Ethylene Decomposition Initiated by Ultraviolet Radiation from Low Pressure Mercury Lamps: Kinetics Model Prediction and Experimental Verification.
Ethylene is an important auto-catalytic plant growth hormone. Removal of ethylene from the atmosphere surrounding ethylene-sensitive horticultural products may be very beneficial, allowing an extended period of storage and preventing or delaying the induction of disorders. Various ethylene removal techniques have been studied and put into practice. One technique is based on using low pressure mercury ultraviolet lamps as a source of photochemical energy to initiate chemical reactions that destroy ethylene. Although previous research showed that ethylene disappeared in experiments with mercury ultraviolet lamps, the reactions were not described and the actual cause of ethylene disappearance remained unknown. Proposed causes for this disappearance were the direct action of ultraviolet rays on ethylene, reaction of ethylene with ozone (which is formed when air or gas containing molecular oxygen is exposed to radiation emitted by this type of lamp), or reactions with atomic oxygen leading to formation of ozone. The objective of the present study was to determine the set of physical and chemical actions leading to the disappearance of ethylene from artificial storage atmosphere under conditions of ultraviolet irradiation. The goal was achieved by developing a static chemical model based on the physical properties of a commercially available ultraviolet lamp, the photochemistry of gases, and the kinetics of chemical reactions. The model was used to perform computer simulations predicting time dependent concentrations of chemical species included in the model. Development of the model was accompanied by the design of a reaction chamber used for experimental verification. The model provided a good prediction of the general behavior of the species involved in the chemistry under consideration; however the model predicted lower than measured rate of ethylene disappearance. Some reasons for the model -experiment disagreement are radiation intensity averaging, the experimental technique, mass transfer in the chamber, and incompleteness of the set of chemical reactions included in the model. The work is concluded with guidelines for development of a more complex mathematical model that includes elements of mass transfer inside the reaction chamber, and uses a three dimensional approach to distribute radiation from the low pressure mercury ultraviolet tube.
- Pub Date:
- January 1995
- Engineering: Agricultural; Chemistry: Radiation; Physics: Radiation