In the eastern part of the Netherlands, there is a layer of
rock-salt at great depth underneath the soil which is exploited for
commercial purposes. Two pipes are used to get the salt out of the
soil. With one pipe water is pumped into the layer of rock-salt,
thereby dissolving the salt. The solution of the salt in the water
is called brine. The brine comes up to the surface through the other
pipe. At the surface salt is gathered by reducing the brine by means
of an evaporation process. However, the brine contains a number of
contaminations which are removed before the start of the evaporation
The process in which the contaminations are removed from the brine
is called the brine purification process. De Niet developed a
dynamic mathematical model of the brine purification process as part
of his research. The prototype BRINE PURIFICATION is an educational
application, based on his model.
The brine purification process is a relatively slow developing
process. Usually it takes several hours before the consequences of
an intervention in the installation can be observed (e.g. changing
the flow of one of the components introduced in the process). For
this reason it is hard to get a clear idea of the reactions of the
process in on-the-job-training, because meanwhile the team of
operators making the intervention may be replaced by another team.
Furthermore other disturbances may have occurred, causing the
operators to make new interventions. For this reason it is hard to
study the influence of an intervention independently.
The educational simulation, which proceeds with a speed of
approximately 1000 times real time, enables the operators to get a
quick, direct response to their actions. Furthermore, disturbing
factors can be studied independently. For this reason operators may
get a better understanding of the processes in the brine
purification installation when they are able to experiment with the
educational simulation program.