Proper operation of a molecular sieve process for the separation of iso- and cyclo-alkanes from normal alkanes requires the fast online detection of normal alkanes breaking through the column. The feasibility of using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy for this application was investigated. Alkane mixtures were prepared according to an experim ental design. These mixtures, containing small amounts of normal alkanes (C5-C7) and varying amounts of isoand cyclo-alkanes (seven compounds), were analyzed simultaneously at 160C with the use of NIR spectroscopy and gas chromatography as a reference method. With an analysis time of 9s, a critical level of 0.4% [mole/mole] of normal alkanes could be achieved. If a faster response is required, the analysis time can be reduced to 4s, at the cost, however, of an increase in the critical level to about 1% [mole/mole]. Index Headings: On-line NIR spectroscopy; Calibration; Quantitative analysis; Normal alkanes; Critical level.

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