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Laboratories running high-temperature simulated distillation test methods to optimize petroleum refining processes are almost certainly familiar with the term ‘reference oil 5010’.

This term is described in ASTM test methods D7500, D6352, and D7169.

Using reference oil 5010 is used as a QC reference material to validate whether the boiling point distribution determined by these test methods is correct.

Laboratories using reference oil 5010 may be unaware that global supply is nearly gone and there is no plan to replace it. Fortunately, ASTM’s D02.04 subcommittee anticipated this and approved an alternate reference material in December 2019. The material is referred to as the ‘gravimetric blend’. The good news is that there’s a very abundant supply of this material accessible today and it should be readily available for many years to come. 

What is the difference between reference oil 5010 and the gravimetric blend?

While reference oil 5010 is comprised of a single petroleum fraction or cut (Figure 1), the gravimetric blend contains two petroleum fractions (Figure 2).

These petroleum factions are mixed gravimetrically in proportions of equal weight.




The two fractions that comprise the gravimetric blend cover a broader boiling point range (186.9 C to 626.4 C) than 5010 (426.9 C to 656.1 C) (See Figure 3). 


As such, the boiling point distribution of the gravimetric blend compares somewhat better to that typically found for the samples analyzed by the high-temperature simulated distillation methods.