Using Carbon Nanotubes in Separating Middle Distillate Fuels



Boni, Katharine A

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This thesis describes a novel purification technique using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as a filtering medium for a middle distillate fuel, Spanish fuel No. 2, for the removal of nitrogen-containing compounds. Two extracts were used, dichloromethane (DCM) and methanol (MeOH), after filtering the fuel through the CNTs, to determine the compounds that were captured. The compounds from the extracts were identified via gas chromatography-mass spectrum analysis (GC/MS). The extracts were compared for both their nitrogen content distribution and their hydrocarbon content distribution. In the DCM extract, the major nitrogen constituents were other cyclic nitrogen compounds such as piperidine and the most common type of hydrocarbon was alkanes with heptadecane and its isomers being the most prevalent type of alkane. In the MeOH extract, the most common nitrogen class was quinolines and the most common hydrocarbon class was benzenes. Overall, there was only a single pyrrole present in the study in the DCM extract that could be identified from the chromatogram, however there may be more present in the background noise of the chromatogram without any baseline smoothing operations (see Appendix). The MeOH extract had the lowest nitrogen content with only eleven nitrogen compounds identifiable by the CNTs compared to the twenty-nine nitrogen compounds present in the MeOH extract, however more nitrogen compounds may be present if the ability to separate all the compounds present in the chromatograms.



Middle distillate fuels, Carbon nanotubes, GCIMS, Fuel instability, Organic nitrogen