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This method is for determining iron (Fe), nickel (Ni), vanadium (V), lead (Pb), copper (Cu), sodium (Na), molybdenum (Mo), manganese (Mn), chromium (Cr), magnesium (Mg), tin (Sn), calcium (Ca), aluminum (Al) and zinc (Zn) in crude petroleum, oils, jet fuels, gas oils, asphalts, and polymers. Most of the elements can be determined within the concentration range of 0.02 to 200 mass-ppm when a 50-g sample of oil is ashed. Higher or lower concentrations can be determined by ashing appropriate-sized samples and/or modifying the instrument operating parameters. Determination of additional elements is possible if they are not volatilized during the ashing step and do not form insoluble sulfates.