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The Composition Explicit Distillation Curve Technique: Relating Chemical Analysis and Physical Properties of Complex Fluids



Thomas J. Bruno, Lisa S. Ott, Tara M. Lovestead, Marcia L. Huber


The analysis of complex fluids such as crude oils, fuels, vegetable oils and mixed waste streams poses significant challenges arising primarily from the multiplicity of components, the different properties of the components (polarity, polarizability, etc) and matrix properties. We have recently introduced an analytical strategy that simplifies many of these analyses, and provides the added potential of linking compositional information with physical property information. This aspect can be used to facilitate equation of state development for the complex fluids. In addition to chemical characterization, the approach provides the ability to calculate thermodynamic properties for such complex heterogeneous streams. The technique is based on the advanced distillation curve (ADC) metrology, which separates a complex fluid by distillation into fractions that are sampled, and for which thermodynamically consistent temperatures are measured at atmospheric pressure. The collected sample fractions can be analyzed by any method that is appropriate. The analytical methods we have applied include gas chromatography (with flame ionization, mass spectrometric and sulfur chemiluminescence detection), thin layer chromatography, FTIR, corrosivity analysis, neutron activation analysis and cold neutron prompt gamma activation analysis. By far, the most widely used analytical technique we have used with the ADC is gas chromatography. This has enabled us to study finished fuels (gasoline, diesel fuels, aviation fuels, rocket propellants), crude oils (including a crude oil made from swine manure) and waste oils streams (used automotive and transformer oils). In this special issue of the Journal of Chromatography, specifically dedicated to extraction technologies, we describe the essential features of the advanced distillation curve metrology as an analytical strategy for complex fluids.
Journal of Chromatography


Distillation curve, chemical analysis, enthalpy of combustion, petroleomics, trace analysis


Bruno, T. , Ott, L. , Lovestead, T. and Huber, M. (2009), The Composition Explicit Distillation Curve Technique: Relating Chemical Analysis and Physical Properties of Complex Fluids, Journal of Chromatography, [online], (Accessed June 13, 2024)


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Created November 17, 2009, Updated June 2, 2021