The acid number is used to quantify the amount of acid present, for example in a sample of biodiesel. It is the quantity of base, expressed in milligrams of potassium hydroxide, that is required to neutralize the acidic constituents in 1 g of sample.
Veq is the amount of titrant (ml) consumed by the crude oil sample and 1ml spiking solution at the equivalent point, beq is the amount of titrant (ml) consumed by 1 ml spiking solution at the equivalent point, and 56.1 is the molecular weight of KOH.
The molarity concentration of titrant (N) is calculated as such:
In which WKHP is the amount (g) of KHP in 50 ml of KHP standard solution, Veq is the amount of titrant (ml) consumed by 50 ml KHP standard solution at the equivalent point, and 204.23 is the molecular weight of KHP.
There are standard methods for determining the acid number, such as ASTM D 974 and DIN 51558 (for mineral oils, biodiesel), or specifically for Biodiesel using the European Standard EN 14104 and ASTM D664 are both widely utilised worldwide. Acid number (mg KOH/g oil) for biodiesel should to be lower than 0.50 mgKOH/g in both EN 14214 and ASTM D6751 standard fuels. This is since the FFA produced may corrode automotive parts and these limits protect vehicle engines and fuel tanks.
As oil-fats rancidify, triglycerides are converted into fatty acids and glycerol, causing an increase in acid number. A similar observation is observed with Biodiesel aging through analogus oxidation processes and when subjected to prolonged high temperatures (ester thermolysis) or through exposure to acids or bases (acid/base ester hydrolysis).