Monitoring of chemical reactors is key to optimizing yield and efficiency of chemical transformation processes. Aside from tracking pressure and temperature, the measurement of the chemical composition is essential in this context. We present an infrared difference spectroscopy approach for determining the reactant (cyclooctene) and product (cyclooctane) concentrations during a catalytic hydrogenation reaction in the solvent cyclohexane, which is present in large excess. Subtracting the spectrum of the pure solvent from the reactor mixture spectra yields infrared (IR) spectra, which can ultimately be evaluated using a curve-fitting procedure based on spectral soft modeling. An important feature of our evaluation approach is that the calibration only requires recording the pure component spectra of the reactants, products, and solvent. Hence, no time-consuming preparation of mixtures for calibration is necessary. The IR concentration results are in good agreement with gas chromatography measurements.
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