Prediction of properties is important in chemical process-product design. Reliable property models are needed for increasingly complex and wider range of chemicals. Group-contribution methods provide useful tool but there is a need to validate them and improve their accuracy when complex chemicals are present in the mixtures. In accordance with that, a combined group-contribution and atom connectivity approach that is able to extend the application range of property models has been developed for mixture properties. This so-called Group-ContributionPlus (GCPlus) approach is a hybrid model which combines group contribution and molecular descriptor theories (such as connectivity indices – CI). Connectivity indices are formalisms defined via graph theoretical concepts intended to describe the topological characteristics of molecular structures. The main idea is the use of connectivity indices to describe the molecular fragmentation that relates properties which is the molecular interactions with the molecular structures. One well known and established group-contribution method is the UNIFAC model, used to predict liquid phase activity coefficients for mixtures. The needed values of the group interaction parameters (GIPs) are obtained by fitting phase equilibrium data. There are, however many gaps in the UNIFAC parameter table due to lack of data. Alternative to performing measurements, which may not be feasible, values of the missing GIPs, can be predicted through the GCPlus approach. The predicted values for the GIPs are then used in the UNIFAC model to calculate activity coefficients. This approach can increase the application range of any “host” UNIFAC model by providing a reliable predictive model towards fast and efficient product development. This PhD project is focused on the analysis and further development of the GCPlus approach for predicting mixture properties to be called the UNIFAC-CI model. The contributions of this work include an analysis of the developed Original UNIFAC-CI model in order to investigate why the model does not perform as well as the reference UNIFAC model for some systems while performing surprisingly better than the reference model for other systems. In this analysis, it is found that by introducing more structural information to the CHO group through the valence connectivity index (CI), the correlation error involving alkanes-aldehydes system can be reduced. This work is presented in Chapter 3. Furthermore in Chapter 4, as a continuation of the analysis done for systems involving C, H and O atoms, the Original UNIFAC-CI (VLE) model has been further reused and significantly expanded by including nitrogenated, chlorinated and sulfurated systems and the involved atom interaction parameters (AIPs) have been regressed. In addition to that, another set of parameters have been generated for the Original UNIFAC-CI (VLE) model using a quality assessment algorithm, QVLE (combination of 4 VLE consistency tests) as a weighting factor for each VLE dataset in the objective function for regression of AIPs. The quality factors are useful in identifying anomalous systems which can be problematic in the parameter estimation and can produce parameters which are not accurately representing the systems used for the regression. Moreover, in Chapter 5 the Original UNIFAC-CI (VLE/SLE) model have been developed where the atom interaction parameters (AIPs) are obtained through regression against both VLE and SLE experimental data. The prediction accuracy of SLE systems using the regressed parameters has been slightly increased. Besides that, in Chapter 6, Modified (Dortmund) UNIFAC-CI has been further developed by including chlorinated and sulfurated VLE systems. Finally, in Chapter 7, the developed Original UNIFAC-CI (VLE/SLE) model has been highlighted in selected case studies involving the design of a working solution for hydrogen peroxide production and solubility investigation of pharmaceutical systems where new group have been created and their interaction parameters are predicted/fine tuned generating a master parameter table specifically for those case studies. Also, the applicability of the Original UNIFACCI model is shown for predicting phase equilibria of lipid systems, filling missing GIPs and improving prediction of azeotropic mixture. In Chapter 8, a discussion with concluding remarks and recommendation for future work are presented.
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Kontogeorgis, Georgios, Gani, Rafiqul
Technical University of Denmark, Department of Chemical Engineering, 2013