Elements, ICP for fuels

OELCHECK test instrument: Spectro Arcos ICP-OES
Sample quantity: 5 ml
Unit: mg/kg (1,000 mg/kg = 1,000 ppm = 0.1% by weight)
Test result: aluminium, barium, lead, boron, chromium, iron, potassium, calcium, copper, magnesium, molybdenum, sodium, nickel, phosphorus, sulphur, silicon, zinc, tin

Indicated if the values are over 1 mg/kg:
manganese, silver, titanium, vanadium
Result range: 0 - 5,000 ppm
Analysis for: diesel fuel
Brief description:

The samples are stirred thoroughly in a sample changer, before being pumped into the nebuliser with a peristaltic pump. They are then atomised with an argon flow. The aerosol then enters a cyclone chamber where the large drops are removed. The aerosol, now prepared, enters the plasma, a mixture of atoms, ions and electrons. The temperature is approx. 10,000 °C. This extremely hot plasma provides the energy to stimulate the individual elements.

The resulting radiation emitted, which has a characteristic wavelength for each individual element, is spread out spectrally and detected with a CCD chip. This allows an entire emission spectrum to be absorbed.


The ICP procedure can identify over 30 wear metals, contaminants and additives with an optimum detection limit.

Contaminants can give important clues to possible problems. If certain elements – typical for additives – are found, this can be an indication of possible contamination, e.g. with engine oil or in some cases with oil from a hydraulic system.

If e.g. iron is found in the elemental analysis, this may be an indication of corrosion or the addition of iron-containing fuel additives.

Underlying test standard: OELCHECK test method OPM 046