ASTM D3238 - 95(2010)

    Standard Test Method for Calculation of Carbon Distribution and Structural Group Analysis of Petroleum Oils by the n-d-M Method

    Active Standard ASTM D3238 | Developed by Subcommittee: D02.04.0K

    Book of Standards Volume: 05.01


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    Significance and Use

    The carbon distribution and ring content serve to express the gross composition of the heavier fractions of petroleum. These data can be used as an adjunct to the bulk properties in monitoring the manufacture of lubricating oil base stocks by distillation, solvent refining or hydrogenation, or both, and in comparing the composition of stocks from different crude sources. Furthermore, the data can often be correlated with critical product performance properties.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the calculation of the carbon distribution and ring content (Note 1) of olefin-free petroleum oils from measurements of refractive index, density, and molecular weight (n-d-M). This test method should not be applied to oils whose compositions are outside the following ranges:

    1.1.1 In terms of carbon distributionup to 75 % carbon atoms in ring structure; percentage in aromatic rings not larger than 1.5 times the percentage in naphthenic rings.

    1.1.2 In terms of ring contentup to four rings per molecule with not more than half of them aromatic. A correction must be applied for oils containing significant quantities of sulfur.

    Note 1—The composition of complex petroleum fractions is often expressed in terms of the proportions of aromatic rings (RA), naphthene rings (RN), and paraffin chains (CP) that would comprise a hypothetical mean molecule. Alternatively, the composition may be expressed in terms of a carbon distribution, that is, the percentage of the total number of carbon atoms that are present in aromatic ring structures (% CA), naphthene ring structures (% CN), and paraffin chains (% Cp).

    1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values in parentheses are for information only.

    1.3 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

    D1218 Test Method for Refractive Index and Refractive Dispersion of Hydrocarbon Liquids

    D1480 Test Method for Density and Relative Density (Specific Gravity) of Viscous Materials by Bingham Pycnometer

    D1481 Test Method for Density and Relative Density (Specific Gravity) of Viscous Materials by Lipkin Bicapillary Pycnometer

    D1552 Test Method for Sulfur in Petroleum Products (High-Temperature Method)

    D2502 Test Method for Estimation of Mean Relative Molecular Mass of Petroleum Oils from Viscosity Measurements

    D2503 Test Method for Relative Molecular Mass (Molecular Weight) of Hydrocarbons by Thermoelectric Measurement of Vapor Pressure

    D2622 Test Method for Sulfur in Petroleum Products by Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 75.080 (Petroleum products in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 15101500(Petroleum and distillates)


    DOI: 10.1520/D3238-95R10

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