ASTM D6743 - 11

    Standard Test Method for Thermal Stability of Organic Heat Transfer Fluids

    Active Standard ASTM D6743 | Developed by Subcommittee: D02.L0

    Book of Standards Volume: 05.03


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    Significance and Use

    Heat transfer fluids degrade when exposed to sufficiently high temperatures. The amount of degradation increases as the temperature increases or the length of exposure increases, or both. Due to reactions and rearrangement, degradation products can be formed. Degradation products include high and low boiling components, gaseous decomposition products, and products that cannot be evaporated. The type and content of degradation products produced will change the performance characteristics of a heat transfer fluid. In order to evaluate thermal stability, it is necessary to quantitatively determine the mass percentages of high and low boiling components, as well as gaseous decomposition products and those that cannot be vaporized, in the thermally stressed heat transfer fluid.

    This test method differentiates the relative stability of organic heat transfer fluids at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen and water under the conditions of the test.

    The user shall determine to his own satisfaction whether the results of this test method correlate to field performance. Heat transfer fluids in industrial plants are exposed to a variety of additional influencing variables. Interaction with the plant's materials, impurities, heat build-up during impaired flow conditions, the temperature distribution in the heat transfer fluid circuit, and other factors can also lead to changes in the heat transfer fluid. The test method provides an indication of the relative thermal stability of a heat transfer fluid, and can be considered as one factor in the decision-making process for selection of a fluid.

    The accuracy of the results depends very strongly on how closely the test conditions are followed.

    This test method does not possess the capability to quantify or otherwise assess the formation and nature of thermal decomposition products within the unstressed fluid boiling range. Decomposition products within the unstressed fluid boiling range may represent a significant portion of the total thermal degradation.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of the thermal stability of unused organic heat transfer fluids. The procedure is applicable to fluids used for the transfer of heat at temperatures both above and below their boiling point (refers to normal boiling point throughout the text unless otherwise stated). It is applicable to fluids with maximum bulk operating temperature between 260°C (500°F) and 454°C (850°F). The procedure shall not be used to test a fluid above its critical temperature. In this test method, the volatile decomposition products are in continuous contact with the fluid during the test. This test method will not measure the thermal stability threshold (the temperature at which volatile oil fragments begin to form), but instead will indicate bulk fragmentation occurring for a specified temperature and testing period. Because potential decomposition and generation of high pressure gas may occur at temperatures above 260°C (500°F), do not use this test method for aqueous fluids or other fluids which generate high-pressure gas at these temperatures.

    1.2 DIN Norm 51528 covers a test method that is similar to this test method.

    1.3 The applicability of this test method to siloxane-based heat transfer fluids has not been determined.

    1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses 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. For specific warning statements, see 7.2, 8.8, 8.9, and 8.10.


    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

    D2887 Test Method for Boiling Range Distribution of Petroleum Fractions by Gas Chromatography

    D4175 Terminology Relating to Petroleum, Petroleum Products, and Lubricants

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


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 27.060.30 (Boilers and heat exchangers); 71.100.99 (Other products of the chemical industry)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 15121530(Heat transfer oil or fluid)


    DOI: 10.1520/D6743-11

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