An Autonomous Artificial Designer of Thermal Energy Systems: Part 1—Theoretical Considerations

[+] Author and Article Information
A. S. Kott, C. C. Hwang

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261

J. H. May

AIM Laboratory, Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 111(4), 728-733 (Oct 01, 1989) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3240319 History: Received January 19, 1988; Online October 15, 2009


A knowledge-based approach to automated conceptual design (flowsheet synthesis) of thermal energy systems with strong interactions between heat/power/chemical transformations is presented. The approach is based on a computer-oriented state-space search guided by specially developed heuristics, and makes use of Second Law (exergetic) analysis, rather than mimicking the strategy of a human designer. The original design problem, formulated in terms of an equipment units network, is decomposed and reduced to a level of a network of elementary processes, with a resulting reduction in the search space. A special form of fundamental equations for steady-state open thermodynamic systems, based on a “temperature interval” approach, allows one to determine the effects of work, heat and chemical interactions within the system on the magnitude of Second-Law infeasibility, and on the overall exergy loss over any particular temperature interval, prior to the completion of the design. Based on this treatment, a set of generalized transforming operators, a plausible move generator, and a state evaluation function are formulated. The search algorithm is discussed in detail.

Copyright © 1989 by ASME
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