Work Item
ASTM WK81130

New Test Method for Determination of Saturate, Olefinic, Aromatic and Polyaromatic Content of Plastic Liquids from Chemical or Thermal Processes Using Gas Chromatography with Vacuum Ultraviolet Absorption Spectroscopy Detection (GC-VUV)

1. Scope

1. Scope*
1.1 This test method covers a standard procedure for the determination of group type totals of saturate, olefinic, aromatic and polyaromatic content of plastic liquids from chemical or thermal processes using gas chromatography and vacuum ultraviolet absorption spectroscopy detection (GCVUV).
1.1.1 This test method is applicable for plastic recycling and circular schemes including wide range density material from polyethylene and polypropylene.
1.1.2 This test method is applicable to plastic liquids that are predominantly hydrocarbons in the boiling range of pentane, nC5 (36°C) to hexacontane, nC60 (615°C).
1.2 Concentrations of group type totals are determined by percent mass or percent volume. The applicable working ranges are as follows:
Total Aromatics %Mass 0.1 to 79
Monoaromatics %Mass 0.1 to 68
Diaromatics %Mass 0.027 to 35
Tri-plus aromatics %Mass 0.45 to 7
PAH %Mass 0.028 to 42
Saturates %Mass 0.1 to 80
Olefins %Mass 0.1 to 50

1.2.1 Saturates totals are the result of the summation of normal paraffins, isoparaffins and naphthenes.
1.2.2 Aromatics are the summation of monoaromatic and polyaromatic group types. Polyaromatic totals are the result of the summation of diaromatic and tri-plus aromatic group types.
1.2.3 Olefin totals are the result of the sum of alpha olefins, mono-olefins, conjugated diolefins, non-conjugated diolefins and cyclic olefins.

1.3 Plastics liquids and oils from mixed plastic types such as polyethylene terephthalate PET, polystyrene and polyvinylchloride or from other material such as azo-dyes may contain compounds including hetero-compounds that are not speciated by this test method.
1.4 Individual components are typically not baseline separated by the procedure described in this test method. The coelutions are resolved at the detector using VUV absorbance spectra and deconvolution algorithms.


plastic recycling; pyrolysis; saturates; olefins; aromatics; plastics


Waste plastic is a global problem. Solid waste plastic recycling and circular schemes can result in plastic liquids from chemical or thermal processes. Pyrolysis of the waste plastic is a common process to produce liquids for subsequent uses. There is no standradized test method to characterize the chemical nature of these products.

The title and scope are in draft form and are under development within this ASTM Committee.


Developed by Subcommittee: D02.04.0L

Committee: D02

Staff Manager: Alyson Fick

Work Item Status

Date Initiated: 03-01-2022

Technical Contact: Dan Wispinski

Item: 000