Publications / SAND Report

A reduced order model for the study of asymmetries in linear gas chromatography for homogeneous tubular columns

Romero, L.A.; Whiting, Joshua J.; Parks, Michael L.

In gas chromatography, a chemical sample separates into its constituent components as it travels along a long thin column. As the component chemicals exit the column they are detected and identified, allowing the chemical makeup of the sample to be determined. For correct identification of the component chemicals, the distribution of the concentration of each chemical along the length of the column must be nearly symmetric. The prediction and control of asymmetries in gas chromatography has been an active research area since the advent of the technique. In this paper, we develop from first principles a general model for isothermal linear chromatography. We use this model to develop closed-form expressions for terms related to the first, second, and third moments of the distribution of the concentration, which determines the velocity, diffusion rate, and asymmetry of the distribution. We show that for all practical experimental situations, only fronting peaks are predicted by this model, suggesting that a nonlinear chromatography model is required to predict tailing peaks. For situations where asymmetries arise, we analyze the rate at which the concentration distribution returns to a normal distribution. Numerical examples are also provided.