ASTM D3238 - 17a

    Standard Test Method for Calculation of Carbon Distribution and Structural Group Analysis of Petroleum Oils by the n-d-M Method

    Active Standard ASTM D3238 | Developed by Subcommittee: D02.04.0K

    Book of Standards Volume: 05.01


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 The carbon distribution and ring content serve to express the gross composition of the heavier fractions of petroleum. These data can be used as an adjunct to the bulk properties in monitoring the manufacture of lubricating oil base stocks by distillation, solvent refining or hydrogenation, or both, and in comparing the composition of stocks from different crude sources. Furthermore, the data can often be correlated with critical product performance properties.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the calculation of the carbon distribution and ring content (Note 1) of olefin-free petroleum oils from measurements of refractive index, density, and molecular weight (n-d-M).2 This test method should not be applied to oils whose compositions are outside the following ranges:

    1.1.1 In terms of carbon distribution—up to 75 % carbon atoms in ring structure; percentage in aromatic rings not larger than 1.5 times the percentage in naphthenic rings.

    1.1.2 In terms of ring content—up to four rings per molecule with not more than half of them aromatic. A correction must be applied for oils containing significant quantities of sulfur.

    Note 1: The composition of complex petroleum fractions is often expressed in terms of the proportions of aromatic rings (RA), naphthene rings (RN), and paraffin chains (CP) that would comprise a hypothetical mean molecule. Alternatively, the composition may be expressed in terms of a carbon distribution, that is, the percentage of the total number of carbon atoms that are present in aromatic ring structures (% CA), naphthene ring structures (% CN), and paraffin chains (% Cp).

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

    1.2.1 Exception—The values 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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.4 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.


    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

    D1218 Test Method for Refractive Index and Refractive Dispersion of Hydrocarbon Liquids

    D1480 Test Method for Density and Relative Density (Specific Gravity) of Viscous Materials by Bingham Pycnometer

    D1481 Test Method for Density and Relative Density (Specific Gravity) of Viscous Materials by Lipkin Bicapillary Pycnometer

    D1552 Test Method for Sulfur in Petroleum Products by High Temperature Combustion and Infrared (IR) Detection or Thermal Conductivity Detection (TCD)

    D2502 Test Method for Estimation of Mean Relative Molecular Mass of Petroleum Oils from Viscosity Measurements

    D2503 Test Method for Relative Molecular Mass (Molecular Weight) of Hydrocarbons by Thermoelectric Measurement of Vapor Pressure

    D2622 Test Method for Sulfur in Petroleum Products by Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry

    D4052 Test Method for Density, Relative Density, and API Gravity of Liquids by Digital Density Meter

    D4294 Test Method for Sulfur in Petroleum and Petroleum Products by Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 75.080 (Petroleum products in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 15101500(Petroleum and distillates)


    Referencing This Standard
    Link Here
    Link to Active (This link will always route to the current Active version of the standard.)

    DOI: 10.1520/D3238-17A

    Citation Format

    ASTM D3238-17a, Standard Test Method for Calculation of Carbon Distribution and Structural Group Analysis of Petroleum Oils by the n-d-M Method, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2017, www.astm.org

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