What is Saybolt Color?

According to the Smithsonian, "George M. Saybolt (d. 1924) organized the Inspection Laboratory of the Standard Oil Co., managed it for 36 years, and designed the "Universal Chromometer" for use with refined petroleum oils. Saybolt's instrument was adopted as a standard test by the United States Fuel Association (by 1919), the American Society for Testing Materials (1923), the National Petroleum Association, and the American Petroleum Institute."

The Saybolt color test is often used to determine if a fuel contains contaminants or has degraded during storage. Specifically that the saybolt color chart is used as an indication of the overall purity of kerosene and can identify if improper storage or handling of the fuel has occurred. The measurement of the color of petroleum products is also defined by ASTM D1500.

The visual Saybolt color test is often used for manufacturing control purposes because it is an easy, rapid determination of product quality or contamination. Saybolt color (reference ASTM D156, ASTM D6045) is primarily used in characterizing fuels including automobile and aviation gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel and other petroleum products. The Saybolt color scale varies from near water white (30) to dark yellow (-16). Both of these ASTM methods are off-line manual laboratory methods.

Need help measuring the Saybolt Scale in your processing Facility?

The Saybolt Analyzer from Guided Wave has been specifically designed to measure the color of petroleum products in the processing facility. With up to two sampling locations, users can monitor the quality of their fuel blends in real time. The Saybolt Analyzer from Guided Wave complies with ASTM methods D156 and D6045.