Characterization of Sulfide Compounds in Petroleum: Selective Oxidation Followed by Positive-Ion Electrospray Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry
journal contributionposted on 01.08.2010 by Peng Liu, Chunming Xu, Quan Shi, Na Pan, Yahe Zhang, Suoqi Zhao, Keng H. Chung
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A novel analytical method for identifying sulfides in petroleum and its fractions was developed. Sulfides in petroleum were selectively oxidized into sulfoxides using tetrabutylammonium periodate (TBAPI) and identified by positive-ion electrospray ionization (ESI) Fourier transform-ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS). A variety of model sulfur compounds were examined to evaluate the selective oxidization and ionization efficiencies for sulfur compounds in petroleum. Two fractions, straight-run diesel and saturates of Athabasca oilsands bitumen were investigated using this approach. The oxidization process was highly selective for sulfides from thiophenes and aromatic hydrocarbons. Oxidation generated sulfoxides were ionized by positive-ion ESI and analyzed by FT-ICR MS. Mass spectra revealed the composition characteristics of sulfides in the diesel by contrasting the double bond equivalence (DBE) and carbon number distribution of sulfur compounds before and after oxidation. The abundant sulfides in the straight run diesel and saturates fraction of oilsands bitumen had DBE values of 1−3 and 1−4, respectively.