An index for operational flexibility in chemical process design. Part I: Formulation and theory



One of the key components of chemical plant operability is flexibility—the ability to operate over a range of conditions while satisfying performance specifications. A general framework for analyzing flexibility in chemical process design is presented in this paper. A quantitative index is proposed which measures the size of the parameter space over which feasible steady-state operation of the plant can be attained by proper adjustment of the control variables. The mathematical formulation of this index and a detailed study of its properties are presented. Application of the flexibility in design is illustrated with an example.