The objective of this work was to examine the application of various multivariate methods to determine the composition of a flowing, molten, immiscible, polyethylene-polypropylene blend from near-infrared spectra. These spectra were acquired during processing by monitoring the melt with a fiber-optic-assisted in-line spectrometer. Undesired differences in spectra obtained from identical compositions were attributed to additive and multiplicative light scattering effects. Duplicate blend composition data were obtained over a range of 0 to 100% polyethylene. On the basis of previously published approaches, three data preprocessing methods were investigated: second derivative of absorbance with respect to wavelength (d2), multiplicative scatter correction (MSC), and a combination consisting of MSC followed by d2. The latter method was shown to substantially improve superposition of spectra and principal component analysis (PCA) scores. Also, fewer latent variables were required. The continuum regression (CR) approach, a method that encompasses ordinary least squares (OLS), partial least squares (PLS), and principle component regression (PCR) models, was then implemented and provided the best prediction model as one based on characteristics between those of PLS and OLS models.
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