Standard Historical Last Updated: Apr 08, 2020
ASTM D3588-98(2017)

Standard Practice for Calculating Heat Value, Compressibility Factor, and Relative Density of Gaseous Fuels

Standard Practice for Calculating Heat Value, Compressibility Factor, and Relative Density of Gaseous Fuels
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Significance and Use

5.1 The heating value is a measure of the suitability of a pure gas or a gas mixture for use as a fuel; it indicates the amount of energy that can be obtained as heat by burning a unit of gas. For use as heating agents, the relative merits of gases from different sources and having different compositions can be compared readily on the basis of their heating values. Therefore, the heating value is used as a parameter for determining the price of gas in custody transfer. It is also an essential factor in calculating the efficiencies of energy conversion devices such as gas-fired turbines. The heating values of a gas depend not only upon the temperature and pressure, but also upon the degree of saturation with water vapor. However, some calorimetric methods for measuring heating values are based upon the gas being saturated with water at the specified conditions.

5.2 The relative density (specific gravity) of a gas quantifies the density of the gas as compared with that of air under the same conditions.


1.1 This practice covers procedures for calculating heating value, relative density, and compressibility factor at base conditions (14.696 psia and 60°F (15.6°C)) for natural gas mixtures from compositional analysis.2 It applies to all common types of utility gaseous fuels, for example, dry natural gas, reformed gas, oil gas (both high and low Btu), propane-air, carbureted water gas, coke oven gas, and retort coal gas, for which suitable methods of analysis as described in Section 6 are available. Calculation procedures for other base conditions are given.

1.2 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as the standard. The SI units given 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 and health 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.

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Book of Standards Volume: 05.06
Developed by Subcommittee: D03.03
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.1520/D3588-98R17
ICS Code: 75.160.30