ASTM E246 Determination of Iron in Iron Ores and Related Materials

The determination of the total iron content is the primary means for establishing the commercial value of iron ores used in international trade. The standard test methods for the determination of iron in iron ores and other materials are described in the ASTM E246 standard. The values are reported in SI units.

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    ASTM E246 defines the standard test methods to estimate iron concentration in iron ores, concentrates, and agglomerates. The methods are suitable for determining iron concentrations between 30% to 95% iron. This standard describes three methods using dichromate titration for estimating iron content. Hydrogen sulfide reduction, stannous chloride reduction, and silver reduction dichromate titration methods are the standard methods contained in ASTM E246.

    Test procedure:

    For ASTM E246 testing, the sample is dissolved in HCl. This results in the formation of an insoluble residue which is filtered, ignited, and treated for the recovery of iron. It is then added to the main solution.

    Test Method A-Iron by Hydrogen Sulfide Reduction Dichromate Titration Method

    To the solution containing all the iron, H2SO4 is added and the solution is evaporated into fumes to expel chlorides. The salts are made to dissolve in water. The resultant solution is boiled, and the iron is reduced by a rapid stream of hydrogen sulfide (H2S). The precipitated sulfides are filtered and washed with an acid sulfide wash solution until they are free of iron. The filtrate is then boiled to expel the H2S, cooled, and titrated with K2Cr2O7 solution, using sodium diphenylamine sulfonate as the indicator.

    Test Method B- Iron by Stannous Chloride Reduction Dichromate Titration Method

    In this ASTM E246 method, most of the iron is reduced with stannous chloride, followed by the addition of a slight excess of titanium (III) chloride solution. The excess titanium (III) is then oxidized in the hot solution with HClO4. The solution is cooled and the reduced iron is titrated with a standard K2Cr2O7 solution using sodium diphenylamine sulfonate as the visual endpoint indicator.

    Test Method C- Iron by Silver Reduction Dichromate Titration Method

    The test sample is passed through a silver reductor. After the addition of the H2SO4–H3PO4 mixture and diphenylamine sulfonate indicator, the total iron is determined by titration with a standard solution of K2Cr2O7.

    Video 01: Redox titration (Dichromate titration)

    Specimen size:

    The following table provides specimen sizes for the three ASTM E246 testing methods:

    Test methodTest specimen weight (g)


    For ASTM E246, the percentage of iron is calculated as follows;

    Test Method A 


    A = milliliters of K2Cr2O7 required for titration of the sample,

    B = milliliters of K2Cr2O7 required for titration of the blank,

    C = iron equivalent of the K2Cr2O7, g/mL, and

    D = grams of sample used.

    Test Method B


    V1 = volume of K2Cr2O7 standard solution used for the

    titration of the analytical sample, mL,

    V2 = volume of K2Cr2O7 standard solution used for the

    titration of the blank test, mL, and

    m = mass of the test portion, g.

    Test Method C


    T = the volume in milliliters of K2Cr2O7 standard solution

    used for the titration, and

    m = the mass, in grams of the test portion.


    ASTM E246 defines the standard test methods to estimate iron concentration in iron ores, concentrates, and agglomerates.


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