Standard Active Last Updated: Dec 27, 2016
ASTM D4251-89(2016)

Standard Test Method for Active Matter in Anionic Surfactants by Potentiometric Titration

Significance and Use

5.1 Anionic surfactants are the most widely used of the synthetic detergents. ASTM methods in current use for their determination involve two-phase aqueous/chloroform titrations with the organic dyes methylene blue (Test Method D1681) or disulphine blue/dimidium bromide (Test Method D3049) as indicators. One advantage of the potentiometric method is that it eliminates the use of chloroform whose use is restricted for environmental and toxicological reasons.

5.2 This test method is intended for use as described in 1.1.


1.1 This test method describes a potentiometric titration procedure for determining the anionic active matter in detergents. It is intended for the analysis of anionic surfactants such as detergent range alkylbenzenesulfonates, α-olefin sulfonates, alcohol sulfates, and alcohol ethosulfates. It has not been tested for surfactant formulations.

1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

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. Material Safety Data Sheets are available for reagents and materials. Review them for hazards prior to usage.

(A) Methylene blue method.
(B) Mixed indicator method.

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Book of Standards Volume: 15.04
Developed by Subcommittee: D12.12
Pages: 4
DOI: 10.1520/D4251-89R16
ICS Code: 71.100.40