The plant instrument engineer has always one major problem. How can a useful analytical technique or instrument be transferred from the laboratory and made to operate under plant conditions? In this respect, the use of infrared absorption has been an especially tantalizing problem, in that, while its value as a quantitative analytical tool has been firmly established, even the most rugged and stable of infrared spectrometers is not generally suitable for installation in the process streams of an industrial plant. Other factors working against their use as continuous control instruments are their relatively high cost and the fact that, in complex mixtures, overlapping absorption bands may necessitate some mathematical computation.
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