Sulfur Analysis

Sulfur Analysis Overview

Sulfur material on the periodic table. Part of a series.

Analysis for sulfur is conducted using a sulfur analyzer.  This instrument combusts a small portion of sample in an oxygen atmosphere to create the combustion byproduct, sulfur dioxide.  Sulfur dioxide is then quantified by a infrared detector.

Sample Preparation

Samples are prepared by weighing a sample portion into a ceramic boat and then loading it into an auto sampler.  Once weighed, a portion of vanadium pentoxide may be added to the sample.  The autosampler transfers the ceramic boat into a closed chamber where the combustion occurs.

Typical masses taken for this test are between 5 and 160 mg.  The mass taken is chosen based on the theoretical sulfur content of the sample.


Galbraith Laboratories uses an internal procedure for the determination of sulfur content.  The method is based on industry accepted methodology and includes additional QC requirements to ensure reporting accuracy.  Click below to view a copy of the method summary:



This method is susceptible to incomplete combustion.  Combustion aids, such as Vanadium Pentoxide, may be added to the sample prior to analysis to improve combustion.

Quantitation Limit

0.1% (0.001% for trace calibration).  Results that are below the quantitation limit are reported as a less than value, i.e. <0.1%.


Results are reported in % (wt/wt) unless another unit is requested.