IP 438: Petroleum products - Determination of water - Coulometric Karl Fischer titration method

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  • Method adopted/last revised: 2001
  • Method reapproved: 2013
  • REF/ISBN: IP438-2934869
  • Status: Current
  • First printed in STM books: January 2001


This International Standard specifies a method for the direct determination of water in petroleum products boiling below 390 °C. It covers the mass fraction range 0,003 % (m/m) to 0,100 % (m/m). It is not applicable to products containing ketones or to residual fuel oils.

This International Standard may be applicable to lubricating base oils. However, the precision has not been established for these materials.

The precision given in clause 12 is based upon data obtained using dual-cell, dual-electrolyte systems.

NOTE 1 - A number of substances and classes of compounds associated with condensation or oxidation-reduction reactions interfere in the determination of water by Karl Fischer titration. In petroleum products, the most common interferences are hydrogen sulfide and mercaptan sulfur, however, mass fractions of these below 0,003 % (m/m) as sulfur will not cause significant interference over the range 0,003 % (m/m) to 0,100 % (m/m) water. Other organic sulfur compounds commonly present such as sulfides, disulphides and thiophenes, do not interfere.

NOTE 2 - An alternative procedure is provided for information in annex B for the direct determination of water over the range 0,003 % (V/V) to 0,100 % (V/V) in petroleum products. The limitations under which this alternative volume measurement may be used are listed in annex B.

NOTE 3 - For the purposes of this International Standard, the terms "% (m/m)" and "% (V/V)" are used to represent the mass and volume fraction of a material respectively.

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