IP 160: Crude petroleum and liquid petroleum products - Laboratory determination of density - Hydrometer method

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  • Method adopted/last revised: 1999
  • Method reapproved: None
  • REF/ISBN: IP160-2935231
  • Status: Current
  • First printed in STM books: January 1999


This International Standard specifies a method for the laboratory determination, using a glass hydrometer, of the density at 15 °C of crude petroleum, liquid petroleum products, and mixtures of petroleum and non-petroleum products normally handled as liquids and having a Reid vapour pressure (RVP) of 100 kPa or less.

This International Standard is suitable for determining the density of mobile transparent liquids. It can also be used for viscous liquids by carrying out the determinations at temperatures above ambient using a suitable liquid bath for temperature control. It can also be used for opaque liquids by reading the hydrometer scale where the top of the meniscus meets the stem of the hydrometer and applying a correction from table 1 (see 11 .2).

Since hydrometers are calibrated to read correctly at the specified temperature, scale readings made at other temperatures are only hydrometer readings and not values of density at these other temperatures.


1 The accuracy of the density, determined by the procedures given in this International Standard, for volatile and/or waxy crude oils containing free and/or suspended water and sediments can be less than inferred from the precision data quoted in clause 13. This is due to the possible loss of light components during sample mixing. However, sample mixing is necessary to ensure that the test portion transferred to the hydrometer cylinder is as representative as possible of the bulk sample. Techniques are given in clause 7 which are designed to minimize such loss of light component.

2 Values of density at 15 °C can be converted using the standard API gravity or relativ density so that measurements may be made in the units of local convenience.

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