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Sensors 2018, 18(5), 1551; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18051551

Hand-Held Refractometer-Based Measurement and Excess Permittivity Analysis Method for Detection of Diesel Oils Adulterated by Kerosene in Field Conditions

Department of Physics and Mathematics, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland
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Received: 6 April 2018 / Revised: 9 May 2018 / Accepted: 11 May 2018 / Published: 14 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Chemical Sensors)
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Abstract

Adulteration of fuels is a major problem, especially in developing and third world countries. One such case is the adulteration of diesel oil by kerosene. This problem contributes to air pollution, which leads to other far-reaching adverse effects, such as climate change. The objective of this study was to develop a relatively easy measurement method based on an inexpensive, handheld Abbe refractometer for the detection of adulteration and estimation of the ascending order of the amount of kerosene present in adulterated samples in field conditions. We achieved this by increasing the volume of pure diesel sample in the adulterated diesel oil, and measuring the trend of refractive index change, and next, exploiting the true and ideal permittivities of the binary mixture. The permittivity can be obtained with the aid of the measured refractive index of a liquid. Due to the molecular interactions, the true and ideal permittivities of diesel–kerosene binary liquid mixture have a mismatch which can be used to screen for adulterated diesel oils. The difference between the true and the ideal permittivity is the so-called excess permittivity. We first investigated a training set of diesel oils in laboratory in Finland, using the accurate table model Abbe refractometer and depicting the behavior of the excess permittivity of the mixture of diesel oil and kerosene. Then, we measured same samples in the laboratory using a handheld refractometer. Finally, preliminary field measurements using the handheld device were performed in Tanzania to assess the accuracy and possibility of applying the suggested method in field conditions. We herein show that it is not only possible to detect even relatively low adulteration levels of diesel in kerosene—namely, 5%, 10%, and 15%—but also it is possible to monitor the ascending order of adulteration for different adulterated diesel samples. We propose that the method of increasing the volume of an unknown (suspected) diesel oil sample by adding a known authentic diesel sample and monitoring excess permittivity is useful for the screening of adulterated diesel oil in field measurement conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: fuel adulteration; refractive index; excess permittivity; hand-held refractometer; diesel oils; kerosene fuel adulteration; refractive index; excess permittivity; hand-held refractometer; diesel oils; kerosene
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Kanyathare, B.; Peiponen, K.-E. Hand-Held Refractometer-Based Measurement and Excess Permittivity Analysis Method for Detection of Diesel Oils Adulterated by Kerosene in Field Conditions. Sensors 2018, 18, 1551.

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