Control Volume#


Control volumes serve as the fundamental building block of all unit operations. Control Volumes represent a single, well-defined volume of material over which material, energy and/or momentum balances will be performed.

The IDAES ControlVolume classes are designed to facilitate the construction of these balance equations by providing the model developer with a set of pre-built methods to perform the most common tasks in developing models of unit operations. The ControlVolume classes contain methods for creating and linking the necessary property calculations and writing common forms of the balance equations so that the model developer can focus their time on the aspects that make each unit model unique.

The IDAES process modeling framework currently supports two types of ControlVolumes:

  • ControlVolume0DBlock represents a single well-mixed volume of material with a single inlet and a single outlet. This type of control volume is sufficient to model most inlet-outlet type unit operations which do not require spatial discretization.

  • ControlVolume1DBlock represents a volume with spatial variation in one dimension parallel to the material flow. This type of control volume is useful for representing flow in pipes and simple 1D flow reactors.

Common Control Volume Tasks#

All of the IDAES ControlVolume classes are built on a common core ControlVolumeBlockData which defines a set of common tasks required for all Control Volumes. The more specific ControlVolume classes then build upon these common tasks to provide tools appropriate for their specific application.

All ControlVolume classes begin with the following tasks:

  • Determine if the ControlVolume should be steady-state or dynamic.

  • Get the time domain.

  • Determine whether material and energy holdups should be calculated.

  • Collect information necessary for creating StateBlocks and ReactionBlocks.

  • Create references to phase_list and component_list Sets in the PhysicalParameterBlock

Setting up the time domain#

The first common task the ControlVolumeBlock performs is to determine if it should be dynamic or steady-state and to collect the time domain from the UnitModel. ControlVolumeBlocks have an argument dynamic which can be provided during construction which specifies if the Control Volume should be dynamic (dynamic=True) or steady-state (dynamic=False). If the argument is not provided, the ControlVolumeBlock will inherit this argument from its parent Unit model.

Finally, the ControlVolume checks that the has_holdup argument is consistent with the dynamic argument, and raises a ConfigurationError if it is not.

Getting Property Package Information#

If a reference to a property package was not provided by the UnitModel as an argument, the Control Volume first checks to see if the unit model has a property_package argument set, and uses this if present. Otherwise, the ControlVolumeBlock begins searching up the model tree looking for an argument named default_property_package and uses the first of these that it finds. If no default_property_package is found, a ConfigurationError is returned.

Collecting Indexing Sets for Property Package#

The final common step for all ControlVolumes is to collect any required indexing sets from the physical property package (for example component and phase lists). These are used by the Control Volume for determining what balance equations need to be written, and what terms to create.

The indexing sets the ControlVolume looks for are:

  • component_list - used to determine what components are present, and thus what material balances are required

  • phase_list - used to determine what phases are present, and thus what balance equations are required

ControlVolume and ControlVolumeBlockData Classes#

A key purpose of ControlVolumes is to automate as much of the task of writing a unit model as possible. For this purpose, ControlVolumes support a number of methods for common tasks model developers may want to perform. The specifics of these methods will be different between different types of ControlVolumes, and certain methods may not be applicable to some types of Control Volumes (in which case a NotImplementedError will be returned). A full list of potential methods is provided here, however users should check the documentation for the specific Control Volume they are using for more details on what methods are supported in that specific Control Volume.

A key feature of the IDAES Core Modeling Framework is the use of ControlVolumeBlocks. ControlVolumes represent a volume of material over which material, energy and/or momentum balances can be performed. ControlVolumeBlocks contain methods to automate the task of writing common forms of these balance equations. ControlVolumeBlocks can also automate the creation of StateBlocks and ReactionBlocks associated with the control volume.