The first part of this paper reviews of the most important aspects regarding the use of neural networks in the polymerization reaction engineering. Then, direct and inverse neural network modeling of the batch, bulk free radical polymerization of methyl methacrylate is performed. To obtain monomer conversion, number and weight average molecular weights, and mass reaction viscosity, separate neural networks and, a network with multiple outputs were built (direct neural network modeling). The inverse neural network modeling gives the reaction conditions (temperature and initial initiator concentration) that assure certain values of conversion and polymerization degree at the end of the reaction. Each network is a multi-layer perceptron with one or two hidden layers and a different number of hidden neurons. The best topology correlates with the smallest error at the end of the training phase. The possibility of obtaining accurate results is demonstrated with a relatively simple architecture of the networks. Two types of neural network modeling, direct and inverse, represent possible alternatives to classical procedures of modeling and optimization, each producing accurate results and having simple methodologies.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.