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Experimental Investigation of Complex Permittivity &

Determination of Ethanol Content in Gasoline
Anagha Kunte and Savita Kulkarni
Department of Electronics and Telecommunication, MAEER's Maharashtra Institute of
Technology, Pune (India)
Abstract - The proposed nondestructive method is used
for the accurate detection of complex permittivity and
adulteration in petroleum liquid. The microstrip straight
resonator is used to record the resonant frequency shift
and Quality factor change for different percentages of
ethanol in gasoline. The instrument prototype with the
necessary GPIB interface and the network analyzer is used
for the efficient and accurate measurements of these
parameters. The attempt has been made to present the
characteristics study of lossy dielectric liquids like petrol
and ethanol around the resonant frequency shift and
Quality factor, Dielectric losses and dissipation factor.
Index Term -- Complex Permittivity, Lorentzian fitting,
Planar Resonator Sensor, Q Unloaded
Standard gasoline is a dielectric liquid with about
30 different hydrocarbons. The dielectric constant of
such liquids is a function of dielectric constant of its
components. On this line the Powerful measurement
technique such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Gas
Chromatography although very accurate however as far
as the portability of the setup and slow pace parameter
measurements is concerned the use of the proposed
alternative method is suggested. In view of this the
proposed setup in frequency domain can be used as
inspection tool for detecting the ethanol content in
Gasoline. As per the Indian oil and natural gas
regulatory norms the Gasoline should have 5% ethanol
content. Ethanol is a polar liquid, and its complex
permittivity presents a Debye relaxation response.
Transmission coefficient method is used to determine
ethanol concentration in gasoline.
The gasoline is being adulterated by adding a higher
concentration of ethanol, or using hydrated ethanol, or
adding solvents like naphtha, kerosene etc. In this paper
the method deployed for the measurement of these
adulterations is based on microstrip straight 1J2
resonator sensor. The typical resonators 1.5GHz,
1.8GHz, 2GHz, and 2.3 GHz has been designed with
RT/Duroid 5880 substrate with a dielectric constant of
2.2 and a loss tangent 0.0009. The length of resonator
varies in mm as designed frequency varies. Coupling
gap is taken as 0.8mm and is critically coupled.3dB
bandwidth varies approximately 60MHz and return loss
of up to -60dB. [6] The dielectric constant of gasoline is
expected to vary slightly in the RF range (up to 3 GHz);
on the other hand the dielectric constant of ethanol
varies drastically in the aforesaid range as ethanol is
polar liquid.
978-1-4244-2690-4444/08/$25.00©2008 IEEE
This method reports an accurate and fast complex
permittivity measurement using a microstrip resonator.
The resonant frequency and the quality factor Q of
microstrip resonator are measured. The change in the
effective permittivity [I] of the microstrip resonator is
given by following first equation.
2 2
10 / Is = £ effs / £ effo (I )
Where "fo" and "Eeffo" indicate resonant frequency
and effective Permittivity without sample, while "fs"
and "Eeffs" indicate resonant frequency and effective
Permittivity with sample.
/o=/(£eff') (2)
L1Q = /(Eeff' ,Eeff") (3)
Second and third equation shows functional
dependence of frequency on permittivity, where Eeff* is
the complex permittivity of the sample. Eeff' and E eff"
indicate real and imaginary parts of the complex
Eeff' of the material under test (MUT) is determined
with the help of spectral domain analysis . To verify Eeff'
of complex permittivity fourth equation is used.
£eff =QMUT.£'MUT+QSUB.£'SUB+l-qMUT -QSUB (4)
In the quasi-static approximation, [2] the effective
permittivity can be expressed as a linear combination of
the permittivity of the air (E
= I), the substrate (E'SUB)
and the MUT (E' MUT) as shown in equation fourth. qMUT
(filling factor q of ethanol mixed with gasoline) and
qSUB (filling factor of RT-Duroid) being the
corresponding filling factors. They are obtained by
calculating the fractions of the total energy stored in the
three regions (MUT, Substrate and Air). MUT filling
factor qMUT depends not only on the structure geometry
but also on the MUT dielectric constant, while qSUB is
independent of the MUT. Using real part of fourth
equation effective permittivity is verified.
A careful fabrication procedure for half wavelength
straight resonator, one can make the input and output air
gaps equal to each other, so that coupling coefficient kl
from input side and k2 from output side proves equation
kl =k2. For such symmetrical coupling [3][4] one can
obtain fifth equation for unloaded Qu.
Qu = QL (5)
( /0)
1 __  ~
___ 3 ~
~ 13%
i 9%
Fig. 3: Graph of linear relationship between % Ethanol
Concentration and 18
1 in (dB)
The response is sampled at discrete set of frequencies,
and then interpolated by Lorentzian curve fitting. This
allows the resonant frequency and the bandwidth (which
depend on MUT's complex permittivity) to be computed
in a fast and accurate way. Various samples of different
gas station are taken and change in resonant frequency
and loss in terms of S21 is captured by LabVIEW via
GPIB-USB-B cable byl600 points oftransmission curve
on VNA. The output in terms of complex permittivity of
MUT and adulteration is depicted in tablel.0n
transferring all losses [5] of above shown structure to its
equivalent single layer structure then the equivalent tana
can be calculated using the equation (7)
tan8= ~ u (7)
As conductor losses and radiation losses in
microstrip resonator with liquid dielectric is less than
0.1% complex effective permittivity so can be
calculated as eighth equation
Ceff *=ceff (1- j tan £5) (8)
Conductor losses have minor effects to the
determination of dissipation factor of a high loss
dielectric material. So these losses are neglected in
present scenario. With low loss material, conductor
losses might be dominating losses and determination of
the conductor losses have to be done as accurate as
possible. Tan b value differs only by 0.0004 for RT-
Duroid and for petrol by 0.0006.
As adulteration of ethanol is increased in the petrol
the following effects are noticed and recorded
appropriately. Resonant frequency decreases in step of
8MHz +/- 2%.
Bandwidth increases. Quality factor for loaded
resonator decreases almost 60%. Dissipation factor
increases and imaginary part of complex permittivity
increases linearly.
Using regression analysis as well as polynomial
interpolation adulteration in gasoline in India i.e.
%ethanol in gasoline available on gas station can be
expressed as equation (9) with 200ml gasoline and
equation (10)with 300 ml gasoline sample for proposed
% ethanol = 0.3947 * IS211 (dB) - 1.87128 (9)
% ethanol = 1.03093 * IS211 (dB) - 14.51813 (10)
Agilent Vector
Network Analyser
PC with user
developed in
Fig. 2. Photograph of setup
The response of resonator is identified as power
transmitted through ports of VNA. (Agilent 8714ET).
Fig. 1. Block diagram of proposed system with 2 GHz
resonator sensor.
The loaded QL of the system is inversely
proportional to the difference between the 3-dB
frequencies fl and t2 at each side of the resonance given
in sixth equation.
QL=fr/BW=fr/f2-fl (6)
A. Complex Permittivity Measurement
Proposed system adopted two port measurement
procedure requires only two parameters for calculation,
namely the resonant frequency and the 3 dB bandwidth,
It is also observed that this simple set up succeeds
achieving a substantial reduction of cost and
computation time. Fig I describes functional block
diagram while
Fig.2 shows experimental setup for measurements.
Specially designed aluminum box structure with 2.3GHz
resonator is used for testing for (150ml, 200ml, 250ml,
and 300ml) samples of gasoline.
B. Measurement steps:
I. Setup Vector Network Analyser 8714ET.
2. Set frequency range as start and stop
3. Set Number of points 1601.Use open, short, 50
ohm load and thru from calibration kit
4. Connect straight resonator, Place MUT i.e.
gasoline adulterated with ethanol on resonator.
5. Measure Resonant frequency (MHz), Loss i.e.
S2I(dB) in transmission mode.
6. Perform online calculation for Complex
Permittivity, Q, BW, tan a, ethanol
concentration in mixture as % adulteration
Scattering parameter measurement is carried out
with Agilent 8714ET VNA. Measurement ofS
and S21
in reflection and transmission mode is done. Fig 3 is
shows linear relationship between adulteration in
gasoline and insertion loss.
Table 1 depicts functional dependence between
Resonant frequency, adulteration and complex
205 +--...---.-----r-----.-----.-----.----r--.---._
1 75 1 74 1 73 1 72 1 71 1 70 1 69 1 69 1 66 1 66 1 67
Resonantfrequencyfr In GHz
Fig. 5. Plot of tan 0 Vs Resonant frequency fr in GHz
* Gasoline + Resonant Complex
% of Ethanol freq. (MHz) permittivity
only Petrol 1749.84 2.169 -jO.004533
1% 1739.85 2.194 -jO.005139
2% 1729.85 2.219 -jO.005615
3% 1722.04 2.239 -jO.006032
4% 1710.4 2.270 -jO.006358
50/0 1699.45 2.299 -jO.006705
6% 1686.38 2.335 -jO.007485
7% 1685.24 2.338 -jO.007712
8% 1684.5 2.340 -jO.006258
9% 1681.87 2.348 -jO.006475
100/0 1670.29 2.380 -jO.007334
Fig..4. Plot of Real part of effective permittivity Eeff'
Vs Resonant frequency fro
00034 .,----------------.
..3 00024
00020 +-----,---.-------.--....,.------r---.------I
175 174 173 172 1 71 1 70 169 169
Resonant frequency fr In GHz
*Ethanol concentration in Gasoline tested by Global Intertek
Laboratory, Mumbai.
It is observed that the value of resonant frequency is
decreased with increase in ethanol concentration in
Gasoline. On line determination of dielectric constant
using LabVIEW are recorded in the table 1.The
comparison between numerical results using filling
factor and experimental values shows good agreement to
some extent.
Effective permittivity of petrol increases in almost
linear fashion with impurity, while the quality factor
decreases with the impurity. Uncertainty factors are
definitely present since the data is taken for specific
samples at a certain temperature and frequency. The
sample under test obtained from the market can differ
very much from the sample tabulated. Especially any
kind of adulteration can lead to increase in the loss
tangent. There can be other sources of errors also like,
air bubbles in MUT, error in dielectric constant and loss
tangent of substrate and MUT, measurement ofQ factor.
The increased accuracy of complex permittivity is
possible in case the gasoline and ethanol is in the pure
form and this fact became essential so as to carry out the
real calibration.
As gasoline is highly temperature dependant, while
taking readings it is essential to measure temperature.
For particular temperature and fixed volume following
results in fig 4, fig 5 and fig 6 are found. Loss factor Tan
delta increases as fr decreases. As adulteration increases
resonant frequency decreases and €eff' , € er!' increases.
o004 +-----,---.------.----.,.--_.-----.-------1
1 75 1 74 1 73 1 72 1 71 1 70 1 69 1 69
Resonant frequency fr In GHz
Fig. 6. Imaginary (effective permittivity) E err' Vs
Resonant frequency t;. in GHz
Simple microstrip resonant technique has been
presented to detect ethanol from 0% to 20% in gasoline.
Dependence of resonant frequency and 3 dB bandwidth
on the real and imaginary part of the complex
permittivity has be shown A simple online detection of
the variation of the resonant frequency and Lorentzian
curve fitting corresponding to resonator response allows
an easy and fast monitoring of adulteration. Further
works are needed in view to increase measurement
accuracy as well as to focus the critical issues in
observing the losses in liquid dielectric with different
gasoline products.
The authors would like to record their sincere
thanks to the parent organization MAEER's MIT, Pune
for providing the necessary kind support during the
experimentation. The authors would also like to
mention their thanks to Intertek-Colleb, Mumbai for
their valuable technical discussion. This work is
supported by University of Pune under the BCUD
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