ASTM E538 - 98(2008)

    Standard Test Method for Mercury in Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide) and Caustic Potash (Potassium Hydroxide)

    Active Standard ASTM E538 | Developed by Subcommittee: E15.01

    Book of Standards Volume: 15.05


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    Significance and Use

    Mercury is a toxic material and is also deleterious if present in caustic soda and caustic potash used in certain manufacturing processes. It must therefore be controlled as a possible pollutant. These test methods provide a procedure for measuring mercury in liquid and solid caustic soda and caustic potash.

    1. Scope

    1.1 These test methods cover the routine determination of mercury in caustic soda and caustic potash liquors and anhydrous caustic soda in the solid, flake, ground, and bead form by the flameless atomic absorption method.

    1.2 Two test methods are described as follows: Test Method A employs a direct analysis of the sample using an alkaline reducing agent with a lower limit of detection of 0.1 ppb (ng/g). Test Method A was developed using caustic soda and caustic potash. Test Method B requires a preliminary neutralization of the sample followed by a permanganate oxidation before it can be analyzed by an acidic reducing agent with a lower limit of detection of this test method of 0.01 ppm (μg/g). Test Method B was developed using caustic soda.

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

    1.4 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. Specific hazards statements are given in Section 7 and 17.

    1.5 Review the current material safety data sheets (MSDS) for detailed information concerning toxicity, first-aid procedures, and safety precautions.


    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

    E180 Practice for Determining the Precision of ASTM Methods for Analysis and Testing of Industrial and Specialty Chemicals


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 71.040.40 (Chemical analysis)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 12352305(Inorganic hydroxides)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/E0538-98R08

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM E538-98(2008), Standard Test Method for Mercury in Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide) and Caustic Potash (Potassium Hydroxide), ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2008, www.astm.org

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