Accurate elemental analysis of low silicon, sulfur and chlorine content in petroleum products and automotive fuels

This data sheet describes the analysis of low-level silicon, sulfur and chlorine in petrochemical products and automotive fuels with the Epsilon 4 Oil & Fuels. Click to also learn about the Epsilon 1 Sulfur in Fuels, XRF Sulfur Analyzer

Analysis of silicon, sulfur and chlorine in petroleum products and automotive fuels is crucial to conform to increasingly stringent environmental regulations. Additionally, high concentrations of these elements have detrimental effects on engine performance and often need to be determined at low levels.
X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) is widely used for the analysis of these elements. Simple sample preparation, high accuracy and precision and good detection limits are the principle reasons for this choice.

This application note describes the analysis of low-level silicon, sulfur and chlorine in petrochemical products and automotive fuels.

Instrumentation and software.

Measurements were performed using an Epsilon 4 EDXRF spectrometer, equipped with a 10W, 50 kV silver anode X-ray tube, 6 filters, helium purge facility, high-resolution silicon drift detector, spinner and a 10-position removable sample changer. Automatic data processing was performed using Epsilon software. Moreover, the proprietary silver anode X-ray tube, prevents line overlaps with chlorine resulting in a lower chlorine detection limit compared to rhodium-anode or palladium-anode based X-ray

tubes (Figure 1).

Sample preparation

A series of commercially available diesel standards from VHG Labs Inc. (U.S.) were used to set up calibrations for Si, S and Cl. Aliquots (7.5 g) of these standards were poured into a liquid cell, assembled with a 2.5 µm Mylar® supporting foil and placed in the sample changer carousel.

Measurement conditions

Two measuring conditions were used for the low-level Si, S, and Cl analysis, resulting in a total measurement time of 10 minutes per sample (Table 1).

Table 1. Measurement conditions


Figure 1. Spectrum of 100 mg/kg chlorine in diesel fuel, demonstrating the excellent resolution between the chlorine Kα and silver Lα lines (from X-ray tube)


Accurate calibrations and detection limits

The calibration graph for chlorine in diesel fuel (Figure 2) illustrates a good correlation between the certified concentrations and the measured intensities.

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