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The Design and Use of Photochemical Flow Reactor: A Laboratory Study of the Atmospheric Chemistry of Cyanoacetylene on Titan

The Design and Use of Photochemical Flow Reactor: A Laboratory Study of the Atmospheric Chemistry of Cyanoacetylene on Titan

Publication date: 02 August 2000

Authors: Clarke, D.W., Joseph, J.C. & Ferris, J.P.

Journal: Icarus
Volume: 147
Issue: 1
Page: pp.282-291
Year: 2000

Copyright: Elsevier Science

The laboratory investigation of the atmospheric photochemistry of planets and satellites is mainly carried out in static systems. These studies are often poor models of chemical processes in atmospheres because: (1) much higher mixing ratios of minor constituents must be used to accurately determine the amount of reactant consumed and to obtain sufficient products for analysis, (2) secondary photolysis of the initial photoproducts often occurs, (3) wall reactions occur, and (4) most of the starting material is converted to products to obtain enough for spectroscopic analysis. The use of a photochemical flow reactor either circumvents or minimizes these problems by using gas mixtures and photolysis conditions more representative of a planetary atmosphere. A gas mixture, composed of a small amount of a reactant gas diluted in a much larger amount of carrier gas, is flowed past a UV lamp for an extended period of time. Unconsumed reactants and products are collected in traps downstream until amounts sufficient for spectral analysis are collected. FTIR and NMR analysis provides structural information and quantitative data on their rates of formation.

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