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Heavy petroleum distillates and residua are increasingly available feedstocks for the production of valuable petrochemical products. However, the effective, efficient production and conversion of these materials to useful products requires information on the chemical composition (crude oil characterization) and potential refin-ability (reactivity) of these complex mixtures. Two problems are immediately obvious in characterization studies: (1) the physical handling and preparation of homogeneous, substantially unaltered samples for analysis; and (2) the blind application and acceptance of traditional characterization tests on nontraditional feedstocks. This report explores the analytical problems and some proposed solutions.

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