Modeling of a batch emulsion copolymerization reactor in the presence of a chain transfer agent: estimability analysis, parameters identification and experimental validation

This paper deals with estimability analysis, parameter identification and experimental validation of a model developed for a batch reactor where the emulsion copolymerization of styrene and butyl acrylate in the presence of n-dodecyl mercaptan as a chain transfer agent takes place. Accurate estimation of the model parameters is required to obtain reliable predictions of the products end-use properties. However, due to the mathematical model structure and topossible lack of measurements, the estimation of some parameters may be impossible. The main limitations to the parameters estimability are their weak effecton the measured outputs andt he correlation between these effects. The objective of the method developed in this paper is to determine the subset of the most influencing parameters that can be estimated from the available experimental data when the complete set of model parameters cannot be estimated. In the case study, it was shown that only 21 parametersout ofthe 49involved in the model were estimable. The values of the remaining 28 non estimable parameters were taken either from previous studies or from literature. Moreover a new method has been developed to determine the confidence domain for the set of estimable and identified parameters.