Asee peer logo

Eliminating Measurement Dynamics From Kinetic Data

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.414.1 - 6.414.16

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

John Heydweiller

author page

Huang-Chin Hung

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

Eliminating Measurement Dynamics From Kinetic Data

Huang-Chin Hung, John Heydweiller Syracuse University


When analyzing data to evaluate a rate model, the dynamics of the measuring device must be distinguished from the effects of the rate process. This is of special concern to chemical engineers because the time constants and time delays of instruments used to measure chemical composition can be as large or larger than the time constants of the chemical reactions being studied. Researchers may use sophisticated instruments to mitigate this problem but the cost of such instruments often prohibits their use in the undergraduate laboratory. This paper presents an alternative approach. By developing a transfer function to describe the dynamics of the instrument, the effect of the instrument can be removed from the data mathematically.

The specific application presented in this paper is the collection and analysis of kinetic data for the alkaline hydrolysis of methyl acetate. For this reaction, the rate can be monitored with an inexpensive pH meter. The transfer function for the meter was determined by fitting the constants in a second-order, lead-lag model to data from a series of step-change experiments. It was assumed that the pH in the batch reactor for each kinetic experiment could be described by a generic, four-parameter function x(t); the expected form of the kinetic rate expression was not used in selecting this function. The choice of the function was based on the observed shape of the pH versus time curve and the need to have a function with a simple Laplace transform. The transform of x(t) was multiplied by the transfer function for the meter and this product represents the transform of the observed pH. After taking the inverse of the product, the parameters in x(t) were determined for each experiment by fitting the model to the pH data. The correlation coefficients for all of the experiments were quite good so it was concluded that x(t) gave an accurate representation of pH in the reactor. The method was successful in eliminating the dynamics of the pH meter from the observed pH. Since the approach taken was not tailored to this specific application, the general methodology could be applied to other situations.

I. Introduction

In the kinetic experiment which is studied in our senior laboratory course, the students obtain time-dependent concentration data for a reacting mixture of liquids in a batch reactor and analyze the data to determine the order and specific rate constant of the chemical reaction. The reaction studied is the alkaline hydrolysis of methyl acetate; this irreversible reaction is first-order with respect to both reactants [1]. Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Heydweiller, J., & Hung, H. (2001, June), Eliminating Measurement Dynamics From Kinetic Data Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015