Published: Jan 1934
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The rapid growth of the petroleum industry has been accompanied by the development of a variety of physical and chemical methods for the testing of petroleum products. Physical tests are more widely used than chemical tests. This is natural, in view of the fact that the utility of petroleum products depends to a large extent upon their physical characteristics. Some of these physical tests are of little value except as they serve the refiner in controlling manufacturing processes, while others are useful both to consumer and to manufacturer as an index of the value or fitness of products for particular uses. Such chemical tests as now exist serve principally to protect against impurities or undesirable constituents. This is because petroleum is an extremely complex raw material, varying greatly in composition in the various producing fields, with each new field bringing its own peculiar problems. Little is known about the chemistry of petroleum at the present time, but our information in this respect is constantly increasing and it may reasonably be expected that a considerable advance along this line will be made in the future.