A formal representation of assumptions in process modelling

K. M. Hangos, I. T. Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, we present a systematic approach to the representation of modelling assumptions. Modelling assumptions form the fundamental basis for the mathematical description of a process system. These assumptions can be translated into either additional mathematical relationships or constraints between model variables, equations, balance volumes or parameters. In order to analyse the effect of modelling assumptions in a formal, rigorous way, a syntax of modelling assumptions has been defined. The smallest indivisible syntactical element, the so called assumption atom has been identified as a triplet. With this syntax a modelling assumption can be described as an elementary assumption, i.e. an assumption consisting of only an assumption atom or a composite assumption consisting of a conjunction of elementary assumptions. The above syntax of modelling assumptions enables us to represent modelling assumptions as transformations acting on the set of model equations. The notion of syntactical correctness and semantical consistency of sets of modelling assumptions is defined and necessary conditions for checking them are given. These transformations can be used in several ways and their implications can be analysed by formal methods. The modelling assumptions define model hierarchies. That is, a series of model families each belonging to a particular equivalence class. These model equivalence classes can be related to primal assumptions regarding the definition of mass, energy and momentum balance volumes and to secondary and tiertinary assumptions regarding the presence or absence and the form of mechanisms within the system. Within equivalence classes, there are many model members, these being related to algebraic model transformations for the particular model. We show how these model hierarchies are driven by the underlying assumption structure and indicate some implications on system dynamics and complexity issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-255
Number of pages19
JournalComputers and Chemical Engineering
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Computer Science Applications

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