PhiTEC BTC // Batterie Test Kalorimeter
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Technology

Adiabatic Calorimetry

Adiabatic literally means "impassable" and in thermodynamic terms we use it to refer to a system in which heat can neither pass in nor out. In a laboratory this is achieved by controlling the ambient temperature around the sample vessel to the same temperature as the vessel itself. With no temperature gradient between the vessel and the environment around it, the system is "thermodynamically sealed" and any heat changes in the vessel, must be due to chemical processes within.

all very interesting, but why should you care about adiabatic calorimetry?....

....in a word - Safety.

In large-scale chemical plants, reactions can generate heat at a much faster rate than the plant can shed heat by naturally cooling (ie radiating heat to the atmosphere), and in such a situation the system becomes effectively adiabatic - ie essentially all the heat generated by the reaction remains in the tank, with potentially disasterous consequences.

It's vital to study the adiabatic behaviour of chemical reactions during the development and scale-up of chemical processes to large-scale plants.

 

Calibration of Adiabatic Conditions

The PhiTEC range of calorimeters achieve adiabatic control using only a 30min step which can be repeated before each test, if necessary. It works under different test conditions and requires no changes for different size or shape of test cell or sample.

Traditional adiabatic calorimeters (for example "ARC® - type") depend on a lengthy calibration procedure that can take more than half a day. This is used to obtain an empirical calibration which is applied in future tests.

Apart from being time-consuming, this apporach is inaccurate unless it is repeated regularly and also for different sizes and shapes of test cells.