ASTM D3321 - 13

    Standard Test Method for Use of the Refractometer for Field Test Determination of the Freezing Point of Aqueous Engine Coolants

    Active Standard ASTM D3321 | Developed by Subcommittee: D15.03

    Book of Standards Volume: 15.05


      Format Pages Price  
    PDF 4 $37.00   ADD TO CART
    Hardcopy (shipping and handling) 4 $37.00   ADD TO CART
    Standard + Redline PDF Bundle 8 $44.40   ADD TO CART


    Significance and Use

    4.1 This practice is commonly used by vehicle service personnel to determine the freezing point, in degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit, of aqueous solutions of commercial ethylene and propylene glycol-based coolant. A durable hand-held refractometer is available that reads the freezing point, directly, in degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit, when a few drops of engine coolant are properly placed on the temperature-compensated prism surface of the refractometer. This refractometer is for glycol and water solutions, and is not suitable for other coolant solutions.

    4.2 The hand-held refractometer should be calibrated before use (see Section 7).

    4.3 Care must be taken to use the correct glycol freezing point scale for the glycol type being measured. Use of the wrong glycol scale can result in freezing point errors of 18 and more degrees Fahrenheit.

    4.4 Ethylene glycol/propylene glycol mixtures will result in inaccurate freezing point measurements using either freezing point scale.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the use of a portable refractometer for determining the approximate freezing protection provided by ethylene and propylene glycol-based coolant solutions as used in engine cooling systems and special applications.

    Note 1Some instruments have a supplementary freezing protection scale for methoxypropanol coolants. Others carry a supplemental scale calibrated in density or specific gravity readings of sulfuric acid solutions so that the refractometer can be used to determine the charged condition of lead acid storage batteries.

    1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given 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

    D1177 Test Method for Freezing Point of Aqueous Engine Coolants

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

    E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 17.180.30 (Optical measuring instruments)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D3321

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    ASTM D3321

    Citing ASTM Standards
    Back to Top