The in-situ characterization of a transesterification reaction using electrical impedance spectroscopy

Sungjin Cho, Marquette University


Impedance Spectroscopy has been used in the in-situ monitoring of a transesterfication reaction of soybean biodiesel. This paper describes the application of Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) to observe and characterize the transesterfication reaction and its interfacial behavior phenomena electrically. In particular, the dielectric properties of soybean biodiesel were measured at broad range frequencies from 10-2 to 106 Hz at different temperatures, methanol molar ratio to biodiesel, concentration of catalyst and reaction time. Measurement of dielectric property have provided an important approach to understanding the structure of matter. Measurements of the dielectric properties are a reliable and efficient method for evaluating the biodiesel production to determine their quality and yield for reducing the production cost. The dielectric constant ([varepsilon]') and loss ([varepsilon]") are the most convenient indicators for quality control in commercial biodiesel manufacturing. Dielectric properties were correlated with chemically measured changes in soybean oil such as free fatty acids, amount of catalyst and alcohols at different temperatures as well as reaction times. It was observed that there is a good correlation between the dielectric constant ([varepsilon]') and loss ([varepsilon]") in soybean biodiesel. The result indicated that the dielectric properties increased with the (1) increasing temperature (2) increasing methanol; (3) increasing catalyst; (4) increasing reaction time. Dielectric properties was a useful index for the rapid quality evaluation of soybean biodiesel. Dielectric properties were compared to conventional methods of analysis (Infrared Spectroscopy) for evaluating the quality of soybean biodiesel. The results indicated that dielectric constant and dielectric loss are essential measurement for predicting the best biodiesel yield. Moreover, the electrical impedance parameters such as bulk resistance (Rb ), bulk capacitance (Cb ) and time constant(τ b ) for different samples at various reaction conditions during transesterfication were calculated. It was found that all electrical impedance data and FTIR spectras at particular region, which is carbonyl functional group of fatty acid methyl ester, depends on temperatures, methanol molar ratio to oil, concentration of catalyst and reaction time. In particular, the time constant, τ b , decreases with an increase in temperature for all samples and its dependence follows the Arrhenius relation. Therefore, in-situ monitoring of these electrochemical characterizations are very significant to the mass production of biodiesel in the future.

Recommended Citation

Sungjin Cho, "The in-situ characterization of a transesterification reaction using electrical impedance spectroscopy" (January 1, 2009). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI3357944.