Investigation of controllability of systems with recycle - a case-study

  • Marcell Horváth
  • Zsolt Szitkai
  • Péter Mizsey


In this case-study the effects of the recycles in an ethylbenzene producing system are investigated, simulated and analysed. The studied steady-state technology contains of two recycle streams, hence serves as a good model system for our study. Recirculation is often used in chemical technologies, especially in separating techniques. Being a positive feedback, it is expected that the application of recycle streams may result in controllability problems. In this study composition control is dealt with, exclusively. Based on our simulation calculations, it is shown that applying recirculation in the studied technology can effectively lead to instability if no appropriate process control system is installed. A method is shown that enables the selection of the appropriate process control structure, which ensures constant product purity. The example systems behaviour is studied with and without recirculation in both steady-state and dynamic domains. All the reasonable composition control structures are simulated a
nd compared. Based on the steady-state results, controllability indices are calculated for the distillation columns and the best control structures are predicted. The steady-state investigations are confirmed later by dynamic simulations, and finally the best composition control scheme is selected for the entire system - based on the controllability indices.


Recycle; control; feedback; ethylbenzene; case-study; snowball effect; separation process
How to Cite
HORVÁTH, Marcell; SZITKAI, Zsolt; MIZSEY, Péter. Investigation of controllability of systems with recycle - a case-study. Periodica Polytechnica Chemical Engineering, [S.l.], v. 51, n. 2, p. 37-44, june 2007. ISSN 1587-3765. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 sep. 2017. doi: