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Designing a Continuous Stirred-Tank Reactor (CSTR)

Designing a Continuous Stirred-Tank Reactor (CSTR)Designing a Continuous Stirred-Tank Reactor (CSTR)

CSTR Definition

A Continuous Stirred-Tank Reactor (CSTR) is a type of chemical reactor that has a wealth of applications in industrial processes. The CSTR models an irreversible chemical reaction which transforms a chemical liquid \(A\) into a mix of chemicals. In this tutorial, we will investigate how to model this process in Collimator.

Figure 1 CSTR Diagram

Modeling the CSTR design equation

The CSTR can be modeled as a nonlinear system of differential equations:

$$\frac{d C_r}{dt} = \frac{F}{V}\left( C_{Ai}\left(t\right) - C_{r}\left(t\right)  \right) -k_0 e^{\frac{-E}{R T_r\left(t\right)}} C_r\left(t\right)$$

$$\frac{d T_r\left(t\right)}{dt} = \frac{F}{V}\left( T_{Ai}\left(t\right) - T_{r}\left(t\right)  \right)-\frac{\Delta H}{\rho C_p} k_0 e^{\frac{-E}{R T_r\left(t\right)}}-\frac{U A}{\rho C_p V}\left( T_{r}\left(t\right) - T_{c}\left(t\right) \right)$$

The CSTR variables and parameters are denoted in the following tables:

\begin{array} {|l|l|} \hline Variable & Unit & Description \\ \hline C_{Ai} & \frac{kmol}{m^3} & \text{Concentration of A in inlet flow} \\ \hline C_{r} & \frac{kmol}{m^3} & \text{Concentration of A in reactor mix} \\ \hline T_{Ai} & K  & \text{Temperature of inlet flow}\\ \hline T_{r} & K & \text{Temperature of reactor mix} \\ \hline T_{c} & K & \text{Temperature of cooling medium} \\ \hline  \end{array}

\begin{array} {|l|l|}\hline Parameter & Value & Unit & Description \\ \hline F & 1.2 & \frac{m^3}{h} & \text{Inlet flow rate}\\ \hline V & 1.2 & m^3 & \text{Reactor mix volume}\\ \hline R & 1.987204259 & \frac{kcal}{kmol.K} & \text{Boltzmann's constant}\\ \hline \Delta H & 6250 & \frac{kcal}{kmol} & \text{Reaction heat per mole}\\ \hline E & 12580 & \frac{kcal}{kmol} & \text{Activation energy per mole}\\ \hline k_0 & 36725500 & h^{-1} & \text{Reaction frequency factor}\\ \hline \rho & 1000 & \frac{kcal}{kmol.K} & \text{Density of reaction mix}\\ \hline C_p & 1.16 & \frac{kcal}{kg.K} & \text{Specific heat of reaction mix}\\ \hline U A & 200 & \frac{kcal}{K.h} & \displaylines{\text{Overall heat transfer coefficient}\\\text{multiplied by heat transfer area}}\\ \hline  \end{array}

In our Collimator Notebook, we will begin by importing the libraries we will use.

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import control as ctrl
import collimator as C
import sys

Then we will begin modeling the CSTR by defining the system parameters

F = 1.2
V = 1.2
R = 1.987204259
dH = -6250
E = 12640
k_0 = 36750400
rho = 1000
Cp = 0.5
UA = 200

Then, we define the following lumped constants to simplify the modeling process in our Collimator Model Editor:

F_over_V = F/V
Tr_const = F/V+UA/rho/Cp/V
Tc_const = UA/rho/Cp/V
exp_const = -E/R
pre_exp_const = dH/rho/Cp

Now, we move to the Model Editor to build the CSTR nonlinear model as in the following diagram:

Figure 2 CSTR nonlinear model

The model above is lumped in a Subsystem block:

Figure 3 CSTR submodel

After that, we define the lumped model parameters that we computed before:

Figure 4 CSTR model parameters

Before extracting the model, we will install the the "slycot" library so that we can linearize multi-input multi-output systems:

!conda install --yes --prefix {sys.prefix} slycot

Finally, we extract the CSTR linearized model:

my_model = C.load_model('CSTR')
CSTR_model = my_model.find_block('CSTR_model')
CSTR  = ctrl.ss2tf(C.linearize(my_model, CSTR_model).to_state_space())

The CSTR transfer function between the manipulated variable of the cooling medium temperature \(T_c\) and the concentration of the reactor mix \(C_c\) is:

G_cstr = CSTR[0,0]

PI controller design for the linearized CSTR model

First, we'll take a look at the step response of the linearized transfer function:

T, yout = ctrl.step_response(-G_cstr,T=np.arange(0, 20, 0.01))
fig = plt.figure(figsize=(12,8))

Figure 5 step response of the CSTR linearized transfer function

From the step response, we can see that the CSTR linearized transfer function is overdamped and can be approximated by a first-order transfer function:

$$C \left( s \right) = \frac{b}{s+a}$$

\(a\) can be approximated using the following rule:

$$\text{Rise Time} = \frac{2.2}{a}$$

Meanwhile, the gain can be computed easily from the CSTR DC gain as follows:

a = 2.2/3.0998531905140876
b = ctrl.dcgain(-G_cstr)*a
s ='s')
G = b/(s+a)
T, yout = ctrl.step_response(-G_cstr,T=np.arange(0, 20, 0.01))
fig = plt.figure(figsize=(12,8))
plt.plot(T,yout,label='CSTR linearized tf')
T, yout = ctrl.step_response(G,T=np.arange(0, 20, 0.01),)
plt.plot(T,yout,label='1st order approx.')

Consequently, we can use the following simple rules for tuning a PI controller for a first-order system:

$$C\left( s \right) = k_p+\frac{k_i}{s}$$

$$k_p=\frac{2 \zeta \omega_0 - a}{b}$$


Tuning the PI controller through parameters \(\omega_0\) and \(\zeta\) is much easier as they have more meaningful physical interpretation. We can increase the response speed be increasing \(\omega_0\) while we can control the shape of response with \(\zeta\). Therefore, we define the following interactive tuning function:

def interactive_lead_tuning(w0=1, zeta=0.25):
    s ='s')
    kp = (2*zeta*w0-a)/b
    ki = (w0**2)/b
    G_closed =*-G_cstr,1)
    fig = plt.figure(figsize=(12,8))
    t, y = ctrl.step_response(G_closed,T=np.arange(0, 20, 0.01))
    plt.plot(t, y)

from ipywidgets import interact, fixed
interact(interactive_lead_tuning, w0 = (0,5,0.01), zeta = (0,1,0.01))

We can get a potential satisfactory response for values of \(\omega_0 = 0.8\) and \(\zeta = 1\). This leads to a PI controller of \(C\left(s\right)=282+\frac{202.7}{s}\)

We now evaluate the obtained PI controller with the nonlinear model in the Model Editor. The closed-loop feedback with the PI controller is implemented as in the following diagram:

Figure 6 CTR model in a closed-loop feedback with the PI controller

Then, we update the PI values:

Figure 7 PI model values

Results of the CSTR reactor

Finally, we run the simulation to investigate the results. The reactor mix concentration response and temperature are given in the Model Visualizer:

Figure 8 Reactor mix concentration
Figure 9 Reactor mix temperature
Try it in Collimator