ASTM D1218 - 12

    Standard Test Method for Refractive Index and Refractive Dispersion of Hydrocarbon Liquids

    Active Standard ASTM D1218 | Developed by Subcommittee: D02.04.0D

    Book of Standards Volume: 05.01


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 Refractive index and refractive dispersion are fundamental physical properties, which can be used in conjunction with other properties to characterize pure hydrocarbons and their mixtures.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the measurement of refractive index, accurate to four decimal places or better, of transparent and light-colored hydrocarbons in the range of 1.3300 to 1.5000 at temperatures from 20 to 30°C by manual (optical-mechanical) or automatic (digital) procedure.

    1.2 The manual (optical-mechanical) procedure also covers the measurement of refractive dispersion accurate to the fourth decimal place or better.

    Note 1The test method may be suitable for measuring the refractive indices of liquids above 1.5000 and at temperatures both below 20°C and above 30°C; however, the test method precision may not apply. Verification of the accuracy of such measurements will depend upon the availability of reliable, certified reference standards that demonstrate the performance of the instrument used under the particular measuring conditions.

    1.3 The test method may not be applicable to liquids that are strongly colored, or that have bubble points so near the test temperature that a reading cannot be obtained before substantial weathering takes place. Liquid color should be limited to No. 4 ASTM Color or lighter, as determined by Test Method D1500.

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

    1.5 WARNING—Mercury has been designated by many regulatory agencies as a hazardous material that can cause central nervous system, kidney and liver damage. Mercury, or its vapor, may be hazardous to health and corrosive to materials. Caution should be taken when handling mercury and mercury containing products. See the applicable product Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for details and EPA’s website—http://www.epa.gov/mercury/faq.htm—for additional information. Users should be aware that selling mercury and/or mercury containing products into your state or country may be prohibited by law.

    1.6  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.


    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

    D1500 Test Method for ASTM Color of Petroleum Products (ASTM Color Scale)

    D6299 Practice for Applying Statistical Quality Assurance and Control Charting Techniques to Evaluate Analytical Measurement System Performance

    D6300 Practice for Determination of Precision and Bias Data for Use in Test Methods for Petroleum Products and Lubricants

    E1 Specification for ASTM Liquid-in-Glass Thermometers


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 71.080.01 (Organic chemicals in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D1218-12

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