Optimal Control of Non-Isothermal, Batch Polymerization of Methacrylates with Specified Time, Monomer Conversion, and Average Molecular Weights
Optimal control policies are determined for the free radical polymerization of three different polymerization processes, in a non-isothermal batch reactor as follows: (1) bulk polymerization of n-butyl methacrylate; (2) solution polymerization of methyl methacrylate with monofunctional initiator; (3) solution polymerization of methyl methacrylate with bifunctional initiator. Four different optimal control objectives are realized for the above three processes. The objectives are: (i)
... re: (i) maximization of monomer conversion in a specified operation time, (ii) minimization of operation time for a specified, final monomer conversation, (iii) maximization of monomer conversion for a specified, final number average polymer molecular weight, and (iv) maximization of monomer conversion for a specified, final weight average polymer molecular weight. The realization of these objectives is expected to be very useful for the batch production of polymers. To realize the above four different optimal control objectives, a genetic algorithms-based optimal control method is applied, and the temperature of heat exchange fluid inside reactor jacket is used as a control function. Necessary equations are provided in the above three processes to suitably transform the process model in the range of a specified variable other than time, and to evaluate the elements of Jacobian to help in the accurate solution of the process model. The results of this optimal control application reveal considerable improvements in the performance of the batch polymerization processes.