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Results for tag "particle-count-oil-testing"

Understanding the Elemental Spectroscopy


A wealth of information is available on your oil analysis report about wear behavior, contaminants entering the system, and the service needed.

As you read your oil analysis report, ask yourself what all the data means. Ask yourself other questions like: Where is contaminant debris coming from in this unit? What am I looking for that will help me see what is happening inside my machine? Am I looking at elemental levels that are from the additives, particles being picked up as the oil circulates, or from external contaminant ingression?  These elements — iron, chromium, aluminum, copper, lead, tin, nickel, antimony, silver, titanium, and manganese — commonly indicate component wear. On your oil analysis report, some elements are singled out such as copper or iron and given special attention.

Elements found in your oil sample are measured in parts per million (ppm), a very small amount. A single ppm is equivalent to 0.0001 percent. To put that in perspective, it takes 10,000 ppm to equate to 1.0 percent. Concentrations seen in oil analysis reports will be from one to several thousand ppm.

Measuring Metals: Elemental Spectroscopy
Elemental spectroscopy determines the concentration of wear metals, contaminant metals, and additive metals in a lubricant.  With this test, an energy source excites atoms in a sample, causing them to release energy in the form of light. A spectrum is created with different wavelengths for each element. The instrument then quantifies the amount of energy emitted and determines the concentration in parts per million (ppm) of 20 to 30 elements present in the sample.  Two types of elemental spectrometers are commonly used in oil analysis:

  • Arc emission spectrometers: They apply energy in the form of an electric arc to the sample. As the atoms are excited, each element emits light at a characteristic wavelength. The intensity of light at each wavelength is measured and quantified.
  • Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) spectrometers: They operate on a similar principle, except that the energy is applied to the sample by an argon flame rather than an electric arc.

On the downside, spectroscopy can’t measure particles larger than roughly 7 microns, which leaves this test blind to larger solid particles.

Analyzing Foaming Tendency: Foam Test


The Foam Test measures the foaming tendency of a lubricant. According to this test, also referred to as ASTM D892, the tendency of oils to foam can be a serious problem in systems such as high-speed gearing, high-volume pumping, and splash lubrication. Inadequate lubrication, cavitation, and overflow loss of lubricant can lead to mechanical failure. This test evaluates
oils for such operating conditions.

Cavitation is the formation of air or vapor bubbles in the fluid due to lowering of pressure in a liquid, which then collapse (implode) in the higher-pressure regions of the oil system. The implosion can be powerful enough to create holes or pits — even in hardened metal — if the implosion occurs at the metal surface. This type of wear is most common in hydraulic pumps, especially those that have restricted suction inlets or are operating at high elevations.

Foaming is a fundamental physical property of a lubricating fluid. Foam can degrade the fluid’s life and performance as well as that of the equipment being lubricated. Even though foam performance often is a defined specification for the new fluid, it’s often ignored on used fluid. You need to understand the reasons for loss in foam control and the methods of controlling this property in a used fluid.  A fluid’s foaming property is measured using ASTM D892, which measures foam by three sequences that differ only in testing temperature.

  • Sequence I measures the foaming tendency and stability at 24°C (75°F).
  • Sequence II uses 93.5°C (200°F).
  • Sequence III uses the same conditions as Sequence I, except it’s performed on fluid that has just been measured in Sequence II.

The fluid sample from Sequence I isn’t used in Sequence II. The fluid sample used in Sequence II is carried into Sequence III.

The results are reported as two numbers for each sequence.  For example: 20/0 means 20 milliliters of foam tendency was measured after 5 minutes of aeration followed by no foam stability (0 ml) after the 10 minute settling time. Most new oil specifications require 10 to 50 milliliters tendency maximum and 0 milliliters stability.

New Innovative Filter Analysis Technology Pinpoints Component Wear


Technical Bulletin
We’ve Taken Filter Debris Analysis To The Next Level


TESTOIL has updated our Filter Debris Analysis testing process. The improvements have significantly increased our ability to identify wearing machine components which provide improved diagnostic and prognostic information about impending failures.

Filter Debris Analysis is a systematic process developed to wash and analyze industrial size filters. TESTOIL has made substantial changes to all aspects of this testing procedure including the fabrication of a new washing instrument, a completely redesigned washing method, an enhanced testing process, and a revamped comprehensive report.

Our customers depend on us to provide the most reliable oil analysis testing data to ensure machine performance and reduce  risks of failure. The Filter Debris Analysis upgrade expands on that commitment as well as staying on top of the latest technological developments.

Watch this short video to learn more about TESTOIL’s new Filter Debris Analysis Testing Process and Reports.

Do You Know The Most Common Lubricant-Related Failures?


Lubricant related equipment failures come in all shapes and sizes.  Here we will examine the common lubricant problems that often lead to premature failure.

Insufficient Lubrication
Proper lubrication is defined as the proper amount of the proper lubricant at the proper place.  If oil levels are low, or the lubricant delivery system is inadequate, a proper oil film cannot be maintained at the friction surface.  This results in metal to metal contact and accelerated wear.  Sufficient lubrication can only be achieved when oil levels are correct, and the appropriate lube system is in place and functioning properly.

Lubricant Degradation
Nature takes its toll on all of us, and lubricants are no exception.  Oxidation breaks down the base oil of a lubricant, additives re depleted, and physical properties change over time.  This process is accelerated by high temperatures, heavy loading, and contamination.  When a lubricant reaches the end of its useful life, it is no longer capable of protecting equipment components.  Steps must be taken to ensure healthy lubricant is in use at all times.

Contaminated lubricants account for nearly half of all lubricant related failures.  Lubricants can become contaminated with
either solid or fluid contaminants. Solid contaminants can act as abrasives causing severe damage to components.  Solids can also clog filters and orifices restricting oil flow and resulting in lubricant starvation.  Fluid contaminants such as water will alter
the load handing ability of an oil, and can act as a catalyst to lubricant degradation.  Many fluids also cause internal corrosion and rust.  Proper filtration must be maintained, and sources of potential contamination should be identified and controlled to ensure the cleanest lubricant possible.

Incorrect Lubricant Selection
When selecting a lubricant for a given application, both equipment specifications and operating perimeters should be taken into account.  Most importantly, the proper grade (viscosity) lubricant must chosen.  Secondly, the lubricant should have the proper additive package.  Other considerations include the type of base oil, demusibility, and extreme temperature characteristics.  Once the proper lube is selected, procedures should be put in place to ensure the selected lubricant is applied at the proper intervals.