The process of edible oil partial hydrogenation has improved steadily over the past decades, but few on-line process instruments exist capable of measuring the extent of hydrogenation. This work describes the design of a prototype, on-line fiber optic refractometer for controlling and monitoring of oils. It uses an established correlation between the degree of hydrogenation of an edible oil and its refractive index (Rl). The refractometer cell uses a bare optical fiber in direct contact with processing oil. Equations are given describing the power transmission characteristics of an optical fiber as a function of its cladding Rl. Comparisons between calculated and experimental data are shown using test liquids flowing through the refractometer.

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