Method and Apparatus for the Conditioning of Flowing, Multiphase Samples
Original Publication Date: 2003-Dec-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jun-09
National Institute of Standards and Technology
The chemical analysis of process streams is a common task that must be completed thousands of times every day in the chemical industry. In refineries, at gas wells, in chemical processing plants and in fine pharmaceutical facilities, there is a continual need for the chemical analysis of products and intermediates. Less common but no less important are the many instances in which such process samples must be handled in state of the art analytical chemistry labs. Unlike many of the samples presented in the analytical laboratory, however, process streams are seldom well behaved. Very often, process streams present multiphase samples to the analytical device. In this context, multiphase means that there is a gaseous or vapor phase plus one or more liquid phases. Because of the complexities of vapor/liquid equilibrium, a multiphase (two or more phase) mixture cannot be analyzed reliably. In this disclosure, a new approach and device to conditioning such multiphase samples is taught. For our purposes, sample conditioning means that the gaseous and liquid fractions of the sample are separated into two distinct regions or streams. Moreover, the two phases are retained in the device with complete integrity. That is, they must not be changed in any way by the separation device. This approach permits the reliable analysis of both phases.