Digestion of Petroleum Products and Lubricants for Element Analysis with ICP-OES and ICP-MS in Less than 90 Minutes

Conventional methods for the sample preparation of petroleum products and lubricants like dilution or ashing suffer from severe drawbacks. Microwave-assisted acid digestion according to ASTM D7876 is a beneficial approach to achieve reliable results in a short time frame.

Petroleum products and lubricants are routinely analyzed for their elemental content for various reasons.

In crude and residual oils the concentrations of silicon, aluminum, vanadium, nickel, iron and sodium are used to define their quality and value. Nickel and vanadium in crude oil can deactivate catalysts during processing, but also initiate corrosion in motors and boilers during the combustion when present in fuels. Silicon and aluminum serve as indicators for the presence of abrasive silicate particles, causing harm to the combustion engine. Being present as particles adds the necessity for very thorough high-speed mixing to the sampling and the sample preparation procedures. Otherwise lower recoveries for particle bound elements like silicon and partially aluminum can be experienced.

In unused products like lubricating oils the concentration of additives (which contain metals such as calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur and zinc) is an important quality control parameter.

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