are MODEL OF TCR
usually measured in longer time intervals. Then, the An ideal plug-flow tubular chemical reactor with a
application of the cascade control method can lead to k1 k2
good results. In this paper, the procedure for control simple exothermic consecutive reaction A → B → C in
design of a tubular chemical reactor is presented. the liquid phase and with the countercurrent cooling is
Tubular chemical reactors (TCRs) are units frequently considered. Heat losses and heat conduction along the
used in chemical industry inclusive of manufacturing metal walls of tubes are assumed to be negligible, but
and processing of polymers and some others. From the dynamics of the metal walls of tubes are significant. All
system theory point of view, TCRs belong to the class densities, heat capacities, and heat transfer coefficients
of nonlinear distributed parameter systems. Their are assumed to be constant. Under above assumptions,
mathematical models are described by sets of nonlinear the reactor model is described by five PDEs in the form
partial differential equations (PDEs). The methods of
∂cA ∂c
modelling and simulation of such processes are + vr A = −k1 c A (1)
described e.g. in (Corriou 2004; Ingham et al. 1994). ∂t ∂z
Detailed analysis of the specific TCR is carried out for ∂ cB ∂c
example in (Dostál et al. 2008). + vr B = k1 c A − k2 cB (2)
∂t ∂z

Proceedings 30th European Conference on Modelling and


Simulation ©ECMS Thorsten Claus, Frank Herrmann,
Michael Manitz, Oliver Rose (Editors)
ISBN: 978-0-9932440-2-5 / ISBN: 978-0-9932440-3-2 (CD)
∂Tr ∂T Qr 4U1 TABLE
T I.: VARIA
ABLES USED IN CO
ONTROL AND APP
PROXIMATIONS
+ vr r = − (Tr − Tw ) (3)
∂t ∂ z ( ρ c p ) r d1 ( ρ c p ) r L=8m n 1 = 1200
∂Tw 4 d1 = 0.02 m d 2 = 0.024 m
= 2 [ d1U1 (Tr − Tw ) + d3 = 1 m
∂t 2
(d 2 − d1 ) ( ρ c p ) w (4)
ρr = 985 kg/m3 c pr = 4.05 kJ/k
kg K
+ d 2 U 2 (Tc − Tw ] 3
ρw = 7800 kg/m
m c pw = 0.71 kJ/k
kg K
∂Tc ∂T 4 n1 d 2 U 2 ρc = 998 kg/m 3
c pc = 4.18 kJ/k
kg K
− vc c = 2 (Tw − Tc ) (5)
∂t ∂ z (d3 − n1 d 22 ) ( ρ c p )c
U1 = 2.8 kJ/m2s K m2s K
U2 = 2.56 kJ/m
with initial conditions k10 16
1 = 5.61⋅10 1/s 018 1/s
k 20 = 1.128⋅10
c A ( z,0) = c As ( z ) cB ( z, 0)) = cBs ( z ) Tr ( z,0) = Trs ( z ) E1/R = 13477 K E 2/R = 15290 K
, , ,
Tw ( z,0) = Tws ( z ) , Tc ( z,0) = Tcs ( z) 04 kJ/kmol
(-ΔHr1) = 5.8⋅10 ((-ΔHr2) = 1.8⋅104 kJ/kmol
and boundaryy conditions cAs 0 = 2.85 km
mol/m3 cBs 0 = 0 kmoll/m3
c A (0, t ) = c A 0 (t ) (kmol/m3), cB (0, t ) = cB 0 (t ) (kmol/m m3),
Trs0 = 323 K TcsL = 293 K
Tr (0, t ) = Tr 0 (t ) (K), Tc ( L, t ) = Tc L (t ) (K).
(
Here, t is thee time, z is thee axial space variable,
v c staands qrs = 0.15 m3/s
for concentrrations, T foor temperaturres, v for fl fluid
velocities, d for diameeters, ρ for densities,
d cp for
CO
OMPUTATIO
ON MODELSS
specific heatt capacities, U for heat tran nsfer coefficieents,
n1 is the num mber of tubess and L is thee length of tubbes. For computatio on of both ssteady-state anda dynamicc
The subscrippt (⋅)r stands foor the reactantt mixture, (⋅)w for chaaracteristics, the finite differences method iss
the metal walls of tubes,, (⋅)c for the coolant, and the em
mployed. The procedure
p is bbased on substitution of thee
superscript (⋅⋅)s for steady-sstate values. spaace interval z ∈< 0, L > by a set of discrete nodee
The reactionn rates and heeat of reactio ons are nonlinnear poiints {zi} for i = 1, … , n, and, subssequently, byy
functions exppressed as appproximation ofo derivativess with respectt to the spacee
⎛ −E j ⎞ varriable in eachh node point by finite difffferences. Thee
k j = k j 0 expp ⎜ ⎟ , j = 1,2 (6) pro
ocedure is in detail
d describeed in (Dostál et
e al. 2008).
⎝ RTr ⎠
Qr = (− Δ H r1 ) k1 c A + (− Δ H r 2 ) k2 cB (7) TH
HE CONTRO
OL OBJECTIIVE AND ST
TEADY-
ST
TATE CHAR
RACTERISTIICS
where k0 aree pre-exponenntial factors, E are activattion
energies, ( − Δ H r ) are reaction entthalpies in the Baasic scheme of the cascade control is in Fig. 1. Here,,
negative connsideration andd R is the gas constant. NPPC stands forr the nonlinea ear proportion nal controller,,
The fluid veelocities are calculated via the reactant and ACC for the adapttive controllerr.
coolant flow rates as Thhe control objective is to aachieve a con ncentration off
thee component B as the prim mary controlled output nearr
4 qr 4 qc to its maximum. A dependencce of the concentration of B
vr = , vc = (8)
π n1 d12 π (d32 − n1 d 22 ) on the output reaactant temperaature is in Fig
g. 2.
The TCR parameter valuues with corrrespondent uunits
used for simuulations are giiven in Table 1.
From the system engineering point of viiew,
c A ( L, t ) = c A out , cB ( L, t ) = cB out , Tr ( L, t ) = Tr out and
Tc (0, t ) = Tc oout are the output variab
bles and q r ( t ) , Figure 1: Cascade C
Control Schem
me.
qc (t ) , c A 0 (t ) , Tr 0 (t ) and
a Tc L (t ) are the innput
Thhere, an operatting interval cconsists of two
o parts. In thee
variables. Am mong them, for the co ontrol purpo ses, firsst subintervall, the concenntration B in ncreases withh
mostly the ccoolant flow rate
r can be taaken into accoount inccreasing reactant tempeerature, in the secondd
as the controol variable, whhereas other inputs enterring subbinterval it ag gain decreasees. The endpo oints definingg
into the proocess can bee accepted ass disturbancess. In botth intervals arre
this paper, thhe output reacttant temperatu ure
315.55 ≤ Tr out ≤ 328.499 1.344 ≤ cBs ≤ 2.2
Tr out = Tr ( L, t ) (9)
is consideredd as the seconndary (inner) controlled
c outpput. in the
t first interv
val, and,
The concenntration cB out representts the prim mary 331.32 ≤ Tr out ≤ 334.633 1.356 ≤ cBs ≤ 2.2
controlled ouutput. in the
t second intterval.
max
cBw
2.2 2.2
max
cBw
2.0 2.0
(kmol/m )

cB (kmol/m )
3

3
1.8 1.8
1.6
1.6

s
Simulated data
1.4
cB
s

Approximation
Interval 1 Interval 2 1.4
Interval 1
1.2
0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7
315 320 325 330 335 ξ (1)
s
Tr out
(K)
Figure 2: Steady-State Dependence of Product B Figure 4: Steady-State Characteristics in the First
Concentration on Output Reactant Temperature. Interval.

It can be seen in Fig. 2 that the maximum value of cB max


cBw
can be slightly higher than 2.2 kmol/m3. However, the 2.2
Simulated data
Approximation
maximum desired value of cB will be limited just by 2.2 2.0
kmol/m3.

cB (kmol/m )
3
For purposes of later approximations, the output 1.8

temperature is transformed as 1.6

s
Tr out − T min
1.4
ξ=
r out
(10) Interval 2
T max
r out −T min
r out
1.2
0.80 0.85 0.90 0.95 1.00
where Trmin max
out = 315.46 and Tr out = 335.01 .
ξ (1)

The dependence of cB on ζ is shown in Fig. 3. Figure 5: Steady-state Characteristics in the Second


Interval.
−1
⎛ d cB ⎞
2.2 ΔTr w = Gw (Trmax min
out − Tr out ) ⎜ ⎟ Δ cB w (13)
⎝ d ξ ⎠ cB
max
CBw
2.0
cB (kmol/m )

where Δ cBw = cBw − cB and Gw is a selectable gain


3

1.8
coefficient.
1.6
The derivatives of approximate polynomials calculated
s

1.4 Interval 1 Interval 2 from (11) and (12) take forms


0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 d cB
ξ (1) = 1.393 + 0.674ξ − 2.241ξ 2 (14)

Figure 3: Steady-State Dependence of cB on ζ .
d cB
= 36.386 − 45.748ξ (15)

THE NPC DESIGN
The derivatives of approximate polynomials can be seen
The procedure of the NPC design appears from steady-
in Figs. 6 and 7.
state characteristics and its subsequent polynomial
approximation. Steady-state characteristics with
polynomial approximations corresponding with Fig. 3 1.5

can be seen in Figs. 4 and 5. 1.4


1.3
The polynomials for both interval have forms
dcB/dξ (kmol/m )
3

1.2
cB = 1.342 + 1.393ξ + 0.337ξ 2 − 0.747ξ 3 (11) 1.1
1.0
in the first interval, and 0.9
s

2 0.8
cB = −12.247 + 36.386ξ − 22.874ξ (12) 0.7
Interval 1

in the second interval. 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7
ξ (1)
Evidently, the desired value of the reactant output
temperature in the output of the NPC can be computed Figure 6: Approximate Polynomial Derivative in the
for each cB as First Interval.
2
0
δ y (t ′) + a1′ δ y (t ′) + a′0 y (t ′) = b′0 u (t ′) (21)
-2
where t′ is the discrete time.
dcB/dξ (kmol/m )
3

-4 When the sampling period is shortened, the delta


-6
operator approaches the derivative operator, and the
estimated parameters a ′, b′ reach the parameters a, b of
s

-8
the CT model.
Interval 2
-10
0.80 0.85 0.90 0.95 1.00
Delta Model Parameter Estimation
ξ (1)

Figure 7: Approximate Polynomial Derivative in the Substituting t ′ = k − 2 , equation (21) can be rewritten to
Second Interval. the form
δ 2 y(k − 2) + a1′δ y(k − 2) + a0′ y(k − 2) = b0′ u(k − 2) . (22)
ADAPTIVE CONTROL SYSTEM DESIGN
Then, establishing the regression vector
Nonlinearity of the reactor is evident from the shape of
the steady-state dependence of the output reactant ΦδT ( k − 1) = ( −δ y ( k − 2) − y ( k − 2) u ( k − 2) ) (23)
temperature on the coolant flow rate shown in Fig. 8. where
y(k − 1) − y(k − 2)
335 δ y (k − 2) = (24)
T0
330
the vector of delta model parameters
ΘδT ( k ) = ( a1′ a0′ b0′ )
325
(25)
Tr (K)
s

320
is recursively estimated by the least squares method
315
Interval 2 Interval 1 with exponential and directional forgetting from the
ARX model (see, e.g. (Bobál et al. 2005) in the form
0.24 0.26 0.28 0.30 0.32 0.34 0.36 0.38 0.40
s 3
qc (m /s) δ 2 y(k − 2) = ΘδT (k ) Φδ (k − 1) + ε (k ) (26)
Figure 8: Dependence of the Output Reactant where
Temperature on the Coolant Flow Rate.
y(k ) − 2 y(k − 1) + y(k − 2)
δ 2 y(k − 2) = . (27)
Note that all of the following control simulations are T02
performed in intervals shown in Fig.8.
Adaptive Controller
External Linear Model of the TCR
The feedback control loop is depicted in Fig. 9. In the
For the control purposes, the controlled output and the scheme, w is the reference signal, e denotes the tracking
control input are defined as error, u the control input, and y the controlled output.
u(t ) = Δ qc (t ) = qc (t ) − qcs (16) The transfer function G(s) of the CT ELM is given by
(19). The reference w is considered as a step function.
y (t ) = ΔTr out (t ) = Tr out (t ) − Trsout (17)
The CT ELM is proposed in the time domain on the w e u y
basis of preliminary simulated step responses in the Q CT ELM
form of the second order differential equation -
y(t ) + a1 y (t ) + a 0 y(t ) = b0 u(t )
 (18)
and, in the complex domain, as the transfer function Figure 9: Feedback Control loop.
b0
G (s) = (19) The feedback controller design is based on the
s 2 + a1 s + a 0
polynomial approach. Procedure for designing can be
External Delta Model briefly described as follows:
The transfer function of the controller is in the form
Establishing the δ operator
d −1 q( s)
δ= Q( s ) = (28)
(20) p( s )
T0
where δ is the forward shift operator and T0 is the where q and p are coprime polynomials satisfying the
sampling period, the delta ELM corresponding to (18) condition of properness deg q ( s ) ≤ deg p ( s ) .
takes the form
As known, the problem is solved by controller whose 328
polynomials are given by a solution of the polynomial 326
equation 324
a( s) p ( s) + b( s) q ( s) = d ( s) (29)

Tr out (K)
322

with a stable polynomial d(s) on the right side, with 320

roots representing poles of the closed-loop, and where 318 Gw = 0.8

p ( s ) = s p ( s ) for step references. 316 Gw = 1

In this paper, the polynomial d(s) is considered in the 0 100 200 300 400 500 600
t (s)
form
Figure 11: Reactant output temperature responses
d ( s ) = n( s ) ( s + α ) 2 (30) (ts = 15, α = 0.05).
where the polynomial n(s) is chosen as a result of
spectral factorization 2.2
cBw
∗ ∗
a ( s ) a ( s ) = n ( s ) n( s ) (31) 2.0

cB (kmol/m )
3
and α is a selectable double pole. 1.8

For G(s) with a( s) = s 2 + a1 s + a0 , the resulting 1.6


controller has the transfer function Gw = 0.8
1.4 Gw = 1
2
q s + q1 s + q0
Q(s) = 2 (32) 0 100 200 300 400 500 600
s ( s + p0 ) t (s)

Figure 12: Concentration cB responses (ts = 15, α =


with parameters computed from (26).
0.05).
The above procedure implies that the controller
parameters can be adjusted by the single selectable
0.38
parameter α. Gw = 0.8
Gw = 1
0.36

Simulation Experiments 0.34


qc (m /s)
3

Simulations document an effect of the concentration cB 0.32

measurement period and the adjustable part of the NPC 0.30


gain on the control signals. 0.28
All simulations were performed on nonlinear model of
the TCR. In the secondary control-loop, the P controller 0 100 200 300 400 500 600
with a small gain was used at the start of simulations. t (s)

For the δ-model parameter recursive identification, the Figure 13: Coolant flow rate responses (ts = 15, α =
sampling period T0 = 0.5 s was chosen. The value of the 0.05).
selectable parameter α is stated under each figure.
In the first case, simulations in the first operating It can be seen that an increasing Gw accelerates all
signals in the control loop. However, its value is not
interval started from the point cBs = 1.3504 kmol/m3, unrestricted and its convenient value should be found
Trsout = 315.55 K and qcs = 0.383 m3/s. The desired experimentally.
An effect of the period ts in the same operating interval
value of cB has been chosen as cBw = 2.2 kmol/m3 An
can be seen in Figs.14 – 17. Although shortening ts
effect of the parameter Gw on the reference w, output leads to faster control responses, its length is determined
temperature Tr out , the concentration cB and the control by possibilities of measurement.
input qc responses is evident from Figs. 10 – 13.
12

10
12
8
10
w (K)

6
8
4
w (K)

6
τs = 8
2
4 τs = 10
Gw = 0.8 0
2 0 100 200 300 400 500 600
Gw = 1
0 t (s)
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 Figure 14: Reference Signal Courses (Gw = 0.5, α =
t (s)
0.05).
Figure 10: Reference Signal Courses (ts = 15, α = 0.05).
328 334.5
326 334.0
324 333.5
Tr out (K)

Tr out (K)
322 333.0
320 332.5
318 332.0
τs = 8
316 τs = 10
331.5

0 100 200 300 400 500 600 0 100 200 300 400 500 600
t (s) t (s)

Figure 15: Reactant Output Temperature Responses Figure 19: Reactant Output Temperature Response.
(Gw = 0.5, α = 0.05).

2.2
2.2 cBw
cBw
2.0
2.0

cB (kmol/m )
3
cB (kmol/m )
3

1.8
1.8

1.6
1.6
τs = 8
τs = 10 1.4
1.4
0 100 200 300 400 500 600
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 t (s)
t (s)

Figure 16: Concentration cB responses Figure 20: Concentration cB response.


(Gw = 0.5, α = 0.05).
0.270

0.38 τs = 8 0.265
τs = 10
0.36 0.260
qc (m /s)
3

0.34 0.255
qc (m /s)
3

0.32 0.250

0.30 0.245

0.28 0 100 200 300 400 500 600


t (s)
0 100 200 300 400 500 600
t (s)
Figure 21: Coolant flow rate response.
Figure 17: Coolant flow rate responses
(Gw = 0., α = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS
The paper deals with design of the cascade control of a
In the second case, simulations in the second operating tubular chemical reactor. The presented procedure
interval started from the point cBs = 1.3564 kmol/m3, supposes measuring both the output concentration of a
main reaction product and the output reactant
Trsout = 334.63 K and qcs = 0.244 m3/s. The desired value temperature. The control is performed in the external
of cB has again been chosen as cBw = 2.2 kmol/m3. and inner closed-loop where the concentration of a main
Here, only signal courses for Gw = 1.2, ts = 10 and α = product is the primary and an output reactant
0.08 are presented. All signal courses are shown in Figs. temperature the secondary controlled variable. A
18 – 21. common control input is the coolant flow rate.
The controller in the external control-loop is a discrete
0.0 nonlinear P-controller derived on the basis of simulated
-0.5 or measured steady-state characteristics of the reactor.
-1.0 The controller in the inner control-loop is an adaptive
-1.5 continuous-time controller. In its derivation, the
recursive parameter estimation of an external delta
w (K)

-2.0
model of the reactor, the polynomial approach and the
-2.5
pole placement method are applied.
-3.0
The presented method has been tested by computer
-3.5 simulation on the nonlinear model of the tubular
0 100 200 300 400 500 600
t (s) chemical reactor with a consecutive exothermic
Figure 18: Reference Signal Course. reaction.
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AUTHOR BIOGRAPHIES
PETR DOSTÁL studied at the Technical
University of Pardubice, where he obtained
his master degree in 1968 and PhD. degree
in Technical Cybernetics in 1979. In the
year 2000 he became professor in Process
Control. He is now Professor in the Department of
Process Control, Faculty of Applied Informatics of the
Tomas Bata University in Zlín. His research interest
are modeling and simulation of continuous-time
chemical processes, polynomial methods, optimal and
adaptive control.