Clearing bubble blockages in micro channels using a model predictive controller Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/73666754p

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  • Micro scale systems are being utilized in a wide variety of chemical, biological and heat exchanger applications, but suffer from the development of vapor bubbles inside the microchannels due to convective boiling, leading to decreases in system performance. In this work, a simulation-based control strategy is employed to eliminate flow maldistribution in parallel microchannels. System identification techniques are utilized to produce a reduced-order, input-output model that captures the essential dynamics of the full nonlinear flow, in terms of a relationship between the valve angles and the exit flow rate for each channel. The resulting linear model is subsequently incorporated into a model predictive control scheme to identify flow maldistribution from exit flow velocities and prescribe actuation of the channel valves to clear blockages and effectively redistribute the flow. Computational fluid dynamics simulations of a microchannel geometry consisting of three channels with controllable valves was used to investigate both the predictive performance of the reduced order model as well as the ability of the controller to clear bubble disturbances. Flow simulations illustrated the effectiveness of the control design, which quickly and efficiently varied channel valves to clear a single bubble from the channel and equalize flow rates. While the controller was successful in regulating flow and dealing with single bubble disturbances, future work is required in effectively handling blockages in multiple channels simultaneously.
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