Comprehensive experimental design for chemical engineering processes: a two-layer iterative design approach

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A systematic framework for optimal experimental design (OED) of multiple experimental factors is proposed to support data collection in chemical engineering systems with the purpose to obtain the most informative data for modeling. The structural identifiability is firstly investigated through a combined procedure with the generating series method and the identifiability tableau. Next the parameter estimability is analyzed via the orthogonalized sensitivity analysis in order to identify crucial and identifiable model parameters. Traditionally OED treats separate problems such as the choice of input conditions, the selection of variables to measure, and the design of sampling time profile. A new OED strategy is proposed that optimizes these interdependent factors in one framework. An iterative two-layer design structure is developed. In the lower layer for observation design, the sampling profile and the measurement set selection are combined and formulated as a single integrated observation design problem, which is relaxed to a convex optimization problem that can be solved with a local method. Thus the measurement set selection and the sampling profile can be determined simultaneously. In the upper layer for input design, the optimization of input intensities is obtained through stochastic global searching. In this way, the multi-factor optimization problem is solved through the integration of a stochastic method, for the upper layer, and a deterministic method, for the lower layer. Case studies are conducted on two biochemical systems with different complexities, one is an enzyme kinetically controlled synthesis system and the other one is a lab-scale enzymatic biodiesel production system. Numerical results demonstrate the effectiveness of this double-layer OED optimization strategy in reducing parameter estimation uncertainties compared with conventional approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-153
Number of pages19
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Early online date25 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018


  • optimal experimental design (OED)
  • multi-factor optimization
  • input conditions
  • sampling time profile
  • measurement set selection
  • chemical reaction systems


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