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Prompt Gamma-ray Activation Analysis for Certification of Sulfur in Fuel Oil SRMs



Rick L. Paul


A combination of cold neutron prompt gamma-ray activation analysis (CNPGAA) and thermal neutron (TN) PGAA was used to determine sulfur in fuel oils down to 0.1 % for the purpose of developing a method to provide values for certification. The cold neutron PGAA instrument on neutron guide NGD at the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) was used to measure S/H mass ratios, with mixtures of L-cystine/graphite/urea and Na2SO4/graphite/urea used as standards. The VT5 thermal neutron PGAA instrument was used to measure hydrogen mass fractions, with H sensitivity calibrated vs sample mass using 95 % ethanol, H2O, and solutions of Na2SO4 as calibrants. Sulfur was determined by combining TNPGAA and CNPGAA measurements. Sulfur mass fractions (with expanded uncertainties) of 2.1059 % ± 0.072 % for SRM 1622e, 0.7066 % ± 0.0120 % for SRM 1619b, and 0.1266 % ± 0.0030 % for SRM 1617b, in agreement with certified values. The results validate the method as being suitable for producing sulfur values for certification at mass fractions down to 0.1 %
Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry


prompt gamma-ray activation analysis, cold neutrons, thermal neutrons, analytical chemistry, sulfur, fossil fuels, fuel oils, reference materials


Paul, R. (2017), Prompt Gamma-ray Activation Analysis for Certification of Sulfur in Fuel Oil SRMs, Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, [online], (Accessed May 29, 2024)


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Created February 8, 2017, Updated November 10, 2018