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ASTM D287 - API Gravity of Crude Petroleum and Petroleum Products (Hydrometer Method)

Significance and Use

5.1 Accurate determination of the gravity of petroleum and its products is necessary for the conversion of measured volumes to volumes at the standard temperature of 60 °F (15.56 °C).

5.2 This procedure is most suitable for determining the API gravity of low viscosity transparent liquids. This test method can also be used for viscous liquids by allowing sufficient time for the hydrometer to reach temperature equilibrium, and for opaque liquids by employing a suitable meniscus correction. Additionally for both transparent and opaque fluids the readings shall be corrected for the thermal glass expansion effect before correcting to the reference temperature.

5.3 When used in connection with bulk oil measurements, volume correction errors are minimized by observing the hydrometer reading at a temperature as close to reference temperature as feasible.

5.4 Gravity is a factor governing the quality of crude oils. However, the gravity of a petroleum product is an uncertain indication of its quality. Correlated with other properties, gravity can be used to give approximate hydrocarbon composition and heat of combustion.

5.5 Gravity is an important quality indicator for automotive, aviation and marine fuels, where it affects storage, handling and combustion.

1. Scope

1.1 This test method covers the determination by means of a glass hydrometer in conjunction with a series of calculations of the API gravity of crude petroleum and petroleum products normally handled as liquids and having a Reid vapor pressure (Test Method D323) of 101.325 kPa (14.696 psi) or less. Gravities are determined at 60 °F (15.56 °C), or converted to values at 60 °F, by means of Adjunct to D1250 Guide for Petroleum Measurement Tables (API MPMS Chapter 11.1). These tables are not applicable to nonhydrocarbons or essentially pure hydrocarbons such as the aromatics.

1.2 The initial values obtained are uncorrected hydrometer readings and not density measurements. Values are measured on a hydrometer at either the reference temperature or at another convenient temperature, and readings corrected for the meniscus effect, the thermal glass expansion effect, alternate calibration temperature effects and to the reference temperature by means of volume correction tables.

1.3 The hydrometer readings determined shall be recorded before performing any calculations. Then the calculations required in Section 9 shall be performed and documented before using the final result in a subsequent calculation procedure (measurement ticket calculation, meter factor calculation, or base prover volume determination).

1.4 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.


Extracted, with permission, from ASTM D287 12b  - API Gravity of Crude Petroleum and Petroleum Products (Hydrometer Method), copyright ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken, PA 19428. A copy of the complete standard may be purchased from ASTM International, astm.org