Thermodynamics of complex systems (e.g. with associating molecules, multicomponent mixtures, multiphase equilibria, wide ranges of conditions, estimation of many different properties simultaneously) is a topic of great importance in chemical engineering and for a wide range of industrial applications. While specialized models can handle different cases, even complex ones, with the advent of powerful theories and computers there is the hope that a single or a few models could be suitable for a general modeling of complex thermodynamics. After more than 100 years with active use of thermodynamic models, we have now come to the understanding that simple one-fluid theories like the cubic equations of state or the various forms of local composition models will never be able to model a wide range of complex systems with sufficient accuracy. While various modern approaches have appeared, one very promising direction for a general and useful for engineering purposes modeling of complex thermodynamics is via the use of association theories e.g. those based on chemical theory (like APACT), or on the lattice theory (like NRHB) or those based on perturbation theory (like SAFT and CPA). The purpose of this review is two-fold: first to illustrate some of the significant capabilities of these association theories and why indeed they have already been extensively used and are expected to find even more applications in the future. The second and most important aspect of this review is to outline many of the non-answered questions about these association theories, provide answers to some of these questions and limitations based on recent research and highlight areas where further research is needed.
Chemical Engineering Research and Design, 2013, Vol 91, Issue 10, p. 1840-1858
Thermodynamics; Equations of state; SAFT; CPA; Association models; Phase equilibria