From Clear to Pure: Chemical and Color Analysis in the Petrochemical Industry

Chemical analysis is an intricate part of our everyday lives. From the water we drink to the food we eat to the fuel we put into our car, nearly everything we consume has undergone some form of chemical analysis before use. Although it’s likely not something we consider as we go about our daily activities, it’s a vital aspect of the production process for many things and something we all rely upon for quality assurance.

Petrochemical manufacturers know that chemical analysis is one of the most important steps in the monitoring of chemical compounds in the petroleum refining process. It is also one of the most unique and difficult processes to quantify and analyze. The ability to detect color changes is an important step in the process for identifying contaminants and impurities. With the right technology, the challenges of chemical analysis can be met.

color analysis
Clear liquids are classified based on visual comparison.

Applications of Color Measurement in Petrochemicals

Petrochemical production results in a number of goods and materials that are dependent on accurate chemical analysis. From crude oil to the most refined petrochemical products, the manufacturing process relies on color technology to help with interpreting data, differentiation, and classifying petrochemical compounds. Petrochemical materials cover a wide range of products such as solvents, adhesives, plastics, resins, fibers, elastomers, lubricants, and gels. Each compound can vary from transparent to translucent to opaque, and accurate measurement is contingent upon the highest quality of instrumentation to measure transmittance or reflective materials.

The products that result from petrochemicals are numerous and varied.
Image Source: Flickr user snowlepard

The petrochemical industry has greatly benefited from the use of color technology and spectrophotometers, and the ability to detect color changes throughout the refining process is an important step in identifying possible contamination. The ability to recognize even the slightest changes throughout processing helps to alleviate any impurities that may affect the quality of the final product. Detecting changes is crucial in monitoring and identifying any needs for re-distillation throughout the refining process.

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ASTM International has created standards to be used in the evaluation of the petrochemical properties. Testing is imperative for determining purity and compatibility with other fluids and materials, toxicity, and thermal stability. Advanced color measurement instrumentation is necessary to examine petrochemicals and ensure their quality towards safe and efficient use.

Color analysis is an important part of product monitoring and quality control in all areas of petrochemical manufacturing. Transmittance and reflectance mode technology are used for quantifying color measurements and maintaining product quality in even the final stages of production. When choosing the right color measurement equipment, it is important to use the most up-to-date technology for performance, consistency, and quality.

color analysis
Samples can vary in color and consistency. When choosing a color-measurement method, versatility and dependability are essential.

Choosing chemical and color analysis equipment

Choosing the right equipment for color measurement to ensure color consistency and quality should be both simple and economical. The nature of petrochemical products varies from transparent to translucent  and even to opaque, so it is important to find the  proper instrumentation that best suits the purpose. Transmittance instruments are ideal for transparent or translucent materials, but choosing a tool that measures in both transmittance and reflectance mode may be a more versatile option when working with opaque products samples as well. Spectrophotometer manufacturers must provide rugged and dependable equipment, and have long-standing industry relations to understand and meet the various demands.

Whether your chemical analysis needs revolve around standard petroleum production and refining or advanced production and product control, reliable instrumentation is a necessity for quality color analysis. Science and technology in chemical analysis continues to advance through the use of spectrophotometers. That is why it is important to weigh your instrumentation options carefully and choose a product that is backed by industry standards and experience. HunterLab has been working in chemical analysis and color measurement for over 60 years and is a leader in spectrophotometer technology. Visit HunterLab today to see how we can meet your chemical analysis needs.

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