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The total nitrogen in naphtha range samples and other refinery streams is an important parameter for the optimization of the refining catalytic processes since nitrogen containing compounds that can irreversibly poison the catalysts and affect the quality of the final products. The determination proceeds via combustion, followed by the chemiluminescence reaction of the nitric oxide with ozone that renders the excited NO2 species. Characteristic emissions upon NO2 relaxation are detected by a PMT and final concentration of the total nitrogen are obtained by means of a calibration curve run under identical conditions in the concentration range of interest. The chemiluminescence response is linear in respect to the nitrogen concentration and equimolar in respect to the chemical composition of the standards used in the calibration step. To eliminate any matrix effects, trace nitrogen results have been obtained by standard addition and results compared with standard methods at normal and reduced pressures. Results show that employing this procedure is very easy to reach very low detection levels and is in excellent agreement with the ASTM standard methods.
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