A Qualitative Reasoning Approach to Chemical Process Design

Ioa S. Gavrila, Bert Bredeweg, and Piet Iedema

In this paper we illustrate the use of qualitative knowledge and reasoning to conceptual process design. For a certain class of chemical processes, we propose a design method in which qualitative and numerical decision making phases are alternated. Qualitative reasoning is performed when a rough scan of many design alternatives is desired; numerical decision making follows only for the promising looking qualitative alternatives. In all design phases Propose-Critique-Modify tasks are performed, to quickly evaluate design decisions and to prevent thus the entrance in unfeasible or sub-optimal parts of the design search space. A modular knowledge-based system has been implemented in which the modules follow the task decomposition of the design method.


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