Simple automatic device for real time sampling of gas production by a reactor

Frattolillo, A.
June 2006
Review of Scientific Instruments;Jun2006, Vol. 77 Issue 6, p065108
Academic Journal
An innovative automatic device, allowing periodically drawing samples of the gases produced by a generic reactor, is presented. The gases evolving during the reaction are collected in a storage manifold, equipped with a variable volume consisting of a stainless steel bellow, whose expansion or contraction is driven by a linear step motor. A capacitive gauge monitors the pressure inside the storage manifold, while a feedback control loop reacts to any pressure change adjusting the variable volume (by means of the step motor) in such a way to keep the pressure at a desired set point P0. As long as the reaction proceeds, the gas production results in a progressive expansion of the variable volume, whose instantaneous value is constantly monitored by means of a slide potentiometer, whose lever is rigidly connected to the bellow’s moving extremity. Once the bellow’s expansion has reached a predetermined volume increment ΔV, which means that an amount of gas P0ΔV has been produced and collected in the storage circuit, a quantity P0VS<=P0ΔV of gas is released to the analysis system. A set of electropneumatic valves, automatically operated by the control system, allows for gas delivery to the analysis equipment and retrieval of the set point pressure, by compression of the variable volume, with no influence on the reaction. All relevant parameters are monitored and logged on a personal computer. The control and data acquisition software, made out using National Instrument LABVIEW™, also provides control of the analysis equipment. The ability of the proposed setup to not affect the ongoing process allows real time monitoring (by drawing samples at regular time intervals during the reaction) of the gas production. Moreover, since the amount of gas P0VS drawn at each sampling is always the same, it is possible to establish at a glance whether or not there are changes in the concentration of any component, by directly comparing the results of the analysis of successive samples.


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