(128d) Fluid Distribution and Blockage Diagnosis in Parallel Microchannel Configurations
AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
Tuesday, April 8, 2008 - 3:15pm to 3:40pm
It is clear from worldwide research that micro chemical process technologies offer a unique approach to the spatial and temporal control of chemical reactions. The numbering-up approach is effective at increasing the production capacity of micro chemical plants and opens up the possibility of a direct transfer from laboratory scale to production scale. However, some difficulties are left behind. One of the numbering-up problems is the flow maldistribution among microchannels and/or microdevices due to the inadequate design of micro chemical plants. The other problem is the blockage in microchannels, and it is necessary to develop a systematic method that can detect and diagnose the blockage without many miniaturized sensors. In the previous papers, several types of micro distributors have been investigated to realize the uniform flow distribution at a normal condition. However, such distributors are hardly suitable for fault detection and diagnosis, since many sensors have to be installed in the parallel microchannels to monitor changes in the process conditions. This work is intended to develop a new distributor which makes the fluid distribution uniform and realizes the fault diagnosis based on a limited number of sensors. In addition, a blockage diagnosis procedure that isolates the blocked microchannel from the parallel microchannels is proposed. Upon examination with both of experiments and numerical simulations, it is concluded that the proposed distributor and diagnosis procedure can realize the stable long-term operation of micro chemical plants with numbering-up structures.