• Updated ASTM D6304 Karl Fischer oven technique approved for determination of water content in petrochemicals
  • Karl Fischer oven method: no contamination of the titration cell and no matrix interferences

Analytical Instrumentation

Updated ASTM D6304 Karl Fischer oven technique approved for determination of water content in petrochemicals

Feb 14 2022

Poorly soluble, viscous and often highly contaminated– determining the water content in lubricants, hydraulic oils, and other petrochemical samples can be a messy business. Addressing these challenges, ASTM recently revised standard method D6304. The revised standard now includes the Karl Fischer oven technique. A free white paper from Metrohm describes how users can conveniently and accurately determine water content in up to 35 samples fully automatically by coulometric Karl Fischer titration.

Using the Karl Fischer oven technique, the oil matrix does not come into contact with the titration cell at all. Instead, the samples are introduced in single-use vials, which are put on the rack of an oven sample processor. Heating vial by vial, the water contained in the samples is evaporated. A constant stream of an inert carrier gas is used to bring the water fraction into the titration cell, where it is determined coulometrically. The sample matrix stays in the vials, which are disposed of after the titration. This method eliminates contamination of the KF titration cell and matric interference. Less solvents are needed and operators achieve improved reproducibility of results. Automation is possible for serial, completely unattended determination of multiple samples

QC laboratories from the petrochemical sector and contract laboratories with high sample loads can use the Karl Fischer oven technique to increase efficiency of their routine analysis in compliance with the official standard.


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