Flash point is the lowest temperature at which a liquid (usually a petroleum product) will form a vapor in the air near its surface that will “flash,” or briefly ignite, on exposure to an open flame1. Back in the late 1800s, flash point was a lived experience. Households primarily used kerosene for heat and light, and open flame was a part of every day. Bad kerosene – fuel diluted with gasoline or other contaminants – delivered unpredictable flash points and bad results. Fires and explosions were fairly common. These shared catastrophes ushered in a focused effort to establish meaningful standards for various grades of petroleum. Both ASTM2 and OSHA3 have created standard flash point measurement methods that are used today.
If you asked Canadian petroleum chemist J.S. Charlesworth in 1947 what the most important characteristic of lubricating oil was, he would have said, Viscosity1. After all, he said, “it’s a measure of the oil’s resistance to flow, or of its internal friction…[i]t indicates…the ability of an oil to support loads.” At just about the mid-20th century, the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) published a set of standards for the measurement of viscosity of petroleum products2. Of course, the importance of viscosity is well known today, and there are standard methods worldwide to ensure uniformity of testing.
We are pleased to announce that we have added a complete range of physical reference materials to our product portfolio through our recent acquisition of Paragon Scientific. The Paragon portfolio compliments the elemental analysis products we currently offer under our VHG, ARMI and MBH Industrial sector brands and provides a more complete offering to our customers.