Probing the vapor-liquid phase behaviors of near-critical and supercritical fluids using a shear mode piezoelectric sensor

Robert M. Oag, Peter J. King, Christopher J. Mellor, Michael W. George, Jie Ke, Martyn Poliakoff

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


With the rapidly expanding industrial and research applications of near-critical and supercritical technology there is a pressing need for a simple and inexpensive sensor that may be used to determine the phase coexistence regions of fluid mixtures and to establish whether a fluid system is below, at, or above, a critical point. Mechanically vibrating AT-cut quartz plates may be used to determine the product of the fluid density and viscosity of a fluid in which it is immersed, through measurement of the impedance minimum of the electrical equivalent circuit or of the corresponding frequency. The densityviscosity product changes abruptly between fluid phases and rapidly along the isotherm corresponding to the critical temperature, enabling such a plate to act as a sensor of these fluid features. We consider the limitations and linearity of such a sensor and its behavior when a liquid-gas meniscus crosses its surface. We demonstrate for the first time the effective use of an AT-cut quartz sensor in mapping the phase behavior of fluids, using measurements made on carbon dioxide and ethane for calibration and then investigating an ethane-carbon dioxide mixture. The advantages of this experimental approach are that (i) piezoelectric sensors are available for operation up to 1000 °C and at extremely high pressures and (ii) the measurement of the densityviscosity product of supercritical fluids is inherently simpler than traditional techniques for determining phase behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-485
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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