ASTM C1234 - 11

    Standard Practice for Preparation of Oils and Oily Waste Samples by High-Pressure, High-Temperature Digestion for Trace Element Determinations

    Active Standard ASTM C1234 | Developed by Subcommittee: D02.03

    Book of Standards Volume: 05.01


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    ASTM C1234

    Significance and Use

    This practice is useful for preparation of difficult-to-digest, primarily oils and oily wastes, specimens for trace element determinations of up to 28 elements by atomic absorption or plasma emission techniques. Specimen preparation by high-pressure ashing is primarily applicable to specimens whose preparation by EPA SW-846 protocols is either not applicable or not defined. This sample preparation practice is applicable for the trace element characterization of mixed oily wastes for use by waste treatment facilities such as incinerators or waste stabilization facilities.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers a high-pressure, high-temperature digestion technique using the high-pressure asher (HPA) for preparation of oils and oily waste specimens for determination of up to 28 different elements by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission plasma spectroscopy (ICP-AES), cold-vapor atomic absorption spectroscopy (CVAAS), and graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy (GFAAS), inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICPMS), and radiochemical methods. Oily and high-percentage organic waste streams from nuclear and non-nuclear manufacturing processes can be successfully prepared for trace element determinations by ICP-AES, CVAAS, and GFAAS. This practice is applicable to the determination of total trace elements in these mixed wastes. Specimens prepared by this practice can be used to characterize organic mixed waste streams received by hazardous waste treatment incinerators and for total element characterization of the waste streams.

    1.2 This practice is applicable only to organic waste streams that contain radioactivity levels that do not require special personnel or environmental protection from radioactivity or other acute hazards.

    1.3 A list of elements determined in oily waste streams is found in Table 1.

    1.4 This practice has been used successfully to completely digest a large variety of oils and oily mixed waste streams from nuclear processing facilities. While the practice has been used to report data on up to 28 trace elements, its success should not be expected for all analytes in every specimen. The overall nature of these oily wastes tends to be heterogeneous that can affect the results. Homogeneity of the prepared sample is critical to the precision and quality of the results.

    1.5 This practice is designed to be applicable to samples whose preparation practices are not defined, or not suitable, by other regulatory procedures or requirements, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SW-846 and EPA-600/4-79-020 documents. This digestion practice is designed to provide a high level of accuracy and precision, but does not replace or override any regulatory requirements for sample preparation.

    1.6 This practice uses hazardous materials, operations, and equipment at high pressure (90110 bars, 89108 atm, or 13051595 lb/in.2) and high temperatures, up to 320°C, and therefore poses significant hazards if not operated properly.

    1.7 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.7.1 ExceptionPressure measurements are given in lb/in. units.

    1.8 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. Specific warning statements are given in Sections 10.

    TABLE 1 List of Elements and Applicable Lower Concentration Ranges

    ElementLower Reportable
    Limit,A μg/g
    Analysis Method
    Aluminum3.3ICP-AES
    Antimony8.3ICP-AES or GFAAS
    Arsenic8.3ICP-AES or GFAAS
    Barium0.17ICP-AES
    Beryllium0.05ICP-AES
    Boron0.67ICP-AES
    Cadmium0.50ICP-AES or GFAAS
    Calcium0.67ICP-AES
    Chromium1.7ICP-AES
    Cobalt0.83ICP-AES
    Copper0.67ICP-AES
    Iron0.67ICP-AES
    Lead8.3ICP-AES or GFAAS
    Lithium0.67ICP-AES
    Magnesium0.08ICP-AES
    Manganese0.17ICP-AES
    Mercury0.03CVAAS
    Nickel1.7ICP-AES
    Potassium100ICP-AES
    Selenium8.3ICP-AES or GFAAS
    Silver1.0ICP-AES
    Sodium3.3ICP-AES
    Strontium0.07ICP-AES
    Thallium1.7GFAAS
    Titanium0.50ICP-AES
    Vanadium0.83ICP-AES
    Zinc0.17ICP-AES
    Zirconium0.83ICP-AES

    A Lower reportable limits are based on a 0.3-g sample diluted to a final volume of 50 mL. These limits should only be used as a guide. Actual values are instrument and sample dependent.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D1193 Specification for Reagent Water

    E177 Practice for Use of the Terms Precision and Bias in ASTM Test Methods

    US EPA Standards

    SW-846 Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 75.100 (Lubricants, industrial oils and related products)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11141603(Oil wastes)


    DOI: 10.1520/C1234-11

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