The aim of the study described in this thesis is to
investigate the application of expert system technology
to acrylic fibre production, with a particular emphasis
on knowledge acquisition requirements. In doing so, it is
intended to provide an understanding of the requirements
and appropriate techniques for the effective application
of expert systems in the process industries;
The scope of the study is limited to process fault administration which involves detecting, diagnosing arid
correcting abnormalities in process operation.
A methodology is provided for the systematic development
of expert systems within the defined area of application.
An important phase in the development methodology is that
of expert system specification. This involves an analysis
of expert behaviour and the specification of expert
system functionality: In order to assist system
specification, generic knowledge types and human expert
activities have been identified within the context of
process fault administration.
Knowledge acquisition is discussed in terms of the
requirements during each phase of the proposed
development methodology. A detailed review is given of
the available techniques for knowledge acquisition and an
assessment is presented of the most appropriate
techniques to apply during each phase of the methodology. A new knowledge acquisition technique is described. The
technique is designed to record knowledge of process
operation and process fault diagnosis. It is based on a
hierarchical decomposition of the process in terms of
process objectives. Two complementary forms of knowledge
representation are produced: a hierarchy diagram which shows the dependency relationships between individual
process objectives and a task statement table which
provides a more. detailed explanation of the objectives.
Finally, three. case studies are described in which the
techniques described in the thesis were applied and developed.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.