ASTM D976 / D4737 - Cetane Index
Significance and Use
3.1 The Calculated Cetane Index is one tool available for estimating ASTM cetane number where a test engine is not available for determining this property. It may be employed for approximating cetane number where the quantity of sample is too small for an engine rating. In cases where the cetane number of a fuel has been initially established, the index is useful as a cetane number check on subsequent samples of that fuel, provided its source and mode of manufacture remain unchanged.
3.2 Test Method D4737 may also be used to approximate the ASTM cetane number of diesel fuels.
3.2.1 Procedure A of Test Method D4737 was developed as a result of a larger degree of offset between Test Method D976 Cetane Index and the results of Test Method D613 over the entire range of the correlation. Generally, it has been found that use of Test Method D4737 results in less offset than use of Test Method D976, but there can be specific cases where this is not true.
3.2.2 Procedure A of Test Method D4737 is recommended to estimate the cetane number of diesel fuels with sulfur contents above 500 ppm or No. 1–D diesel fuels.
3.2.3 Procedure B of Test Method D4737 is recommended to estimate the cetane number of No. 2–D diesel fuels with sulfur contents at or below 500 ppm.
3.3 Calculated Cetane Index, as described in Test Method D976–80, is recognized by the United States EPA as an alternative method to meet the U.S. Federal Diesel aromatics limit for diesel fuels containing less than 500 ppm sulfur. The equation for Calculated Cetane Index in Test Method D976–80 and in this version (D976–06) of the test method are the same.
1.1 This test method covers the Calculated Cetane Index formula, which represents a means for directly estimating the ASTM cetane number of distillate fuels from API gravity and mid-boiling point. The index value, as computed from the formula, is termed the Calculated Cetane Index.2
1.2 The Calculated Cetane Index is not an optional method for expressing ASTM cetane number. It is a supplementary tool to estimate cetane number when used with due regard for its limitations.
1.3 The Calculated Cetane Index formula is particularly applicable to straight-run fuels, catalytically cracked stocks, and blends of the two.
NOTE 1: This test method is temporarily retained because the proposal to the U.S. EPA to control diesel fuel aromatics concentrations via a 40 Calculated Cetane Index minimum is based on the correlation between Test Method D976 and aromatics concentration. Test Method D4737 is the preferred method as estimator of cetane number.
1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
Extracted, with permission, from ASTM D976 - 06(2016) Standard Test Method for Calculated Cetane Index of Distillate Fuels, copyright ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken, PA 19428. A copy of the complete standard may be purchased from ASTM International, astm.org