Graph-theoretic approach to process synthesis: Polynomial algorithm for maximal structure generation

F. Friedler, K. Tarjan, Y. W. Huang, L. T. Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

211 Citations (Scopus)


The maximal structure, which can be expressed as a process graph (P-graph), is the union of all combinatorially feasible process structures of a synthesis problem. This is analogous to the conventionally used term "superstructure" which has not yet been defined mathematically, and thus, cannot be analyzed mathematically. Since a mathematical programming method of process synthesis requires a mathematical model, as its input, based on the super or maximal structure, generating this structure is a problem of fundamental importance. Algorithm MSG, presented here, appears to be the first published algorithm for generation of the maximal structure. This algorithm is efficient because its complexity is polynomial. It is, therefore, advantageous for solving large industrial process synthesis problems. The mathematical basis of maximal structure, the proof of all statements and validation of algorithm MSG are also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)929-942
Number of pages14
JournalComputers and Chemical Engineering
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Computer Science Applications

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