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CPB30503- Petrochemicals & Petroleum Refining Technology

Experiment 2: Determination of API gravity P a g e |1

1.0 OBJECTIVES

The main purposes of this experiment are therefore:

i. To determine the specific gravity of oil using hydrometer and density meter.
ii. To compare the specific gravity and API gravity of different oils.

2.0 SUMMARY
The experiment was carried out under few objectives. First, it was in order to
determine specific gravity of oil using hydrometer and density meter. The types of oil used
were lubricant oil, diesel, kerosene and petrol. The average readings for density of each oil
was studied using hydrometer and density meter which then to be proceed with the
calculation for specific gravity. The density values for oils then were compared with the
standard value to determine the accuracy of the equipment respectively and it had been stated
that density meter gave more accurate readings. Final objective was to compare specific
gravity and API gravity of the oils, where API gravity was calculated by using the given
formula and it occurred that the relationship between API gravity and specific gravity is an
inverse.

3.0 INTRODUCTION AND THEORY

API gravity is defined as American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity is an arbitrary scale
expressing the gravity or density of liquid petroleum products. The API gravity value is in
range 10 to 50 API. API gravity is the most commonly used property to classify crude oil
and refined petroleum products in petroleum industry. It has also been used to predict many
other characteristics of petroleum oils such as sulphur content (Yasin et al., 2013). API is
related to specific gravity in a way that it introduces scale for oils that are lighter than water
which is measure of how heavy or light a petroleum liquid is compared to water (Santos et
al., 2014) where it is calculated using the specific gravity of oil. The higher API gravity of oil
than water, oil will floats when mix with water. API gravity is found as follows:

141.5
API gravity (API) = 131.5 (1)


Specific density, y (at 60 F = ; where pwater= 1 g/cm3 or 1000 kg/m3 (2)
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Specific gravity, y, for API calculation is always determined at 60 degree Fahrenheit


is a relative value where it dimensionless, is a ratio of the density of one substance to the
density of a reference substance, usually water at the same temperature. Temperature and
pressure play a major part when measuring specific gravity (Yasin et al., 2013). In industries,
temperature may vary depending on its own standards and needs. The API gravity is the
standard specific gravity used by the oil industry, which compares the density of oil to that of
water through a calculation designed to ensure consistency in measurement. Less dense oil or
light oil is preferable to more dense oil as it contains greater quantities of hydrocarbons that
can be converted to gasoline. Specific gravity of liquid in the oil industry is often measured
by sense form of hydrometer that has its special scale.

API gravity value has been used to determine the specification of the oil and to
categorize the type of oil itself where lower specific gravity value will increase the API
gravity value. Next, sulphur content in crude oil is indicated based on the API gravity in the
crude oil where the higher the API gravity value, the lower the sulphur content in the crude
oil. From API gravity value, the higher the API gravity, more paraffinic crude oil, the higher
yields of gasoline and the lighter the compound. In contrast, the lower the API gravity, more
aromatic crude oil, the lower yields of gasoline, the heavier the compound.

Basically, API gravity is used to determine classification of oil into 4 types which is
light, medium, heavy and extra heavy which are:

i. Light crude oil is defined as having API gravity higher than 31.1 API.
ii. Medium crude oil is defined as having API gravity between 22.3 API and 31.1 API.
iii. Heavy crude oil is defined as having API gravity less than 22.3 API.
iv. Extra heavy crude oil is defined as having API gravity less than 10 API.
(Petroleum.co.uk., 2017)

Hydrometer and density meter methods are commonly used in order to determine the
specific gravity of oil and to compare specific gravity and API gravity of crude petroleum
and liquids petroleum products (Rand, 2003). Hydrometer and density meter differs on the
way the reading is recorded, manually and digitally.

Apart from determining density, hydrometer is also used to determined oil gravity in the
oil field. When a hydrometer is placed in oil, it will float with its axis vertical after it has
displaced a mass of oil equal to the mass of hydrometer where the reading will be read
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manually, it benefits in a way that it is portable, fast-giving-result and cheap. The hydrometer
can be used at atmospheric pressure or at any other pressure in a pressure cylinder (Yasin et
al., 2013). The only problem is the accuracy and chances of parallax errors to occur are high.

The portable density meter is an accurate tool to determine the density of the sample.
Density is measured by a hollow, oscillating U-tube. The frequency of vibration of the U-tube
is directly related to the density of the liquid sample. Temperature is measured at the same
time, and the instrument automatically performs the temperature correction. The DMA 35N
handheld digital density meter defines the state of the art of portable density measurement. It
had been designed for use in the most demanding industrial environments. The DMA 35N
will give the density, specific density or % concentration of the sample by simply press the
lever on the built-in-pimp and within seconds the results are shown on the large, bright
display. The DMA 35N consists of three main parts which are an RS 232 interface with
infrared data port, a rubber shock protector and elongated filling tube.

These two methods covers the laboratory determination, using a glass hydrometer, of
the density, relative density, or API gravity of crude petroleum, petroleum products, or
mixtures of petroleum and non-petroleum products normally handled as liquids and having a
Reid vapour pressure of 1.8 bar (179 kPa) or less (Rand, 2003). The values are measured on a
hydrometer at convenient temperatures, readings of density being reduced to 15 C, and that
of specific gravity and API gravity to 15.6 C, by means of international standard tables
(Rand, 2003).

Generally, density meter is more accurate compare to hydrometer because it is auto


reading by digital measurement and make it less error occur when conducting the experiment.
In contrast, hydrometer is less accurate due to affect by many factors such as hydrometer
keep on bouncing up and down and will easily cause parallax error.
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4.0 RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS/ TUTORIAL


RESULTS

Experiment 2A: Determination of special gravity using hydrometer procedure

Petroleum Density (g/cm3) Specific API


Product 1 2 3 Average gravity gravity

Diesel 0.836 0.837 0.837 0.8367 0.8367 37.62


Petrol 0.778 0.780 0.779 0.779 0.7790 50.14
Kerosene 0.795 0.795 0.795 0.795 0.7950 46.49

Lubricating
0.845 0.845 0.844 0.845 0.8447 36.02
oil

Experiment 2B: Determination of specific gravity using density meter

Petroleum Density (g/cm3) Specific API


Product 1 2 3 Average gravity gravity

Diesel 0.8364 0.8363 0.8363 0.8363 0.8363 37.70


Petrol 0.7794 0.7796 0.7797 0.7796 0.7796 50.00
Kerosene 0.7952 0.7957 0.7959 0.7956 0.7956 46.35

Lubricating
0.8474 0.8472 0.8453 0.8466 0.8466 35.64
oil

DISCUSSIONS

This experiment has been conducted in order for student to fulfil the objectives which are to
determine the specific gravity of oil using hydrometer and density meter and also to compare
the specific gravity and API gravity of different oils. This experiment involves four different
type of oil that were used as the indicator for each parameters which are diesel, petrol,
kerosene and also the lubricating oil. The specific gravity and also the API gravity were set to
be the major finding in this experiment by using different apparatus which are the hydrometer
and also the density meter.
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Furthermore this experiment have been separated into two parts which A and B. For
the part A, it is to determine the specific gravity using the hydrometer procedure. The result
from this part shows that lubricating oil has the highest specific gravity which is 0.8447
compared to diesel (0.8367), kerosene (0.7950), and diesel (0.8367). The specific gravity can
be define as the ratio between the density of an object to a reference liquid which usually
used is the water. For API gravity result, petrol shows the highest value of API gravity which
is 50.14 compared to the others oil which 46.49 for kerosene, 37.62 for diesel, and lastly
36.02 for the lubricating oil. The API gravity is a measure of how heavy or light a petroleum
liquid is compared to water. By referring to the theory, it was said that API gravity which is
greater than 10 , the oil is lighter and will floats on the water and if it is less than 10 the oil is
heavier and it will sinks into the water.

The experiment was continue to be carried out for part B which was the determination
of specific gravity using the density meter. For this part the result for the specific gravity and
also the API gravity for each oil shows slightly different from the result produce by the
hydrometer. The specific gravity for this part shows that lubricating oil still is the highest
which 0.8466 compare to the other oil which 0.8363 for diesel, 0.7956 for kerosene and
0.7796 for petrol. For the API gravity, the value obtained are 50.00 for petrol, 46.35 for
kerosene, 37.70 for diesel and 35.64 for lubricating oil. Basically the result from this two
parts of experiment even the value are slightly different which lubricating oil have the highest
specific gravity and petrol are with the highest API gravity.

The theory behind the result can be explained by the properties of the oil itself. From
the result it can be said that oil with the higher API gravity contains more paraffinic crude
which will produce greater yield of the gasoline. API gravity also shows the weight of the oil
where high number of API gravity is said to be more lighter compare to low API gravity. For
this case, petrol is said to be the oil which have high number of paraffinic crude compared to
the other oil. For the oil which have low API gravity value, it shows that the oil contain high
number of aromatic crude which then affecting the density of the liquid. Higher number in
the aromatic crude will resulting in heavier the oil it will be and force to produce lower yields
of gasoline.

In addition, for the specific gravity both for hydrometer and also the density meter
lubricating oil have recorded the highest specific gravity compared to the other oil. The
specific gravity itself can be defined as the ratio between the density of the object to the
CPB30503- Petrochemicals & Petroleum Refining Technology
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density of water. Based on the theory, those with specific gravity greater than 1 are denser
than water and will affecting the surface tension thus sink into the water. From the pattern of
the results, it can be said that the higher the density the lower the API gravity it will be. This
can be explained by paraffinic and the aromatic crude which contain inside the oil that will be
affecting the weight of the oil.

TUTORIAL

1. Calculate the API gravities of each oil.

Using hydrometer:

141.5
Diesel , SG = 0.8367 API = - 131.5 = 37.62

141.5
Petrol , SG = 0.7790 API = - 131.5 = 50.14

141.5
Kerosene , SG = 0.7950 API = - 131.5 = 46.49

141.5
Lubricating oil, SG = 0.8447 API = - 131.5 = 36.02

Using density meter:

141.5
Diesel , SG = 0.8363 API = - 131.5 = 37.70

141.5
Petrol , SG = 0.7796 API = - 131.5 = 50.00

141.5
Kerosene , SG = 0.7956 API = - 131.5 = 46.35

141.5
Lubricating oil, SG = 0.8466 API = - 131.5 = 35.64

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2. What does the specific gravity and API gravity indicate?

The American Petroleum Institute gravity, or API gravity, is a measure of how heavy
or light a petroleum liquid is compared to water: if its API gravity is greater than 10, it is
lighter and floats on water; if less than 10, it is heavier and sinks.
API gravity is thus an inverse measure of a petroleum liquid's density relative to that of
water (also known as specific gravity). It is used to compare densities of petroleum liquids.
Crude oil is classified as light, medium, or heavy according to its measured API gravity.

Light crude oil has an API gravity higher than 31.1


Medium oil has an API gravity between 22.3 and 31.1
Heavy crude oil has an API gravity below 22.3
Extra heavy oil has an API gravity below 10.0

The specific gravity is the ratio between the density of an object, and a reference
substance. The specific gravity can tell us, based on its value, if the object will sink or float
in our reference substance. Usually our reference substance is water which always has a
density of 1 gram per milliliter or 1 gram per cubic centimeter.
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5.0 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

CONCLUSION

The objectives of this Experiment 2 : Determination of API Gravity is to determine


specific gravity of oil using hydrometer and density meter and to compare specific gravity
and API gravity of different oils. As you can see from the stated objectives above, the
experiment is divided into two parts. The first part is to determine specific gravity by using
hydrometer and the second part is to determine the specific gravity by using the density
meter. There are two different apparatus with the same purpose which is to determine the
specific gravity. The differences between these two apparatus is their efficiency to give an
accurate result. Hydrometer is a glass body which s dipped into the sample. For the second
apparatus, density meter is an automatic apparatus which allow the tube to suck in the sample
and the specific gravity of the sample will appear at the screen. Based on the result of using
hydrometer, lubricating oil has the highest specific gravity which is 0.8447 compared to
diesel (0.8367), kerosene (0.7950), and diesel (0.8367). For API gravity result, petrol shows
the highest value of API gravity which is 50.14 compared to the others oil which 46.49 for
kerosene, 37.62 for diesel, and lastly 36.02 for the lubricating oil. From using the density
meter, lubricating oil still is the highest which 0.8466 compare to the other oil which 0.8363
for diesel, 0.7956 for kerosene and 0.7796 for petrol. For the API gravity, the value obtained
are 50.00 for petrol, 46.35 for kerosene, 37.70 for diesel and 35.64 for lubricating oil. The
hypothesis of this experiment is the higher the specific gravity, the lower the API gravity.
The conclusion from the result above is for the oil (lubricating oil) with low API gravity
contain high number of aromatic crude. Thus, resulting in heavier the oil will be and produce
lower yields of gasoline. Meanwhile, petrol have the highest API gravity, which is said to
have high number of paraffinic crude compared to other oil.
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RECOMMENDATIONS

Hydrometer is a manual apparatus and they only suitable to use only on one sample.
In this experiment, the hydrometer was not cleaned well and still may have traces of others
sample (oil). Thus, it will affect the value that was obtained. Besides that, there might be a
parallax error where the position of the eye is not parallel to the scale during measuring of the
specific gravity. Hence, the result that was recorded is not entirely accurate. Other than that,
there might be a slight bubble exist in the tube of the density meter during the sucking of the
sample. Therefore, the value that occurred on the screen of the density meter is not correct.
To overcome the problems above, the hydrometer must be cleaned well. The hydrometer
should be rinsed with soap and water to make sure the glass surface is clean and not
contaminated with other sample. Next, to make sure that was no parallax error occurred is by
placing the right eye positioning that was parallel to the scale. This is to get the accurate
value on the scale. Last but not least, to avoid any bubble in the tube of density meter is by
immersing the tube fully into the sample and suck the sample slowly and carefully.