Investigation of microwave dielectric properties of biodiesel components

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Advanced microwave technology has the potential to significantly enhance the biodiesel production process. Knowledge of dielectric properties of materials plays a major role in microwave design for any process. Dielectric properties (ε' and ε") of biodiesel precursors: soybean oil, alcohols and catalyst and their different mixtures were measured using a vector network analyzer and a slim probe in an open ended coaxial probe method at four different temperatures (30, 45, 60 and 75 °C) and in the frequency range of 280 MHz to 4.5 GHz. Results indicate that the microwave dielectric properties depend significantly on both temperature and frequency. Addition of catalyst significantly affected the dielectric properties. Dielectric properties behaved differently when oil, alcohol and catalyst was mixed at room temperature before heating and when the oil and the alcohol catalyst mixture was heated separately to a pre-determined temperature before mixing. These results can be used in designing microwave based transesterification system.

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Bioresource technology

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