Monotonicity Properties of Physical Network Flows and Application to Robust Optimal Allocation
We derive conditions for monotonicity properties that characterize general flows of a commodity over a network, where the flow is described by potential and flow dynamics on the edges, as well as potential continuity and Kirchhoff-Neumann mass balance requirements at nodes. The transported commodity may be injected or withdrawn at any of the network nodes, and its movement throughout the network is controlled by nodal actuators. For a class of dissipative nonlinear parabolic partial
... equation (PDE) systems on networks, we derive conditions for monotonicity properties in steady-state flow, as well as for propagation of monotone ordering of states with respect to time-varying boundary condition parameters. In the latter case, initial conditions, as well as time-varying parameters in the coupling conditions at vertices, provide an initial boundary value problem (IBVP). We prove that ordering properties of the solution to the IBVP are preserved when the initial conditions and the parameters of the time-varying coupling law are appropriately ordered. Then, we prove that when monotone ordering is not preserved, the first crossing of solutions occurs at a network node. We consider the implications for robust optimization and optimal control formulations and real-time monitoring of uncertain dynamic flows on networks, and discuss application to subsonic compressible fluid flow with energy dissipation on physical networks. The main result and monitoring policy are demonstrated for gas pipeline test networks and a case study using data corresponding to a real working system. We propose applications of this general result to the control and monitoring of natural gas transmission networks.