Applications of HPLC in the Hydrocarbon Processing Industry

High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is very popular and widely used in the pharmaceutical industry but is also an important tool for the analysis of samples hydrocarbon processing industry.

State-of-the-art HPLC equipment can automate HPLC separations in the HPI, using automatic samplers, injectors, micro-processor controlled analytical conditions and software for data evaluations. Some of the common applications of HPLC in the HPI include:

  • Colors in diesel
  • Aromatics in diesel
  • Crude oils Characterization
  • Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in crude oils
  • Heavy distillates analysis

Below are some instrument conditions and typical chromatograms of some of these applications:

1. Aromatics in Diesel

2. Crude Oils Characterization

3. Heavy Distillates Analysis

These samples include monomers, oligomers and polymers. The molecular weights range from approximately 100 and may be up to several millions. HPLC enables the monomers and oligomers to be separated into individual compounds and the polymers to be characterized by their molecular weight distributions and molecular weight data.

The choice of eluant depends on the solubility of the sample. Separations typically involve an isocratic solvent delivery system, but gradient elution may be required where polarities are different as 3. Heavy Distillates Analysis. The range of solvents used vary from very low to very high polarity depending on the application. Some of the more polar solvents are quite viscous and as such , an elevated column temperature may be necessary.  In such applications, the columns are heated but other parts of the system may be held at ambient temperature.

For further information on the use of HPLC in the HPI, please contact us at [email protected]

Chromatograms: courtesy of Agilent Technologies

Posted by Muyiwa Adebola

[email protected], [email protected]


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