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Relating Complex Fluid Composition and Thermophysical Properties with the Advanced Distillation Curve Approach



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


Complex fluids have long posed a significant challenge in our ability to characterize and model fluid properties. Here, we consider complex fluids to be mixtures with many components that can differ significantly in polarity and polarizability. The penultimate complex fluid is crude oil, although many other fluids such as finished fuels are also highly complex. Indeed, the new field of petroleomics desires to relate the detailed chemical composition profile of fossil fuels with their properties. We have recently introduced a measurement strategy that can simplify these efforts, and provide the added potential of linking chemical composition (that is, analytical) information with physical property information. This 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 and transport 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, Karl Fischer coulombic titrimetry, refractometry, corrosivity analysis, neutron activation analysis and cold neutron prompt gamma activation analysis. We have applied this method on product streams such as 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 review, we describe the essential features of the advanced distillation curve metrology will illustrative examples.
Chemical Engineering & Technology


Distillation curve, chemical analysis, equation of state, petroleomics


Bruno, T. , Ott, L. , Lovestead, T. and Huber, M. (2010), Relating Complex Fluid Composition and Thermophysical Properties with the Advanced Distillation Curve Approach, Chemical Engineering & Technology, [online], (Accessed July 17, 2024)


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Created March 17, 2010, Updated June 2, 2021