What are the methods for detecting sulfur content in petroleum?

May 19, 2023

The commonly used methods for analyzing total sulfur include:; Microcoulomb method, lamp burning method, oxygen bomb method, ability dispersive X-ray fluorescence method, ultraviolet fluorescence method, etc.


Lamp burning method:

Suitable for measuring the sulfur content of light petroleum products (gasoline, kerosene, diesel, etc.) with Reid vapor pressure not exceeding 60mmhg column.

Method summary: Burn petroleum products in a lamp, absorb the generated carbon dioxide with sodium carbonate aqueous solution, and determine it using volumetric analysis.


Microcoulometric method

The optimal conditions for determining sulfur-containing oil samples using Coulomb titration method are: the furnace temperature in the cracking section is 1000 ℃, and the air flow rate is 1L/min,

The residence time of the cracking section shall not be less than 2.5 minutes. The sampling amount for low sulfur oil (with sulfur content less than 1%) is 10-20mg, the sampling amount for medium sulfur oil (with sulfur content between 1% and 2%) is 9.5-11.5mg, and the sampling amount for high sulfur oil (with sulfur content greater than 2%) is about 5.5mg. The combustion is relatively sufficient, and there is no carbon deposition, and the measurement results are relatively accurate.

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X-ray spectroscopy:

Energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy is a widely used detection method for sulfur content determination in the range of 0.05%~5%. This method has high automation, simple and easy detection methods, and short time

Method summary: This method places product samples in the X-ray beam of an X-ray source, selects standard standard curves and measurement times, determines the intensity of sulfur Ka characteristic spectral lines, and compares them with calibration intensity to determine the mass percentage of sulfur content concentration in petroleum products. The method is simple and easy to operate, with low labor intensity, fast analysis, and high work efficiency.


Oxygen bomb method


Suitable for measuring the total sulfur content of heavy petroleum products such as lubricating oil and heavy fuel oil

Method summary: The sample is burned in an oxygen bomb, washed out with distilled water, and then precipitated with barium chloride to determine the sulfur content in the sample


Method characteristics: ① Mainly used for determining samples with high sulfur content. ② The measurement time is long and complex

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UV fluorescence detection method


The ultraviolet fluorescence sulfur analyzer combines the principles of ultraviolet fluorescence spectrophotometry and spectrophotometry to accurately measure sulfur content. It mainly detects the sulfur content of unknown substances through spectral analysis.

The principle of ultraviolet fluorescence method is used to determine the total sulfur content, which is suitable for testing the sulfur content of gasoline and diesel including the national V standard. It can be widely used to determine crude benzene, coal tar, gasoline, diesel oil, lubricating oil, crude oil distillate, liquefied petroleum gas, gas, natural gas, plastics, petrochemical products, etc