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Title: Systematic methods for solvent design : towards better reactive processes
Author: Siougkrou, Eirini
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 6142
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2014
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The focus of this thesis is the development of novel methodologies for systematic identification of optimal solvents for chemical reactions. Two aspects are considered: the integrated solvent and process design using a mixed solvent, and the design of an optimal solvent using ab initio methods that do not rely on experimental data. A methodology is developed for the integrated design of a CO2-expanded solvent in a reaction process. Posing as objective function the cost of the process, for a defined production rate, an optimisation problem is formulated, with decision variables that include the organic co-solvent, the composition and the mass of the mixed solvent. Emphasis is placed on the prediction of the reaction rate, for which the solvatochromic equation combined with a preferential solvation model are used, and on solid-vapour-liquid phase equilibrium, for which the group-contribution volume translated Peng-Robinson equation of state is used. The proposed methodology is applied to the Diels-Alder reaction of anthracene and 4-phenyl-1,2,4-triazoline-3,5-dione (PTAD), and three CO2-expanded solvents are considered (acetone, acetonitrile and methanol). Acetonitrile and acetone are found to offer good performance over a range of CO2 concentrations. The importance of taking into account multiple process performance indicators, when designing gas-expanded liquids, is highlighted. As a further step toward systematic solvent design approaches that are not limited by the availability of experimental data and consider a large number of candidate solvents, an ab initio methodology is developed for the design of optimal solvents for reactions. The developed method combines quantum mechanical calculations with a computer-aided molecular design formulation. In order to limit the number of QM calculations but also retain accuracy and ensure convergence, the Kriging approach is used. Kriging is a response surface approach, which has recently attracted a lot of attention because it is an exact extrapolator with a statistical interpretation which makes it stand out from other methods. The proposed approach is used successfully to identify promising solvents for the Menschutkin reaction of phenacyl bromide and pyridine and the Cope elimination of methylamine oxide. The use of Kriging as the surrogate model is found to lead to improved solvents when compared to the simpler solvatochromic equation used in previous work.
Supervisor: Adjiman, Claire ; Galindo, Amparo Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available