It is now widely recognized that the evaluation of the uncertainty associated with a result is an essential part of any quantitative analysis. One way to use the estimation of measurement uncertainty as a metrological critical evaluation tool is the identification of sources of uncertainty on the analytical result, knowing the weak steps, in order to improve the method, when it is necessary. In this work, this methodology is applied to fuel analyses and the results show that the relevant sources of uncertainty are: beyond the repeatability, the resolution of the volumetric glassware and the blank in the analytical curve that are little studied.
The properties, superior calorific value (SCV) and the compressibility factor (z), of 77 natural gas (NG) samples are calculated from two different calibration approaches of gas chromatography, based on ISO 6974-2. The method A uses an analytical curve with seven points that the best adjust is confirmed by Analysis of Variance (ANOVA); it is required when the composition of the natural gas varies. The method B uses a single point calibration, with an allowed tolerance between the calibration gas mixture and sample mole fraction, so it is used to analyze constant natural gas streams. From natural gas composition analyzed by both methods, exceeding the method B allowed tolerance; SCV, z and its uncertainties are calculated and compared. The results show that all samples that comply with Brazilian legislation can be analyzed by method B, because there are no metrological differences in terms of SCV and z, even though the allowed tolerance has been exceeded. This simplified methodology minimizes operator exposure, besides saving about US$ 50,000.00 per chromatograph.