Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name



Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

First Advisor

Yinlun Huang


Increasing concern with the environmental impact resulted from human activities has led to a rising interest in sustainable development that will not only meet the needs of current development but also protect the natural environment without compromising the needs of future generations. This leads to the necessity of a systems approach to decision-making in which economic, environmental and social factors are integrated together to ensure the triple bottom lines of sustainability. Although current studies provide a variety of different methodologies to address sustainability assessment and decision-making, the increasing size and complexity of industrial systems results in the necessity to develop more comprehensive systems approaches to ensure the sustainable development over a long time period for industrial systems. What's more, current research may conduct results based on one or only a few stages of the manufacturing process without considering all the stages of a product’s life. Therefore, the results could be bias and sometimes not feasible for the whole life-cycle. In the meanwhile, life cycle analysis (LCA) which has been widely adopted in a variety of industries does provide an effective approach to evaluate the environmental impact. The lack of life-cycle based economic and social sustainability assessment results in the difficult to conduct more comprehensive sustainability assessment.

To address these challenges, three fundamental frameworks are developed in this dissertation, that is, life cycle based sustainability assessment (LCBSA) framework, life cycle based decision-making (LCBDM) framework, and fuzzy dynamic programming (FDP) based long-term multistage sustainable development framework. LCBSA can offer a profound insight of status quo of the sustainability performance over the whole life cycle. LCSA is then applied to assess the industrial system of automotive coating manufacturing process from raw material extraction, material manufacturing, product manufacturing to the recycle and disposal stage. The following LCBDM framework could then prioritize the sustainability improvement urgency and achieve comprehensive sustainable development by employing a two-phase decision-making methodology. In addition, FDP based long-term multistage sustainable development framework offers a comprehensive way to ascertain the achievement of long time sustainable development goal of complex and dynamic industrial systems by combining decision-making and sustainability assessment together.