An interactive design environment for coal piping system
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The design of coal piping system of a coal-fired power plant is a complex and time-consuming engineering task that involves meeting of several design objectives and constraints. The distribution of coal particles in a pneumatic pipeline can be highly inhomogeneous. Current coal piping design technology relies on empirical model and does not consider particle distribution characteristics in the pipe. In this thesis, a design tool which couples a validated detailed pipe model and an interactive optimization algorithm is developed. This new design tool uses evolutionary algorithms (EAs) as the optimization algorithm, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) as the evaluation mechanism. The process uses an iterative approach that allows design to be evaluated using CFD analysis automatically to optimize several criteria. The proposed design change is then re-meshed and displayed. Three fundamentally different techniques from traditional optimization methods were considered in order to reduce computation time. Firstly, the tool has been implemented in a virtual engineering environment using VE-Suite. Secondly, the system is integrated with a general interface to allow users to set up the design procedure and interact or guide the searching path as the design evolves. Thirdly, a fast calculation approach is used to reduce the time for single CFD case. The proposed interactive design tool is analyzed and enhanced so that it is usable by the general engineering community. A real coal pipe application was carried out using this design tool. The main objective is to distribute coal flow to its two branches as uniform as possible. The results of this work suggested that the optimum coal pipe can be found relatively fast even when using high-fidelity CFD solver as the analysis method, and the optimum pipe can greatly reduce the coal flow unbalance. This indicates that the tool presented in this thesis can be used as a new and efficient design environment for coal pipe.