Hydrocarbon Impurity Testing

A new ASTM International standard aims to meet an industry need for testing impurities in hydrocarbons. Specifically, the test method addresses concerns with impurities in monomer feedstocks found in ethylene and propylene.

“The value of ethylene and propylene is partially based on purity, making accurate, low-level analysis and standardization important,” says member Shannon Coleman, an application scientist at Agilent Technologies. “This method analyzes permanent gasses such as hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, methane, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide to levels as low as parts-per-billion.”

According to Coleman, a pulsed discharge helium ionization detector helps meet the challenge posed by analyzing gases at such levels.

The new standard (soon to be published as D8098) was created by ASTM International’s committee on petroleum products, liquid fuels, and lubricants (D02).

Ethylene and propylene monomer producers, as well as polymer producers, will find the new standard most useful.

In addition to the new standard, the subcommittee on ethylene is developing a proposed standard for determining impurities in ethylene and propylene by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (WK55121). The test method will help determine impurities in ethylene and propylene that could affect downstream polymer process operations.


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