Competitive economic conditions have compelled the manufacturing industries in most industrialized countries to pursue improved economic margins through the production of low volume, higher-value-added specialty chemicals and materials, such as advanced alloys, polymers, herbicides, insecticides, pharmaceuticals, and biochemicals, that are manufactured predominantly in batch processes. Moreover, startups and shutdowns (that are batch-like processes) are an integral constituent of almost every process operation. The operation of these processes, however, has to grapple with several challenges, such as the lack of online sensors for measuring critical process variables, the finite duration of the process operation, the presence of significant nonlinear dynamics (due to a predominantly transient operation), and rejecting raw material variability. Modeling and control of these batch and batch-like processes are therefore essential to ensure their safe and reliable function, and to guarantee that they produce consistent and high-quality products or, in the case of startup operation, transit smoothly to continuous operation. Batch process operation, however, differs from operation around equilibrium points, both in the model identification aspects and in the control design. Motivated by the above, this book presents batch-specific modeling and control approaches along with their application to nonlinear process systems. The present chapter provides background information and lays out the structure of the remainder of the book.
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