Thermodiffusion in multicomponent hydrocarbon mixtures: Experimental investigations and computational analysis
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In an unprecedented experimental investigation, a ternary and a four component hydrocarbon mixture at high pressure have been studied in a nearly convection free environment to understand the thermodiffusion process. A binary mixture has also been investigated in this environment. Experimental investigations of the three mixtures have been conducted in space onboard the spacecraft FOTON-M3 thereby isolating the gravity-induced convection that otherwise interferes with thermodiffusion experiments on Earth. The experimental results have also been used to test a thermodiffusion model that has been calibrated based on the results of previous experimental investigations. It was found that with an increase in the number of components in the mixtures, the performance of the thermodiffusion model deteriorated. Computational analysis was also made to estimate the possible sources of errors. Simulations showed that the vibrations of the spacecraft could influence the estimates of thermodiffusion factors. It was also found that they are sensitive to slight variations in the temperature of the mixture.
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