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Vapor Pressure of Gasoline, LPG and Crude Oil Vapor/Liquid Ratio Temperature of Gasoline Compliance Control using Expansion Method ASTM D 5191 ASTM D 5188 ASTM D 6377 ASTM D 6378 ASTM D 1267 ASTM D 4953 ASTM D 323 EN 13016 IP 394 IP 409





GRABNER INSTRUMENTS stands for "Innovation and Quality". Our strict commitment to both ISO 9001 and to new technology permits us to develop instruments with entirely new test-methods. Unrestrained by the traditions of current practices and standards, our R&D department only looks at the practical and theoretical requirements of a specific application to find the best and most efficient design for a new instrument. Several new American and European standards, patents and innovation awards confirm our successful philosophy.

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Vapor pressure is a very important physical property of volatile liquids for shipping and storage. The vapor pressure of gasoline, gasoline-oxygenate blends, LPG, and crude oil is regulated by various government agencies. Specifications for volatile petroleum products generally include vapor pressure or vapor/liquid ratio (V/L) limits to ensure products of suitable volatility performance.

The sample flows from the sample conditioning system via a quick connector (3) and the sample inlet valve (4) into the measuring chamber. The automatic sample introduction and the volume adjustment are accomplished by a piston with an integrated pressure transducer (1). The measuring chamber (2), with a total volume of 5 mL, is rinsed with 3 x 2.5 filled with 1 mL of sample.

Piston-based Technique
After closing the valve (4), the single or triple expansion to 5 mL (with vacuum created by piston withdrawal) is obtained by additional strokes of the piston. The temperature of the measuring cell is controlled with a high power thermoelectric module (5) and measured with a precision Pt100 RTD sensor (6). To achieve a fast pressure equilibrium, especially for crude oil, the measuring unit inside the stainless steel chamber is rocked during the test procedure.

The independent MINIVAP ONLINE measuring system, with its own microprocessor controller, is compact and mounted on a solid aluminum plate for easy access and fast exchange during maintenance. This aluminum plate is mounted in an explosion-proof stainless steel case with a Pressurization-Purging System certified for one of the following: NEMA Class 1, Groups BCD, Div2, Type "X", T6 CENELEC 1/IIB, EN 50016.

MINIVAP ON-LINE is a standalone unit and is connected directly to the sample stream via a sample conditioning system. The data are displayed on an easy to read, illuminated liquid crystal display with graphic capabilities and are also transferred to the central control units for remote monitoring. The complete system is mounted on an aluminum rack for vertical wall-mounting.

Purged System
The purge controller is mounted on the left side of the protected stainless steel enclosure. The actual measured vapor pressure is displayed on the illuminated LCD panel and can be viewed through a safety glass window in the front door of the stainless steel enclosure. The configuration of the system can be done directly on the keyboard of the controller after opening the explosion-proof enclosure. Three external pushbuttons mounted in the door enable the operator to select one of START or STOP STOP or CAL to manually initiate a calibration procedure with a standard liquid. This is all without opening the explosion-proof enclosure.

The instrument performs in full automatic mode with 10 mL of sample. The sample is drawn directly from the pressurized sample stream. To avoid contamination from the previous measurement, the measuring cell is rinsed with the sample to be measured. The minimum pressure after the sample conditioning system should be above the expected vapor pressure of the sample. The maximum pressure should not exceed 500 kPa (75 psi). This pressure is regulated in the sample conditioning system. The measured vapor pressure is independent of the pressure in the fast sample loop.

A fully automatic calibration with a standard liquid like 2.2 dimethyl-butane is performed in programmable intervals.

Calibration with Standard Liquid

The pressure reading is adjusted according to the 2.2 DMB nominal value. The adjusted value is displayed. This gives important information for maintenance personnel.

4 solenoid valves for selection from 3 different sample streams and the standard liquid for calibration are all protected by stainless steel enclosures.

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ASTM D 5191

DVPE OF GASOLINE BY SINGLE EXPANSION This method was established for a better precision as D 4953 (Dry REID) in 1993. The total pressure of 1 mL of the chilled and air-saturated sample at 37.8 C (100 F) exposed to a 5 mL chamber is measured and the dry REID vapor pressure equivalent (DVPE) is calculated with the empirical formulas:
ASTM D 5191 (Corr. to D 4953) DVPE = 0.965*Ptot - 3.78 [kPa] DVPE = 0.965*Ptot - 0.548 [psi] EPA (Corr. Herzog horizontal bomb) DVPE = 0.956*Ptot - 2.39 [kPa] DVPE = 0.956*Ptot - 0.347 [psi] CARB (Correlation to D 323) RVPE = 0.972*Ptot - 4.93 [kPa] RVPE = 0.972*Ptot - 0.715 [psi] EN 13016 IP 394

VAPOR PRESSURE OF GASOLINE BY TRIPLE EXPANSION This real breakthrough in vapor pressure determination of gasoline was achieved in 1998. Sample chilling and air-saturation are totally eliminated. With the triple expansion method, developed by GRABNER INSTRUMENTS (patents: US 4,901,559; Europe 0317557; Japan 2674721), the partial pressure of the dissolved air in the sample is determined to measure Pabs. VPx stands for Pabs at a V/L ratio of x:1. The correlation to other methods is done with a small bias correction:
ASTM D 5191 DVPE = VP4 - 1.027 DVPE = VP4 - 0.15 EPA DVPE = VP4 - 0.137 DVPE = VP4 - 0.02 CARB RVPE = VP4 - 1.575 RVPE = VP4 - 0.23[psi] ASTM D 1267 [kPa] [psi]

ASTM D 6378: VPX

ASTM D 6377

[kPa] [psi]

ASVP OF GASOLINE BY SINGLE EXPANSION Measurement of the total pressure of 1 mL of the air saturated sample at 37.8 C (100 F) exposed to a 5 mL chamber and reporting the measured pressure as ASVP (Air Saturated Vapor Pressure). A measurement of the vapor pressure of gasoline according to this procedure can only be performed if the gasoline in the stream is already air saturated or if some correlation formula is applied.
ASTM D 5188


T(V/L=20) OF GASOLINE BY SINGLE EXPANSION The temperature at which the sample with a vapor-to-liquid ratio (V/L) of 20 to 1 produces a vapor pressure of 1 atm (101.3 kPa or 14.69 psi) in an evacuated chamber.

VAPOR PRESSURE OF LPG BY SINGLE EXPANSION NEW Mini Method for Vapor Pressure (VP) of Liquefied Petroleum (LP) Gases (LP-Gas Method). It covers the use of automated VP instruments to determine the gage vapor pressure of LPG products at temperatures between 5 C and 70 C at vapor-to-liquid ratios between 0.1:1 and 4:1 and pressures from 10 to 3500 kPa (1.5 - 490 psi) relative to normal barometric pressure. Measurements are made on liquid sample sizes in the range of 1 to 5 mL against a vacuum (created by piston withdrawal) and corrected to normal barometric pressure.
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VPCRX OF CRUDE OIL BY SINGLE EXPANSION In this new mini method the total pressure VPCRx (x ...vapor to liquid ratio) referred to vacuum without any correction is measured and reported. It replaces the old ASTM D 323 method and its inherent problems, especially for crude oils with pour point temperatures below 15 C (59 F). Chilling and air saturation are eliminated. For live crude oil, a pressurized sample from a floating piston cylinder is required to prevent the loss of high vapr pressure volatiles in the sample. The measuring chamber, with a built-in piston and pressure transducer is rinsed with the sample and then filled with the required amount. A single expansion to the final volume of 5 mL, after closing the sample inlet valve, accoplishes a measurement referred to vacuum. The vapor-to-liquid ratios depend on the purpose of the measurement. REID equivalent vapor pressures are measured with V/L = 4 and vapor pressures for shipping purposes will be performed in the range of V/L = 0.2 and lower. Vapor pressures at temperatures other than 37.8 C (100F) are covered by D 6377 and are of great interest to refiners. A correlation to ASTM D 323 can be performed automatically by using the standard correlation formula:
ASTM D 323 RVPE= 0.752*VPCR4 + 6.07kPa RVPE= 0.752*VPCR4 + 0.88 psi





The measuring principle is based on the worldwide approved MINIVAP VPS vapor pressure tester. The minimum measuring cycle time is 5 minutes. The temperature of the measuring chamber is always regulated to 37.8 C (100 F). After rinsing the chamber with the sample, a specimen of 1 mL volume is drawn from the sample conditioning system into the temperature-controlled chamber by the built-in piston. After closing the inlet valve, expansions are performed by piston withdrawal in three steps to a final volume of 5 mL. After each expansion, the total pressure is determined. The partial pressure of the dissolved air and the solubility of air in the specimen are calculated from the three resulting pressures. To reach a fast pressure equilibrium, the measuring unit is shaken with a camshaft driven by a stepper motor. The DVPE values are calculated with the appropriate correlation formula.

MINIVAP ON-LINE is the only equipment worldwide which is used successfully for the determination of the vapor pressure of crude oil. The temperature of the measuring chamber is always regulated to 37.8 C (100 F). The measuring chamber is rinsed with the fresh sample. 1 mL of sample is drawn by the built-in piston from the pressurized sample conditioning system. After closing the sample inlet valve, an expansion is performed by piston withdrawal to the final volume of 5 mL. To reach a fast pressure equilibrium, the measuring unit is shaken with a camshaft driven by a stepper motor. The measured total pressure at a chamber temperature of 37.8 C (100 F) is corrected with the appropriate correlation formula and reported as the vapor pressure (RVPE) of crude oil.

MINIVOL LVR, the worldwide accepted portable vapor-liquid ratio tester, is the model for the measuring principle. The minimum measuring cycle time is 10 minutes. Expansion Method - a pressurized sample of known volume is drawn into the temperature controlled chamber by the built-in piston. After closing the inlet valve, an expansion is performed to a final volume of (19+1) times that of the total test specimen. Then the temperature of the chamber is varied until a pressure reading of 1 atm (101.3 kPa or 14.69 psi) is achieved. To reach a fast pressure equilibrium, the measuring system is shaken with a camshaft driven by a stepper motor. The final temperature is the reported T(V/L = 20) value.



A fully automatic calibration with neo-hexane or other standard liquids can either be started manually or be performed automatically at programmable intervals. The vapor pressure reading is corrected according to the nominal vapor pressure of the standard liquid. The result from the last calibration is always displayed together with the measured vapor pressure of the sample. An alarm is activated when the deviation from the last calibration exceeds a programmable limit.

The measuring principle is equivalent to ASTM D 1267 but requires a much smaller sample volume. The sample is drawn from the pressurized sample conditioning system and, after closing the sample inlet valve, an expansion is performed by piston withdrawal to the final volume of 5 mL. The total pressure, corrected relative to normal barometric pressure, is recorded as the LPG vapor pressure. The result is equivalent to the filling procedure of ASTM D 1267.

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Driving wheel for the piston Piston guide with ball bearing Measuring cell Electrical connector for valve drive Quick connector for sample Electrial valve drive Sample inlet valves (1 perstream) Tubing connector for waste outlet Electrial connector to microprocessor Electrial connector for Peltier element Electronics with FLASH-RAM



The measuring system is contained in a stainless steel enclosure and incorporates the mounting plate with the integrated power supply and the step motor with cam shaft for shaking the measuring unit. The measuring unit rests in a bearing of the mounting plate for fast disassembly.

The measuring unit is a complete system for vapor pressure and vapor-liquid ratio T(V/L = 20) determination. The measuring cell, together with a piston and a valve drive module, is mounted on a heavy aluminum plate which also serves as a heat sink. The measuring unit rests on lift-out bearing of the mounting plate for fast removal.


In the front door of the enclosure is a safety glass window for viewing the display of the controller. Below the window, three external pushbuttons are integrated for switching between START and STOP and CAL to activate an automatic calibration cycle. The connector for the fiber optic data transmission cable is mounted in the enclosure. If an explosion-proof rating is required, the enclosure is connected to a purge control system. For NFPA, a protection vent is mounted on top of the casing.


On the bottom of the stainless steel enclosure, the inlet valves for a maximun of 3 sample streams and the calibration liquid are mounted on a heavy brass plate with A-lok fittings extending to the outside. The atmospheric pressure outlet is located on the bottom left side. It is also equipped with an A-lok connector.

The controller contains the microprocessor with all the necessary measuring circuits and the output for the power regulation of the Peltier elements. On the large easy-to-read graphic display, the actual vapor pressure is displayed together with all the necessary information for the user. The display is housed in a black square case and it rests on two hinges in the stainless steel enclosure. The entire EX controller can easily be removed and replaced. Two uniquely-keyed connectors serve for connection to the measuring unit.

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The sample conditioning system is mounted on a stainless steel plate. It consists of a manual input and output valve for the fast sample loop with a maximum pressure of 5000 kPa (700 psi) and a minimum flow rate of 2 L/min. The sample passes through a flowmeter to monitor the required sample flow to a self-cleaning bypass filter having a minimum internal volume. The sample pressure after the filter is regulated with a pressure regulator having two pressure gauges (inlet and outlet) and a pressure relief valve. After the pressure regulator, the sample is fed directly to the sample input of the explosion-proof enclosure for measurement. The calibration liquid is contained in a 250 mL bottle protected in a stainless steel box located underneath the explosion-proof enclosure and mounted on the backplane of the sample conditioning system. An atmospheric drain outlet is necessary for sample waste disposal and for the pressure relief valve. Sample probes and sample recovery return systems are available as options. The sample recovery system will periodically return waste sample into pressurized lines.

Up to three sample streams can be monitored sequentially. Even streams of gasoline and butane can be handled for gasoline-butane blending stations. The selection valves are installed inside the purged measuring system and are switched automatically by signal from the central EX controller. A separate sample conditioning system has to be installed for each sample stream. They are mounted side-by-side on the stainless steel backplane.

If a faster response is desirable, a second measuring unit can be connected to the same sample conditioning system. Both units transfer data to the EX controller. Measurements are performed alternately to reduce the minimum response time to about 2.5 minutes.

6 5 4 3

8 10 1


Inlet Valve, 2-way, fast sample loop min. flow 2 L/min 1/4 A-lok Tube

Sample Filter, fast sample loop min. flow 2 L/min 1/4 A-lok Tube sample stream 5 mL secondary volume 1/8 A-lok Tube

Pressure Gauge, sample stream 0 to 500 kPa (0-75 psi)

Calibration Liquid, neo-hexane, 250mL 1/8 A-lok Tube

Pressure Gauge, fast sample loop 0 to 2000 kPa (0-300 psi)

10 Outlet Relief Valve, waste drain max. press. 20 kPa (3 psi) 1/4 A-lok Tube 11 Outlet sample, waste drain atmospheric 1/4 A-lok Tube

Outlet Valve, 2-way, fast sample loop 1/4 A-lok Tube

Sample Outlet Valve, sample stream min. press. 110 kPa (0-15 psi) 1/8 A-lok Tube

Flow Indicator, fast sample loop 0 to 10 L/min 1/4 A-lok Tube

Pressure Regulator, sample stream 0 to 500 kPa (65 psi) 1/8 A-lok Tube

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Hazardous Area
EX Controller Measuring system Fiber optic

Non-Hazardous Area

max. (2000 m) (6500 ft)

central Controller


Power supply





Sam Con Sys
Level sensor

8*Output 4*Input RS232

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Sample Recovery System



1...Flow indicator 2...Self-cleaning filter 3...Pressure regulator 4...Vial for calibration liquid 5...Sample inlet valves (solenoid) 6...Measuring chamber 7...High-pressure pump

50 kPa (6.5 kPa)

CC1 - CC6...Central controller inserts Sample Probe Process stream





Besides the display, which is directly accessible through the glass window of the explosion proof enclosure, a fiber optic interface is included in the measuring system. The values are transferred safely to the non-hazardous area, either to a central controller module or to a standard printer with a serial interface. Different qualify of fiber optic cables can be supplied: heavy-duty cables (MIL standard and fireproof) for oil production platforms to low cost cables with plastic insulation and rodent protection. The maximum length for a safe data transmission is 2000 m (6500ft).


A printer with a serial interface can be directly connected to the fiber optic interface or to the central controller for immediate printout of the measured data. A protocol with all necessary information is printed.

If no central controller is installed, a fiber optic interface for the data conversion from the fiber optic signal to a standard RS 232 output is available. A standard serial printer can be connected directly to this interface.

The central controller unit is supplied with the MINIVAP ON-LINE measuring system to display the measured values in a control room (nonhazardous area) and for further data transfer. The unit is housed in a 19"/4HU (450x185x260 mm) rack with a built-in power supply and up to 6 controller inserts. For each measuring channel, one insert with integral display is installed. All inserts are serially connected to a fiber optic modem which is installed with the power supply. Total complete remote control of the measuring system is possible. Two standard RS 232 interfaces (for direct connection of a printer and for remote control) are incorporated into each controller. Additionally, each controller unit accommodates independent inputs and outputs: 1 analog output 4 to 20 mA Analog signal for the measured vapor pressure or vapor-liquid ratio T(V/L = 20) value (calibrated by the user) 4 digital inputs freely programmable for remote control 6 digital outputs (2 A relays) freely programmable for alarm and control. Alarms can be programmed into the central controllers directly. The analog output may be used for process control.

Up to three different sample streams can be monitored by the measuring system. Each sample stream can be monitored for vapor pressure and vapor-liquid ratio T(V/L = 20) value. For clear distinction of the measured values, a separate central controller insert is used for each measuring channel. This displays the respective value and provides the respective analog output. A maximum of 6 central controllers can be connected to one measuring unit via the fiber optic interface (3 sample streams each with vapor pressure and vapor-liquid ratio T(V/L = 20) value).


MINIVAP ON-LINE is connected to a LIM-System via the serial interfaces of the central controllers.


MINIVAP ON-LINE can be connected to a process controller directly via the serial interface. In this case all data, including the vapor pressure data, are decoded from the serial information. Note that direct programming of RS232 information is very difficult to do in typical process controllers. If the direct programming of a RS232 is not an option, the process controller may be connected to the analog output and independent input and output lines of the central controllers. The standard menu programming capabilities of typical process controllers may now be used.

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Great care has been taken in the design of MINIVAP ON-LINE to minimize required maintenance and to reduce the time for service. All important parts can be exchanged within minutes. The O-ring of the piston is made of Kalrez and has an expected lifetime of approximately 10,000 measurements. When the O-ring starts leaking, a message is displayed on the central controller that it has to be replaced. The necessary labor time for an O-ring replacement is less then 10 minutes and is performed in a non-hazardous area.

The sample filter in the sample conditioning system is a self cleaning stainless steel filter with a 50 micron mesh element. The lifetime of the element depends strongly on the properties of the sample stream. It often lasts more than one year. If the filter becomes clogged, the sample stream is isolated from the fast loop by closing the inlet and outlet valves. The filter can then be opened and the filter element cleaned or replaced.

With the fully automatic calibration procedure and using a standard liquid like neo-hexane, actual hardware calibration is only required on an annual basis. The hardware calibration includes the temperature sensor and the pressure transducer.




For maintenance and service outside of the hazardous area, a special service unit is provided. With this service unit, a complete test (including calibration of the measuring system) can be performed. This maintenance unit comprises a complete controller with the same software as the controller in the measuring system. The measuring unit is connected to the service unit for a measuring system which emulates full operation.

For improved continuous operation with very short maintenance intervals, an additional measuring unit is strongly recommended. It is fully operational and is maintained and calibrated in a non-hazardons area. It can be exchanged within 1 minute.

The temperature sensor of the measuring unit can either be calibrated in a water bath with certified thermometers or more conveniently with the temperature calibration unit (MINICAL). The whole unit is housed in a portable case and contains two aluminum blocks with respective holes for the sensors. One block is controlled close to 0 C (32 F); the other block can be controlled at 60 C (140 F). The temperatures are checked annually with certified thermometers or with a quartz thermometer.


The measuring cell is the only part which can wear out in the entire measuring unit. It can be replaced quickly by regular maintenance personnel. If the measuring cell needs repair in the factory, a spare cell should be available to maintain measurement service.

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On-line vapor pressure tester for gasoline, LPG, and crude oil

CCA250-100-00 Explosion-proof purging system: NEMA Class 1, Groups BCD, Div2, Type "X", T6 or equivalent CCA250-101-00 Explosion-proof purging system: CENELEC1/IIB or equivalent CCA250-200-00 Sample conditioning base system with self-cleaning bypass filter and vial for calibration fluid. CCA250-201-00 Sample conditioning extension system with self-cleaning bypass filter


CCA250-300-00 Central controller unit in 19" rack, including power supply and fiber optic modem, for interfacing MINIVAP ON-LINE as single or as dual measuring system CCA250-310-00 Interface slide-in module for CCA250-300-00 with graphics display and 2 RS232 interfaces for printer and computer. 4-20 mA analog output, 4 digital input and 6 digital output lines CCA250-320-00 Fiber optic cable with 2 connectors. Please specify the requested quality and length

ACCESSORIES CCA250-010-00 Additional measuring unit for fast exchange, complete with measuring cell, piston assembly, piston drive, and valve drive CCA250-040-00 Service unit for calibration and maintenance outside the hazardous area including a built-in controller CCA250-010-06 Measuring cell assembly for fast exchange of the measuring celloutside the hazardous area CCA250-200-01 Stainless steel filter element for self-cleaning filter CCA210-000-01 O-ring for piston, Kalrez CCA210-207-00 Piston oil for O-ring lubrication (100 mL) A1000-100-00 Matrix printer with serial interface CCA100-400-00 Vacuum pump for calibration of the pressure transducer CCA100-000-00 MINICAL: Temperature calibration unit CCA100-010-00 Quartz thermometer, for calibration/verification (0.01 C resolution)

.....Registered Trademark

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Temperature range:

20 to 60 C (68 to 140 F)

Accuracy of temperature reading:

+/- 0.1 C (+/- 0.2 F)

Pressure range:

Gasoline and Crude Oil 0 to 300.0 kPa (0 to 43.5 psi)

LPG 0 to 1000.0 kPa (0 to 145 psi)

Repeatability (Gasoline): Units of temperature (user selectable):

0.3 kPa (0,0435 psi) Celsius or Fahrenheit

Units of pressure (user selectable):

hPa, kPa, psi, atm

Communication languages (user selectable):

English or German

Power requirements:

100/120/230/240 V AC, 50/60 Hz, 150 W

Physical dimensions:

W x H x D = 650 x 1160 x 400 mm (7.7 x 12.4 x 6.9 in) 50 kg (110 lbs)


Manufactured under ISO 9001 guidelines for consistent quality and reliability. Technical changes may be made without notice.

Grabner Instruments Metechnik Ges.m.b.H. A-1220 Vienna/Austria Dr.-Otto-Neurath-Gasse 1 Phone +43/1/282 16 27-0 Telefax +43/1/280 73 34 e-mail: http://