The acid-catalysed esterification of myristic acid with isopropanol was studied by using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) in combination with soft-modeling curve resolution (MCR) methodology with a view to establishing the effect of experimental variables on the reaction kinetics. The reaction was conducted at temperatures above the boiling point of the alcohol, with continuous addition of an isopropanol/water mixture to the reactor. Spectral and concentration profiles were determined by applying soft-modeling curve resolution methodology to a column-wise augmented data matrix containing the spectra for the pure components. MCR profiles were compared with reference values and found to depart from then by less than 3% as %RSE for concentrations and to exhibit correlation above 0.999 for spectra. The reaction kinetics as estimated from the concentration profiles was found to be pseudo-first-order. Also, the pseudo-first-order rate constant was found to depend on the flow-rate of the isopropanol/water mixture and its water content; although the constant decreased with increase in the proportion of water, a content of ca. 15% could be used without important retarding effects on the kinetics. The proposed NIR-MCR method allows the rate constant and the influence of the initial water content to be determined with a view to minimizing consumption of the raw materials and optimizing the experimental conditions. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- In-line measurements
- Multivariate curve resolution
- Near-infrared spectroscopy