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You are on page 1of 8

D. Christopher Dixon

School of Chemical Engineering, University of N e w South I17ales, Kensington, S.S.IT7. 2033, Australia

Provided that the physical relationships governing a system are understood, the number of degrees of freedom can be determined by counting the boundary and geometrical variables and subtracting the number

of independent relationships among the boundary variables. The dynamic number of degrees of freedom

can exceed the static, the difference being equal to the number of independent hold-ups which are undetermined at steady state. Addition of control loops can make dynamic and static numbers of degrees of fteedom equal, if they were not previously, but not every control system changes the number of degrees of

freedom. A distillaticn column i s used as a special example, and the results of applying the present analysis

are compared with those of previous writers.

T h e r e has been some discussion in recent years of the determination of the number of degrees of freedom available in

steady-state design problems (Forsyth, 1970; Hoffman, 1964)

and in cont'rol syst'em design problems (Howard, 1967;

Yurrill, 1965). The accent has been on distillation columns,

aiid other multistage separation processes, since these are

among the more complex of commoii processes. The following

discussion will concentrate 011 the control syst,em design case,

which has some aspects which are not involved in the st'eadystate case and which does iiot appear to have been properly

treated in the literature. However, the approach to be presented is also applicable to steady-state design problems and

may be of interest as an alternative to previous methods in

this contest.

The number of degrees of freedom in a given problem is

equal to the number of variables involved minus the number

of independent equations (constraints) relating them. This

is the number of variables whose values may be arbitrarily

specified (within certain ranges aiid as functions of time in an

unsteady-state situation), thereby determining the values

of the other variables. The phase rule gives the number of

degrees of freedom required to fix the intensive state of a

tem a t (mechanical, thermal, aiid chemical) equilibrium. However, in the more general cases to be considered

here, open systems are involved and several types of constraint other than equilibrium. Thus, although the analysis

could be based on the phase rule with additional const'raints

(Gillilaiid aiid Reed, 1942), it seems simpler t'o start' from

first principles, lisbing all constraints without special attention

to those considered by t,he phase rule.

The determination of the iiumber of equations relating the

variables of a system requires a thorough understanding of

the physical relationships involved. It does not seem likely

that any method for determining the iiumber of degrees

of freedom of a system can be applied without this knowledge.

Hence, the best t,hat' can be expected is a method n-hich does

not require a detailed formulation of the syst'em equations.

Basic Analysis

variables minus the number of independent equations relating

them. The number of variables involved in a system can,

however, be very large, and in a control problem one usually

restricts attention to boundary variables. The reason for this

198 Ind. Eng. Chem. Fundam., Vol. 1 1, No. 2, 1972

produced disturbances is the major concern, and every entering disturbance must disturb some of the boundary variables.

Thuq, an independent set of variables, equal in number to

the number of degrees of freedom, is chosen from among the

boundary variables, aiid these are commonly referred to as the

input variables.

Using this approach, the number of degrees of freedom,

or variance, V , is given by

t'he number of independent equations containing boundary

variables alone (i.e., iiot involving internal or est,ernal variables).

d boundary variable is a quaiit,ity which has a value a t a

point on the system boundary and which can vary under the

conditions being considered. d boundary quantity which is

physically capable of being varied (such as the temperature of

the feed to a reactor), but which is iiot varying under the

specified conditions, is not counted among Xbv.Thus, - Y b v is

not solely a property of the system but depends also on the

conditions being considered. If this constraint lvere iiot placed

on . v b v it' would be very large even for a simple

chemical engineering systems, the variables a t a point on the

bouiidary are usually some or all (depending on which are

varying) of those listed in Table 1.

: v b e does iiot include equations which involve internal

variables. These place no constraint8 on the boundary variables, since it has been decided not, to choose the degrees of

freedom from among the internal variables. External variables, also, are not included among the degrees of freedom,

since the system is t,he only portion of space which is beiiig

considered, by definit,ion. The t,ypes of equation which

commonly describe chemical engineering pyst,ems are also

listed in Tahle I. Relationships established by controllers

will be excluded for the present. Table I is iiot intended to

imply that a given equation, which is one of t,he t'ypes listed,

necessarily relates boundary variables alone. It often happens

that two equations have to be combined, thereby eliminating:

an internal variable, to obtain one boundary equation. This is

discussed furt,her belox.

The input variables are defined above as a set of iadependent boundary variables equal in number to the number of

this definition because it is not always possible to choose any

set of V boundary variables as the input variables. The

formal criterion is that there must be no equation Jvhich

cont'aiiis only input variables. For example, in a system having

three degrees of freedom and three material streams crossing

the boundary, the mass flow rates of the three streams cannot

be chosen as the input variables a t steady st,ate since they are

related by t'he total-mass balance equation.

There is a further aspect of the iiat'ure of degrees of freedom

which must be considered in some cases. Having chosen a

set of input variables, their values determine the values of t,he

internal variables and other boundary variables. However, it

is oft'en the case that the values of only some of the dependent

bouiidary variables are of interest. I n such cases, it can happen

that some of the input variables have no effect on these dependent variables. These "neutral" input variables represent degrees of freedom of the system since they are in fact

free t'o be arbit'rarily specified, but if one is only interested

in the number of ways in which the result of the process

can be influenced t'hey are not' relevant and would not be

counted.

A given input variable is neutral if it is possible to find a set

of independent boundary equations not containing t'his variable, but containing all the dependent boundary variables

of interest and containing a total number of dependent boundary variables equal to the number of equations. An input

variable which appears in none of the boundary equat,ions is

always neutral, no matter which boundary variables are of

interest.

I n a control problem, the geometrical parameters of bhe

system (e.g., number of plates and plate design in a distillation

column) are usually fixed. However, this is not necessarily so,

and the more sophisticat'ed control systems have variables

of t'his type.

This makes no difference to eq 1 and adds no additional

types of equation to Table I ; it simply provides additional

boundary variables and degrees of freedom. I t is quite natural

to think of such geometrical variables as boundary variables

for a control system, since some externally operable mechanism must be provided for performing the adjustments.

I n a steady-state design problem, however, all the geometrical paramet'ers are available for specification but would

not normally be considered bo be boundary variables. I n

this case, N b v in eq 1 equals the number of boundary variables

plus t'he number of variable geometrical parameters.

A further consideration, which arises in a control problem,

is that there are, in fact, two numbers of degrees of freedom

which need to be considered: st'at'ic, V,, and dynamic, V d .

The static (or steady-state) number of degrees of freedom

is the value of V under the constraint' that the system is a t

steady state, while this constraint' does not apply in evaluating Vd. Thus, eq 1 can be replaced by t'wo equations

v,=

v d

Nbv

S b v

- Arbes

(2)

(3)

S b e

v d can be greater than V,: that is, S h e can be less than Shes.

This can arise because the balance equations contain accumulation terms under dynamic conditions, but not a t steady

state. If a variable which determines the accumulation term

in a balance equatioii is not related to the boundary variables,

then the balance equation will be couiit'ed among A'ber,

but not among N b e .(Balance equations are the only equations

in Chemical Engineering Systems

a . Boundary Variables

Intensive properties

Composition

Temperature

Pressure

Or another set of (W 1) intensive properties, where A' is the

number of chemical compounds present.

Material

Heat

Shaft work ( L e , , all work except flow work).

(Flow work is not listed separately, because it ib determined

by the flow rate and pressure of the material.)

b. Equations

1.

Balance

input

output

consumption

accumulation

rate

rate

rate

rate

nhere t = time

2 = amount in the system = hold-up

(a) Material

(b) Energy (total)

(c) llechanical energy or momentum

2.

Equilibrium

Rote

or

(a) Mechanical

(friction, etc.) or momentum

consumption (all opposing forces)

(b) Thermal

Heat transfer

(c) Phase

Ilaterial transfer

(d) Reaction

Reaction

(At a given point, for a given type of process, either an

equilibrium or a rate equation applies, bnt not both.)

ones which contain terms under dynamic conditions which

are absent a t steady state. Reaction rate equations, for example, are often stated to be differential equations in time,

but they are not in fact (Dison, 1970).)

Any relationship which exists between a hold-up determining variable and the boundary variables will exist under

both dynamic and static conditions. The accumulation term

in a dynamic balance equation gives the change in the hold-up

(of whatever entity the balance is accounting for) from some

initial value. Thus, if the system is imagined to start from a

steady state, the hold-up is subsequently determined only

if it was determined a t steady state, that is, if the hold-up

has a unique value a t steady state for a given set of values

of the boundary variables. (A further point, which is required

later, is that the only variables which can be undetermined

a t steady state are hold-up variables. Every variable must

be affected by the boundary variables under dynamic or

static conditions, if not both; otherwise it would not vary

and so would not be a variable. Since the only differences

between dynamic and static equations are the accumulation

terms in the balance equations, hold-up variables are the

only ones which can vary under dynamic conditions while

having no unique steady-state values.)

Hence the simplest approach appears to be to determine

V , from eq 2, and then lid from

v d

v,= 5,"

(4)

199

a;.voi. f l o w

constant pressure

cd oe n ssti at y

I rquld

I

I

I

L - - - -

syslem

boundory 2 - - - - J

00' Qo(h)

' b . P u m p e d - d i s c h a r g e Tonk

liquid

c o n s t a n t - speed

0, i n d e p e n d e n l o f h

Heat Exchanger

constant

comp0:ition

Liquid A

d. Isothermal Reactor

Feed

product

overf lo w

perfectly mixed

Figure 1.

Simple examples

undetermiiied a t steady state. K h e n V dexceeds V , the number of input variables is usually taken to be the former.

I n a system for which Vd = V,, a steady state exists for

any set of constant values of the input variables (within

operating ianges). Such a system nil1 be referred to as sdfregulatory, although there is no guarantee, of course, that any

such steady qtate is stable. For a system which is riot selfregulatory, there will be no steady state corresponding to an

arbitrary set of values of the input variables, but only for

certain discrete sets Such a system would not normally be

coiisidered satisfactory for contiol purposes.

I t must be pointed out here that the possibility of Vd

being greater than V,ariyes from the way in k\hich the problem has been approached i n termi of boundary variables.

When

exceeds V,, there are in fact A,' additional degrees

200

fixed by boundary variables. These degrees of freedom can

be fixed by a set of Ai,, internal variables, one for each independent undetermined hold-up. However, it appears t h a t in

no case is any of these degrees of freedom of any use or relevance. They do not affect the relation between entering and

leaving material streams and they cannot be directly fixed

from outside the system. Hence, the best approach is to not

count these degrees of freedom, which is what is done b y the

above method of analysis.

Having decided that only the number of steady-state

boundary equations, .?-be%, need be directly determined, and

not h i b e , some further remarks can be made about the equations in Table I. I n balance equations, the accumulation term

will be zero, since only the steady-state case is considered.

Since the input and output rates will always be described

by boundary variables, every balance equation in which

the consumption term is zero will be counted among x b e s .

Thus, the total-mass balance, mass balances on nonreacting

compounds, and the energy balance will always be boundary

equations.

I n balance equations in which there is a nonzero consumption term, the appropriate rate equation will be required to

determine the consumption. If the rate is determined by the

boundary variables then the combination of the balance and

rate equations will be a boundary equation. For example, in a

mass balance equation for a reacting compound, the reaction

rate expression is substituted into the consumption term.

If the concentrations, temperature, etc., which determine the

reaction rate are related to the boundary variables, then

the material balance-reaction rate combination is a boundary

equation.

Figure 1 shows four simple examples which have been

chosen for illustration. The analyses are given in Table 11.

For Figure la, it is easily seen b y inspection that the result

Vd = V , = 1 is correct. Qlcan be varied arbitrarily (within

limits imposed by the height of the tank) under both dynamic

and static conditions, and this determines the variation in

Qo. The mechanical energy balance, with appropriate friction

loss expressions substituted into the consumption term,

does not relate boundary variables in this case. The friction

losses depend on Qi and Q o (boundary variables) but also on

h. There is no independent equation relating h to the boundary

variables, and the mechanical energy balance equation reduces,

in fact, to the relation between Qo and h. I n effect, the mechanical energy of the inlet stream is dissipated by impact on the

surface in the tank, no matter what the value of h, and so

there is no connection between inlet and outlet mechanical

energies.

Another point about this example is that it contains a iiumber of irrelevant degrees of freedom. The liquid density is

constant and Q o depends only on h, which implies that the

viscosity is also constant. However, subject to these two

constraints, the composition and temperature could vary,

1 - 2 = (.V - 2) additional boundary

giving (*V - 1)

variables for both inlet and outlet streams. The energy

balance equation plus (S - 3) compound mass balance

equatioiis (t1F-o of the (S - 1) compound balances are dependent on the rest, because of the density and viscosity

constraints) provide additional boundary equations, leaving

(A' - 2 ) additional degrees of freedom. These additional

degrees of freedom are easily seen to be neutral, if Qo is the

only boundary variable of interest, and they are not listed

in Table I. However, this can also be shown by the formal

procedure given above.

nT/-f+FL/'o

a. G r a v i t y - d i s c h a r g e T o n k

plus inlet temperature and ('V - 3) inlet composition variables, since there is no equation relating these. With this

choice of input variables, it is found that the total mass

balance equation (Q1 = Qo) contains only one dependent

variable (Q,,), and this is the boundary variable of interest,

but the only input variable contained in it is Ql. Hence, the

other input variables are neutral.

Figure l b illustrates what appears to be the only common

situation where Vd exceeds VB;that is, the situation where the

in- and out-flows of a tank containing a phase boundary are

unaffected by the position of the boundary. Compared to

Figure l a , the mechanical energy balance-friction loss equation now relates boundary variables a t steady state, since

there is now, in effect, an independent equation for h (k.,

h

may be arbitrarily specified a t steady state). This extra equation (which reduces to Qo = constant, as shown in Table 11)

reduces V , by one to zero. However, since h is undetermined

a t steady state, v d - V , = 1, so that Vd = 1, the same as

for Figure la. It is easily seen t h a t Q , can be arbitrarily

varied under dynamic conditions but can only have one value

a t steady state.

If the pump in Figure l b were centrifugal, rather than a

positive displacement type, Q,, would be affected to a small

extent by h and so the system would be equivalent to Figure

la. However, the range over which Q i could be varied, while

still allowing a steady state, would be small; that is, the system

would be self-regulatory over a small range only. I n the limit

as the effect of h on Qo approaches zero, the self-regulatory

range approaches zero and Vd - V , becomes unity. Thus, if

one says that the effect of h on Qo, while not zero, is negligible,

which makes v d - Vs = 1, this is equivalent to assuming

that the self-regulatory range of the system is negligibly

small. Even for Figure l a the self-regulatory range could be

negligible under the conditions being considered. If the range

of variation of Qo, which is allowed by the height of the tank,

is very small compared to the variations in Qlwhich are expected, then the effect of h on Q o is negligible, in effect, and the

system is equivalent t o Figure l b .

T h e heat transfer rate equation is included among Nbe.

for the heat exchanger example. The total rate of heat tiansfer

is given by the inlet and outlet temperatures and flow rate

of either stream, and the log mean temperature difference

is given by the inlet and outlet temperatures. Thus, the total

heat transfer rate equation can be expressed in terms of

boundary variables.

I n the reactor example, the volume of the reactor contents

has been assumed constant. Hence, the total rate of reaction

for each compound depends only on the composition of the

contents, which is the same as the exit concentration (boundary variable). Thus, the S compound balance-reaction rate

equations are boundary equations. If the variation of the

volume with flow (because of the overflow product-removal

system) were taken into account, the relation between depth

and outflow (as in Figure l a ) would determine the contents

volume in terms of boundary variables, and would be used

to eliminate the volume from each compound equation,

giving the same result for N b e s .

Effect of Control loops

to a system (which means that it is placed inside the defined system boundary), it establishes a relationship

between a valve setting or other manipulable variable and

another variable (the controller actuating variable), if the

Gravity-Discharge Tank

a.

Qo (valve setting does not vary, because the stem does not cross the

boundary)

Nbej

1

Material balance

V s = 2 - 1 = 1 E.g., inlet flon- rate

Liquid hold-up is determined by h , which

Vd - V , = 0

is related to Qo

=

s b v

Qi,

b.

Sb,.=

-1=0

V,

I'd

- V, = 1

Pumped-Discharge Tank

Q i (Qo is constant)

Material balance

Q i must equal Qo a t steady state

Liquid accuniuhtioii is determined by h ,

which is not fixed by the boundary

variables

C.

xb,. =

A-beS

12

6

V 3 = 12 - 6

Vd

- T.', = 0

d.

I\lhv

2 5

Shes =

+1

a\-

Vq = 2 5

+1-

I'd - T',

s = *\- + 1

0

Heat Exchanger

entering and leaving stream

2 x material balance

1 X energy balance

2 X mechanical energy balance-friction

loss

1 X heat transfer rate

6 E.g., floxv,pressure and temperature of

each inlet stream

Temperatures determine energy hold-up,

p r e s u r e s determine liquid hold-up;

all are fixed a t steady state

Isothermal Reactor

product; temperature

llaterial balance-reactioii rate for each

compound

E.g., compohition, flon- and temperature

of the feed

Material accumulation is dfterniined by

reactor composition, which equal3

product composition

are fixed. The general method of analysis given above can,

of course, be applied direct'ly t,o systems containiiig coiitrol

loops. However, to examine specifically the effect of control

loops, t,he change in the number of degrees of freedom resulting from their addition will be considered.

For the purposes of t,his discussion, it will be assumed

that the manipulable variable exists in the system before

the control loop is added. Thus, the manipulable variable

is always a boundary variable since, before the controller is

added, it can only be varied from outside the system. If the

manipulable variable does not already exist, it must be added

to the system, as a preliminary to adding the control loop.

If t,his can be accomplished by providing for the direct variation of some quantity which was previously fixed, then this

adds one extra degree of freedom. The most common case is

the addition of a control valve to a pipeline. This gives the

line a variable, instead of fixed, flow resistance.

I n the case of a feedback control loop containing integral

action (it is assumed that integral action is never used in

feedforward loops), the controller itself does not determine

the manipulable variable as a function of the actuating

variable a t steady state. However, it ensures that steady

state can only exist when the actuat,ing variable has a particuInd. Eng. Chem. Fundam., Val. 11, No. 2, 1972

201

a. G r a v i t y - d i s c h a r g e T a n k , w i t h L e v e l C o n t r o l

oi

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _1

system b o u n d a r y /f

b. G r a v i t y - d i s c h a r g e T a n k , w i t h F l o w C o n t r o l

%---

-,<,p;

c. P u m p e d - d i s c h a r g e Tank, w i t h L e v e l C o n t r o l

Figure 2.

variable through the system relationships. Since the effect

of integral action is to give the controller an infinite steadystate gain, which removes offset in the controlled (actuating)

variable, the simplest approach to an integral controller

appears to be to determine its effect without integral action

and to then deterniiiie if any further constraint results from

letting the steady-state gain become very large (or constraining the steady-state values of the actuating variable to

a very small range).

Thus, the problem is to determine the effect on the number

of degrees of freedom of making the manipulable variable a

function of the actuating variable, with a large gain a t steadystate when integral action is used. The result depends on

whether the actuating variable is an undetermined hold-up

variable or iiot 111 the original system.

If the actuating variable is undetermined a t steady state

ill the original system, then the manipulable variable after

coniiection through the controller is also undetermined, with

finite or infinite controller gain. Therefore, V . is not changed.

However, the manipulable variable is a boundary variable

and the actuating variable is related to it in the new system

so that Sa,is reduced by one. Therefore, vd is reduced by one.

If the actuating variable is determined (related to boundary

variables) 111 the original system, then the controller fixes the

maiiipulable variable as a function of these boundary variables for both dynamic aiid static conditions, aiid so V.

and Vd are both reduced by one. When integral action fixes

202 Ind. Eng. Chem. Fundom., Vol. 1 1 , No. 2, 1972

effect by making some degrees of freedom neutral. Depending

on the circumstances, these degrees of freedom may be

irrelevant, and so V , is further reduced. There does not appear

to be any specific rule for determining whether degrees of

freedom are made neutral by integral action, and each case

must be analyzed by the general method given above.

These effects caii be illustrated for the two liquid-holding

tanks of Figure l a and b. Figure 2a shows the gravitydischarge tank (Figure la) with a level controller. The

system boundary has been drawn to cross the valve stem,

indicating that the valve setting caii now be varied arbitrarily

before addition of the controller. The controller removes

this new degree of freedom, since the actuating variable (h)

was previously determined, and v d = 7,= 1, the same as

for Figure la. Closely controlling h has no additional effect.

Q , is still a permissible choice as iiiput variable and will have

an effect even if h is fixed. Thus, adding the control valve

and controller has iiot affected the degrees of freedom in this

case. It has, however, increased the self-regulatory range of

the system. A steady state can exist for a wider range of

values of Q>than previously. (The arrow indicating the controller set-point (sap.)does not cross the system boundaries,

which indicates that the set-point is fixed.)

Figure 2b shows another control system for the gravitydischarge tank. Again the actuating variable (Qo) was previously determined a t steady state and so the controller

reduces Vd and V , by one, canceling the extra degree of

freedom from the control valve. However, in this case the

self-regulatory range has been reduced, and if Qo is closely

controlled Q , has only one value for steady state, and the

result is Vd = 1, V , = 0. Looking a t this in another way,

with close control Q I is no longer a permissible choice for the

input variable a t steady state, but the valve position can be

chosen. The valve position may be arbitrarily specified a t

steady state. This merely determines the value of h required

so that Qo has the required value. However, the valve position

then represents an irrelevant degree of freedom since it only

affects h , and not Q,,,leading again to the result v d = 1,

V 8 = 0. With close control of the flow, the system is equivalent to Figure l b .

Figure 2c shows a level controller applied to the pumpeddischarge tank (Figure lb), which originally had Vd = 1,

V, = 0. The addition of the control valve has added an

extra degree of freedom. Since the actuating variable was

previously undetermined a t steady state, adding the controller does not affect V. but reduces Vd by one. The filial

result is Vd = Ti, = 1, and the system is now self-regulatory

and equivalent to Figure l a .

In the above discussion, adjustable controller parameters

have been assumed fixed. If any one of these is variable, this

adds an extra degree of freedom in all cases.

The above discussion has also been limited to control loops

which are added to the system. A control loop which is external to the system (because of the defiiiition of the system

bouiidary) can reduce the number of degreeg of freedom by

removing (nearly) the variatioii in a boundary variable.

Vd and V. are reduced by one, simply by reduciiig lb,.

From the above d i x u w o n , the statement (lIurri11, 1965)

that the number of iiideloendeiitly-actiug controllers which

may be added to any system cannot eweed the number of

degrees of freedom which are iiiherent in the system requires some qualification. K h e n Vd exceeds

the former is

the number of degrees of freedom which applies to this rule.

Assuming that the final Eystem is required to be self-regu-

v.,

latory, S,,loops must be actuated b y previously undetermined hold-up variables. A maximum of V , other loops may

be added which are either external loops holding boundary

variables constant or internal loops actuated by previously

determined variables. The manipulable variables for all

iiiternal loops must exist before the rule is applied.

Distillation Columns

amoiig the more complex systems and have received considerable attention in connection with the present subject.

There is some disagreement between different writers.

Figure 3 shows a basic two-product distillation column,

as has been considered by several writers. Showing the heat

transfer rat.es, for condenser and reboiler, esplicity by arrows

implies that the system boundary is being taken as coincident

with the heat transfer surfaces, rather than as passing through

the water and steam inlet and outlet pipes. The degrees-offreedom analysis of this system is summarized in Table 111.

I n Table 111, S phase equilibrium relations ( L e . , equality

of chemical potentials between phases for each compound)

are shown. The top and bottom products are not, of course,

in equilibrium with each other (unless the column contains

only one ideal stage). However, the equilibrium relationships

between the phases on each plate through the column give,

overall, one set of iV equations relating top and bottom

compositions. A similar comment applies to the mechanical

and thermal equilibrium relationships listed. The assumption

of equilibrium is only an idealization, of course. However,

even if this assumption is not made, the same number of

rate equations will be obtained, instead of the equilibrium

equations.

The inclusion of the mechanical equilibrium and mechanical energy balance-friction loss equations is only permissible

because of the assumed poor self-regulation associated with

the two accumulators. The levels in these accumulators are

assumed to have negligible effect on product flows ( c j .

discussion of Figures l a and b) so that the friction losses in

the accumulators are related to product flows, and the discharge pressures of the two products are related to the reboiler and condenser pressures, and hence to each other via

the equilibrium relations through the column. The liquid levels

on the trays are assumed sufficiently variable to give adequate regulation, and these are determined independently

of the overall mechanical energy balance-friction loss equation by the internal refluxing arrangements.

I n the above analysis, the number of plates in the column

has been taken as fixed, which is the usual situation in a

control system. In a design problem, the numbers of theoretical plates i n the rectifying and stripping sections are not

fixed and provide two additional degrees of freedom. If

real plates are considered, there are numerous additional

degrees of freedom in the plate geometrical details, unless a

fixed plate design and spacing is used.

The analysis in Table 111can be compared with that of other

writers, for the design problem where the numbers of theoretical plates are variable. I n this case, the present analysis

gives V , = N

6. If the feed composition, temperature,

flow rate, a i d pressure (or the column pressure) are specified, four degrees of freedom remain, which agrees n-ith the

result of Kwauk (1956) for a biliary system and of Forsyth

(19i0) for a quinary system. (Xeither of these writers states

esplicit,ly lvhet,her the accumulators are self-regulatory or not.

However, by implicat,ion they consider them nonself-regulatory, which is the present case. They make the usual assump-

of Figure 3

Boundary variables

S

S

2

2

+2

+2

+2

35

Top composition, temperature, pressure, flow

Bottom composition, temperature, pressuie, f l o ~

Reboiler heat flow and steam temperature

Condenser heat flow and steam temperature

Total

+ 10

s

1

1

1

1

s

2

Xaterial balance

Energy balance

l\Iechanical energy balance-friction loXeciianical equilibrium

Thermal equilibrium

Phase equilibrium

Heat transfer rate-reboiler and condenser

Total

3-Y 10 - ( 2 s 6) = S 4

T, = 2 Lelels in reboiler and condenser are assumed to h a r e negligible effect on product

flow rates

cq

5.

+

TVd

=

=

s y s t e m boundary

condenser

I

I

I

reflux

t o p product

feed I

N compounds

negligible

heat loss

>

I

I

I

Figure 3.

If the accumulator levels have a significant effect, this assumption cannot be made.)

Hoffman (1964), however, maintains that there are only

three degrees of freedom for this system, but this apparent

disparity (Forsyth 1970) can be explained. First, Hoffman

does not include the two numbers of theoretical plates among

the degrees of freedom, since the numbers of plates must be

integral. Strictly speaking, this is correct, since a variable

which is a degree of freedom should be continuously variable

over its allowable range. However, this is really only a

matter of definition, the practical point being that the numbers of plates are variable. K i t h this restriction, the number

of degrees of freedom is reduced from 4 to 2 .

Secondly, Hoffman does not include the pressure in specifying the feed. This gives a n extra degree of freedom, and a

final number of 3. There is, of course, no reason why the

feed pressure should be specified. This simply leaves some

other variable (such as the pressure a t the top of the column)

free for specification. Thus, the only way in which Hoffmans

analysis differs from others is in not counting the numbers

of plates as degrees of freedom.

Ind. Eng. Chem. Fundam., Vol. 1 1 , No. 2, 1972

203

system b o u n d a r y

balance and mechanical energy balance-friction loss equations for water and steam. Thus, Figure 4 has 13 - 4 = 9

additional degrees of freedom.

T o simplify the analysis, the inlet temperatures and pressures, and discharge pressures, will be taken as constant for

water and steam. There are then three additional degrees of

freedom in Figure 4 (three of the five valves, the other two

replacing q. and pc, in effect), g i v i n g v , = $

7 and V d =

N 9.

Since Vd is greater than V., the first priority usually is to

reduce V d so that it equals V,. From the previous discussion

it is seen immediately that this can be done by actuating two

of the valves from the levels in the condenser and reboiler.

One such set of connections is shown in Figure 5 , together

with other control. loops considered, as an example, by Murrill

and by Howard. The two level controllers are not required

to closely control the levels, but only to keep them within

limits, thus achieving material-balance control (Buckley,

1964).

If the top product valve, say, was used in a product flow

control system, instead of in the material-balance system

shown, then Vd and V , would both be reduced by 1 and their

difference would remain unchanged. As was found in some

early installations, such a system does not work satisfactorily.

The other control loops affect V d and V , equally, each overall

loop reducing Vd and Ti, by one. I n particular, the cascade

loop (TRC2 and FRC3) which adjusts the reflus valve to

control the top temperature reduces the number of degrees

of freedom by one only, not two, as has been stated sometimes.

The inner loop (FRC3) relates the reflux valve setting and the

reflux flowv,but introduces an additional variable in the set

point. Hence, the inner loop does not affect the degrees of

freedom. The outer loop relates the top temperature to the

inner controller set point, and so reduces the degrees of freedom by one. Thus, the complete cascade system reduces

the degrees of freedom by one. Thus, the controllers, other

than the material balance controllers, reduce the static degrees of freedom by 5, leaving VI^ = V . = A

7 - 5 =

N

2.

This is two less than the number of degrees of freedom for

the column without control valves and controllers (Figure 3).

A reduction of four is due to the fact that the feed flow and

temperature and the steam and water flows are controlled,

and an increase of t x o is due to the addition of the two valves

in the material balance loops (these loops do not affect X b e r ) .

The reflux control loop has no net effect on the number of

degrees of freedom compared to Figure 3, because a degree of

freedom has been added via the valve, but removed by the

control loops. The remaining ( N

2) degrees of freedom

could be specified, for example, by the feed composition and

pressure and the pressures a t the points of discharge of the

two products. I t can be seen intuitively that the feed composition and pressure can, in fact, be varied arbitrarily.

Also, if the discharge pressure of the top product is changed,

the material-balance control will adjust the valve to restore

the product flow, and nothing else in the system vi111 be

affected (except an adjustment of the reflus valve to compensate for the effect of a change in accumulator level).

A similar situation applies for the bottom product discharge

pressure, and so both discharge pressures may be arbitrarily

specified.

The above analysis disagrees entirely iyith that of AIurrill

(1965), who concludes that Figure 5 has zero degrees of freedom. The differences in his analysis are: (a) he does not recog-

Figure

4.

m-I-,

--r

~l I !

U

s y s t e m boundary

L---_/---

Figure

there are four degrees of freedom for the present case, his

following analysis actually gives the answer five (as obtained

by Smith (1963), using Kwauks method). The answer four

is oiily obtained when q, is filed, which is a different case.

The extra degree of freedom results from overlooking a

mechanical equilibrium condition which must be satisfied

a t the point TT here the feed enters the feedplate. K h e n two

fluids mix (in a T-section, say), their pressures are equal a t

the point where they meet. Thus, if both flow rates and one

inlet pressure are specified, the inlet pressure of the other is

determined. Hence, a feed tray has (S I ) , not (h

2),

degrees of freedom more than an ordinary tray, resulting from

the addition of the extra inlet stream. This omission also

occurs in the analyses of Gillilaiid and Reed (1942) and Howard (1967). For dynamic conditions, Howard counts two

extra degrees of freedom, in agreement with Table 111.

The effect of adding a standard set of control loops will

nom be considered. Usually, five control valves are added, as

shown in Figure 4. Compared to the column in Figure 3,

Figure 4 has 13 additional boundary variables. q., qr, and the

mater and steam temperatures have been removed, but 17

boundary variables have been added in the fire valve settings,

and 4 x 3 = 12 variables in the pressure, temperature, and

flow a t inlet and outlet for the water and steam. However.

nize that the addition of the two control valves in the material balance loops increases V , by 2; (b) he concludes that the

reflux controller plus valve removes -4 degrees of freedom,

instead of zero. H e states that TRC-2 establishes a relationship between the feed composition and temperature (Ar - 1

degrees of freedom) and the inner loop FRC3 also removes

one degree of freedom.

Howard (1967) obtains AT degrees of freedom. He counts

the seven controllers as removing seven dynamic degrees of

freedom, in agreement with the present analysis, but does

not count the three extra degrees of freedom from the reflux

valve and the material balance valves. Allowing for the extra

degree of freedom counted before adding the valves aiid

controllers (from omitting the feedplate mechanical equilibrium condition), the net result is two degrees of freedom

less than the present analysis.

Conclusions

(b) adding a control loop reduces V d and V, by one, if the

set point is fixed, and if the controller actuating variable is

not an accumulation variable previously undetermined a t

steady state; if the controller actuating variable was previously undetermined a t steady-state, then the control loop

reduces Vd by 1, but leaves V , unchanged; (c) integral action

can also make a degree of freedom neutral, in some cases,

when the actuating variable !vas originally determined a t

steady state.

literature Cited

V

P_

Ynrk

~_.

l\j. Y

1964

. _

.

---Dison, D. C.Cheni. Eng. Sci. 2 5 , 337 (1970).

Forsyth, J. S.> IND.

EKG.CHEX, FCSDIM. 9, 307 (1970).

Gilliland, E. R., Reed, C. E., Znd. Eng. Chem. 34,551 (1942).

Hoffman. E. J.. Azeotrooic and Extractive Distillation.

pp 10-15, Interscience, Ke& York, N . Y., 1964.

Howard, G. AI., IKD.ENG.CHEY.,FCNDAM.

6, 86 (1967).

Kwauk, M., AI.Z.Ch.E.J . 2 , 240 (1936).

AIurrill, P. W., Hydrocarbon Process. 44, 143 (1963).

Smith, B. I)., Design of Equilibrium Stage Processes, p 84,

~

~~

From the above discussion, it is concluded that the following procedure can be used for determining the number of

degrees of freedom of a system, for both steady-state design

problems aiid control problems. (I) 1-iicontrolled system:

(a) steady-state degrees of freedom, V,, from eq 2 ; (b) dynamic degrees of freedom, Vd, from eq 4. ( 2 ) Effect of con-

RECEIVED

for review February 1, 1971

;ICCEPTI:D

November 27, 1971

a Slowly Reacting Acid

by

Department of Chemical Engineering, The C-niversity of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712

I. Harold Silberberg

Texas Petroleum Research Committee, The Vniversity of Texas, Austin, Texas ?87lS

The acid treatment of an oil well to increase its productivity i s commonly practiced; however, at the present

time there i s nc proven method to guide the design of such a process. This research examines the ability of a

previously proposed model to predict the changes in a porous matrix when invaded by a slowly reactive

fluid which dissolves a portion of the solid. The model i s shcwn to predict a relationship between the increase

in porosity and the permeability which i s not precisely unique, as it depends to some extent on the initial pore

size distribution, but for the initial distributions tested the permeabilities were found to lie in a narrow band.

These results are independent of any parameters defining the kinetics except that the reaction be slow. It i s

shown experimentally that the reaction of ferric citrate in the presence of citric acid with porous bronze disks

satisfies the condition of being a slow reaction. The permeability change of the porous bronze disks i s found

to agree closely with the theoretical predictions.

is to dissolve a portion of the oil-bearing rock with an acid,

thereby decreasing the resistance offered by the rock to the

flow of oil. About 8 i million gallons of hydrochloric acid are

used ailnually to stimulate oil viells in carbonate formations

Present address, Fluor Corporation, P.O. Box 35000, Howt,on, Tesnr.

acetic, formic, aiid other special purpose acids are also used.

The process of matris acid treatment is basically a simple

one. An acid is pumped down the wellbore of an oil well a t

rates 1Thich are slow enough to aroid fracturing the rock. The

acid invades the oil-bearing formation, displacing the resident

fluids and a t the same time dissolving a portion of the rock.

The distance that the acid penetrates depends on the flow

Ind. Eng. Chem. Fundom., Vol. 1 1 , No. 2, 1972

205

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