ASTM D5504 - 12

    Standard Test Method for Determination of Sulfur Compounds in Natural Gas and Gaseous Fuels by Gas Chromatography and Chemiluminescence

    Active Standard ASTM D5504 | Developed by Subcommittee: D03.05

    Book of Standards Volume: 05.06


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    ASTM D5504

    Significance and Use

    Many sources of natural and petroleum gases contain sulfur compounds that are odorous, corrosive, and poisonous to catalysts used in gaseous fuel processing.

    Low ppm amounts of sulfur odorants are added to natural gas and LP gases for safety purposes. Some odorants are unstable and react to form compounds having lower odor thresholds. Quantitative analysis of these odorized gases ensures that odorant injection equipment is performing to specification.

    Although not intended for application to gases other than natural gas and related fuels, this test method has been successfully applied to fuel type gases including refinery, landfill, cogeneration, and sewage digester gas. Refinery, landfill, sewage digester and other related fuel type gases inherently contain volatile sulfur compounds that are subject to federal, state, or local control. The methane fraction of these fuel type gases are occasionally sold to distributors of natural gas. For these reasons, both regulatory agencies and production and distribution facilities may require the accurate determination of sulfur to satisfy regulatory, production or distribution requirements. Fuel gases are also used in energy production or are converted to new products using catalysts that are poisoned by excessive sulfur in the feed gas. Industry frequently requires measurement of sulfur in these fuel type gases to protect their catalyst investments.

    Analytical MethodsGas chromatography (GC) is commonly used in the determination of fixed gas and organic composition of natural gas (Test Method D1945). Other standard ASTM methods for the analysis of sulfur in fuel gases include Test Methods D1072 and D4468 for total sulfur and Test Methods D4010 and D4884 for hydrogen sulfide.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method is primarily for the determination of speciated volatile sulfur-containing compounds in high methane content gaseous fuels such as natural gas. It has been successfully applied to other types of gaseous samples including air, digester, landfill, and refinery fuel gas. The detection range for sulfur compounds, reported as picograms sulfur, is ten (10) to one million (1 000 000). This is equivalent to 0.01 to 1 000 mg/m3, based upon the analysis of a 1 cc sample.

    1.2 The range of this test method may be extended to higher concentration by dilution or by selection of a smaller sample loop.

    Note 1— Dilution will reduce method precision.

    1.3 This test method does not purport to identify all sulfur species in a sample. Only compounds that are eluted through the selected column under the chromatographic conditions chosen are determined. The detector response to sulfur is equimolar for all sulfur compounds within the scope (1.1) of this test method. Thus, unidentified compounds are determined with equal precision to that of identified substances. Total sulfur content is determined from the total of individually quantified components.

    1.4 The values stated in SI units are standard. The values stated in inch-pound units are for information only.

    1.5 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

    D1072 Test Method for Total Sulfur in Fuel Gases by Combustion and Barium Chloride Titration

    D1945 Test Method for Analysis of Natural Gas by Gas Chromatography

    D3609 Practice for Calibration Techniques Using Permeation Tubes

    D4468 Test Method for Total Sulfur in Gaseous Fuels by Hydrogenolysis and Rateometric Colorimetry

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

    E594 Practice for Testing Flame Ionization Detectors Used in Gas or Supercritical Fluid Chromatography

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


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 75.160.01 (Fuels in general); 75.160.30 (Gaseous fuels)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 15111500(Gaseous fuels)


    DOI: 10.1520/D5504-12

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