Multiscale Modeling and Uncertainty Quantification of Multiphase Flow and Mass Transfer Processes

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

Most engineering systems have some degree of uncertainty in their input and operating parameters. The interaction of these parameters leads to the uncertain nature of the system performance and outputs. In order to quantify this uncertainty in a computational model, it is necessary to include the full range of uncertainty in the model. Currently, there are two major technical barriers to achieving this: (1) in many situations -particularly those involving multiscale phenomena-the stochastic nature of input parameters is not well defined, and is usually approximated by limited experimental data or heuristics; (2) incorporating the full range of uncertainty across all uncertain input and operating parameters via conventional techniques often results in an inordinate number of computational scenarios to be performed, thereby limiting uncertainty analysis to simple or approximate computational models.

This first objective is addressed through combining molecular and macroscale modeling where the molecular modeling is used to quantify the stochastic distribution of parameters that are typically approximated. Specifically, an adsorption separation process is used to demonstrate this computational technique. In this demonstration, stochastic molecular modeling results are validated against a diverse range of experimental data sets. The stochastic molecular-level results are then shown to have a significant role on the macro-scale performance of adsorption systems.

The second portion of this research is focused on reducing the computational burden of performing an uncertainty analysis on practical engineering systems. The state of the art for uncertainty analysis relies on the construction of a meta-model (also known as a surrogate model or reduced order model) which can then be sampled stochastically at a relatively minimal computational burden. Unfortunately these meta-models can be very computationally expensive to construct, and the complexity of construction can scale exponentially with the number of relevant uncertain input parameters. In an effort to dramatically reduce this effort, a novel methodology "QUICKER (Quantifying Uncertainty In Computational Knowledge Engineering Rapidly)" has been developed. Instead of building a meta-model, QUICKER focuses exclusively on the output distributions, which are always one-dimensional. By focusing on one-dimensional distributions instead of the multiple dimensions analyzed via meta-models, QUICKER is able to handle systems with far more uncertain inputs.

Multiphase Transport Phenomena, Adsorption Separation, Multiscale Modeling, Molecular Modeling, Uncertainty Quantification