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November/December 2009

Sal Rand

Sal Rand with participants in the training course on gasoline in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Spreading the Word

Sal Rand Talks About Petroleum — and ASTM’s Standards for It — Around the World

Sal Rand knows quite a bit about petroleum. Fortunately, he has been more than happy to share his knowledge with the rest of the world.

An ASTM International member for more than 30 years, Rand has been instrumental in Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants since his earliest days on the committee.

During his career with Texaco, Rand managed the Fuels Testing Laboratory, which tested all liquid fuels and some gaseous fuels. His work led to the development of a quality assurance program that included the use of mobile testing vans to perform tests in remote areas. The program became the standard in the industry.

While acting as chair of Subcommittee D02.05 on Properties of Fuels, Petroleum Coke and Carbon Material, Rand became involved with a then-new to D02 task group on pitch and helped develop a number of important standards on petroleum coke, manufactured carbon material and pitch.

Rand also recalls his participation in the development of the key standard D6045, Test Method for Color of Petroleum Products by the Automatic Tristimulus Method. D6045 is used by the paint, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, among others, in determining color automatically.

While Rand thought that his ASTM work might be curtailed after his retirement from Texaco in 1994, it was actually the beginning of a new adventure. Approached to teach an ASTM Technical and Professional Training course on gasoline, Rand took some time to design such a course and wrote a manual for it. He first taught it soon after his retirement and has now presented “Gasoline: Specifications, Testing and Technology” in more countries than he can readily remember, though he can say that he has taught it everywhere from Taiwan to Ecuador to Bahrain to Singapore.

“I’ve taught the course close to 100 times and it keeps changing,” says Rand. “There are new things happening out there and I’ve got to stay abreast of it. ASTM is a good resource for doing that.”

According to Rand, the gasoline course covers a broad and comprehensive look at many subjects relating to the fuel. Topics include an overview of ASTM and its standards developing process, refining, chemistry and volatility, which Rand notes is a crucial component.

In addition, Rand talks about fuel additives and oxygenates, and touches on the U.S. Clean Air Act — what is mandated by it, what testing is needed and what the Act restricts.

While course participants from the petroleum industry range from those in marketing to researchers, Rand says that many of his students do not work directly in the petroleum industry. These include attorneys, regulators and chemists from a variety of testing laboratories. Rand gives participants his e-mail address and says that he’ll often receive follow-up questions from them even a few years after they’ve taken the course.

In addition to the gasoline course, Rand has developed aan ASTM “Fuels Technology Course” that combines gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels that he has also presented throughout the world.

Rand says he has gained much from his ASTM experience, with his favorite part being interaction with other people. “You get to know the top people in the world who are working on test methods and specifications and the meetings are beautifully informal,” Rand says. “Anybody will talk to anybody. ASTM is here for a reason and I think it is doing a magnificent job.” Rand’s wife of 53 years, Agnes, has accompanied him on many of his trips to both ASTM meetings and training sessions around the world. When he’s not on the road, Rand enjoys spending time with his five children and nine grandchildren, and doing volunteer work near his home in Florida.