In-Situ Characterization of 1-Hexene Concentration with a Helium-Neon Laser in the presence of a Solid Catalyst

Keywords: HeNe laser, in-situ measurements, 1-hexene, heterogeneous catalyst, Computational Fluid Dynamics


This study provides evidence that a helium-neon (He-Ne) laser operating in the Mid-infrared (MIR) at a wavelength of 3.39 μm can detect variations in 1-hexene concentration in the presence of a solid catalyst. The in-situ and online characterization of the concentration of 1-hexene, as an example of a hydrocarbon, is relevant to enhance the current understanding of the interaction between hydrodynamics and chemistry in different heterogeneous catalytic processes. We designed and built a laboratory-scale downer unit that enabled us to analyze heterogeneous catalytic reactions and provided optical access. The lab-scale reactor was 180-cm long, had an internal diameter of 1.3 cm, and was made of fused quartz to allow the passage of the laser beam. 1-hexene was carefully measured, vaporized, and fed into the reactor through two inlets located at an angle of 45 degrees from the vertical descendent flow and 70 cm below the input of a solid catalyst and a purge flow entraining N2. A system of five heaters, which can be moved in the vertical direction to allow the passage of the laser beam, guaranteed temperatures up to 823 K. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations of the hydrodynamics of the system indicated that a uniform temperature profile in the reaction section was reached after the catalyst and the feed mixed. The estimated catalyst to oil ratio and time on stream in the experiments were, respectively, 0.4 to 1.3 and 2 s. After a correction for laser power drift, the experimental results showed a linear response of the fractional transmission to the 1-hexene concentration that was independent of temperature in the 373 K–673 K range. Even in the presence of a catalyst, the absorption of 1-hexene at the MIR frequency of the laser was high enough to enable the detection of 1-hexene since the fractional absorption of the absorbing path length in these experiments was close to zero (0.013 m) and the 1-hexene concentrations were higher than 1.254 × 10-5 mol/cm3. This result demonstrated the ability of the laser system to measure the concentration of 1-hexene in the presence of a catalyst and indicates that it can be used to better decouple hydrodynamics from kinetics in heterogeneous catalytic processes.

Author Biographies

Juan Guillermo Lacayo, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

MSc en Ingeniería Química, Grupo de investigación Bioprocesos y Flujos reactivos, Facultad de Minas, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellín- Colombia,

Sebastian López, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

MSc en Ingeniería Química. Grupo de investigación Bioprocesos y Flujos reactivos, Facultad de Minas, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellín- Colombia,

David Soto , Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

MSc en Ingeniería Química, Grupo de investigación Bioprocesos y Flujos reactivos, Facultad de Minas, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellín- Colombia,

Alejandro Molina*, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

PhD. en Ingeniería Grupo de investigación Bioprocesos y Flujos reactivos, Facultad de Minas, Universidad Nacional de Colombia Medellín-Colombia,


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How to Cite
Lacayo, J. G., López, S., Soto , D., & Molina, A. (2020). In-Situ Characterization of 1-Hexene Concentration with a Helium-Neon Laser in the presence of a Solid Catalyst. TecnoLógicas, 23(48), 233-248.


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