Analytical Ferrography is one of the most effective and versatile tools to detect large wear particle (larger than 10 microns) analysis. The test can be performed on dissolved grease to visually determine the types and amount of wear particles. This test provides additional information on the mechanism, location and extent of wear and any contaminants.
For additional information, please view our March 2015 Newsletter.
Ash content is the percentage by mass of non-combustible residue after complete combustion of the sample. Sulphated ash is the name given to the ash residue treated with sulphuric acid (destruction of organometallic additives), then heated at 775 °C to total evaporation. Total solids are the sum of metallic solids present in oil. The rate of solids depends on the system. In Diesel engines, fuel soot is usually the main component measured. In non-diesel systems, debris and oxidation products are those measured. The test method used is ASTM D 4055, based on the determination of larger than 0,80 μm insoluble particles. SAE Grade is the viscosity classification of oil in accordance with the chart of the Society of Automotive Engineers S.A.E.
For additional information please view our March 2011 Newsletter.
The Boiling Point is dependent upon the concentration of antifreeze in a coolant fluid. The maximum operating temperature of the coolant system should be lower than the boiling point. This equilibrium boiling point indicates the temperature at which the sample will start to boil in a cooling system under equilibrium conditions at atmospheric pressure.
Chip analysis identifies alloy chips found in aircraft components. This test can locate the failure of gears, bearings and more, provided their alloy composition is known. The composition of chips found on magnetic plugs or through patch testing is identified using the ICP (inductively coupled plasma) method and are reported using the AMS (Aerospace Material Specification) number. Tribologik is certified for chip analysis by Pratt & Whitney Canada for their engines.
The Cloud point indicates the temperature at which crystals of paraffin wax start forming in liquid, which leads to obstruction of filtration systems. Fuel is prepared specifically in order to have a cloud point lower than the ambient temperature of the surrounding environment in which it will be used.
Color, odor, clarity, precipitate and foam may serve as an indication of the degree of use of the fluid. Precipitate is a solid formed in the fluid by contamination. Foaming can result from excessive agitation, improper fluid levels, air leaks, contamination or cavitation.
For additional information please view our February 2015 Newsletter.
Conductivity of coolant examines the ability of the coolant to resist carrying an electrical current between two dissimilar metals. At high conductivity, harmful pitting and corrosion can occur. The level of conductivity is determined by the concentration of glycol and additives in the coolant. The inhibitor chemicals, silicates, contaminants and water hardness compounds can lead to water pump failure.
Coolant is a fluid that flows through a mechanical system (ex : engine) to prevent overheating, dissipating or transferring heat from one system to another. Coolants usually are mixtures of water, glycol and corrosion inhibitors. The Conductivity of coolant and Glycol Percentage tests indicate the cooling ability of the coolant, whereas spectrometric analysis allows detecting wear metal particles that can be present in the coolant due to mechanical wear, lubricant contamination or additive depletion.
For additional information, please view our April 2011 Newsletter.
Copper Corrosion uses a strip tarnish test to detect copper corrosion from petroleum products on yellow metals. Copper Corrosion assesses the relative degree of corrosiveness of a petroleum product due to active sulfur compounds. Results are rated by comparing the stains on a copper strip to a color-match scale from 1a to 4c. This test is widely used on turbine, hydraulic and gear oils.
For additional information please view our April 2013 Newsletter.
The Crackle Test detects the presence of free and emulsified water in oil. Using a hot plate, this simple method has a minimum detection limit of 1000 ppm (0.1%) of water-in-oil and results are reported as positive or negative. The presence of water in a non-water-based-fluid indicates contamination from an outside source or from condensation. Excessive levels of water promote lubricant breakdown and component corrosion.
For additional information please view our June 2011 Newsletter.
The Density of fuel or coolant helps determine the fluid's composition and describes the ratio of mass and volume of a liquid, usually in the units of Kg/L. Fuel density is determined by the choice of crude oils in the blending and refining process where a higher fuel density results in more power and fuel economy.
Direct Reading measures the amount of ferrous wear debris in an oil sample to indicate the change in the rate and severity of wear from the components of the machine. The results of DR give the amount of particles both greater, and less than, 5 microns in size in a 1 ml oil sample. The index value, total wear particle concentration (WPC) and the percentage of large particles (PLP).
Distillation is a separation technique for mixtures of petroleum products, each with a different boiling point. This boiling point determination method allows estimating the cetane index of the diesel fuel and its self-ignition properties (ignition quality). ASTM D 86 determines the temperature at which 95 % of the diesel fuel is distillated. Reducing the boiling point slightly lowers the NOx emissions but increases Hydrocarbons and CO emissions.
For additional information please view our November 2013 Newsletter.
The Distillation test determines the percentage of water in petroleum products, tars and bituminous materials.
The Fire Point Open Cup test determines the temperature in degrees Celsius at which the sample lubricant continues to burn when exposed to an open flame. It detects contamination of relatively non-volatile materials with volatile materials.
The Flash Point Open Cup test determines the temperature in degrees Celsius at which the sample lubricant flashes when exposed to an open flame. It detects contamination of relatively non-volatile materials with volatile materials. Flash Point is used in shipping and safety regulations to define and classify flammable and combustible materials.
For additional information please view our September 2011 Newsletter.
This test counts particle greater than 4, 6, 14, 25, 50, and 100 microns in size and are reported through the ISO Cleanliness Code, ISO 4406. If water is present at levels greater than 300 ppm., particle counting is unachievable.
FTIR Spectroscopy is a statistical analysis technique that provides information about the chemical bonding or molecular structure of materials. The analysis provides an early warning of fluid degradation and contamination. The presence of chemical degradation products due to oxidation, nitration, sulfate formation, lube breakdown, and anti-wear additive depletion, and contaminants such as soot, water, ethylene glycol and unburned fuel is used to measure the degradation of the oil.
Oil exposed to oxygen from the air at elevated temperature will oxidize to a variety of compounds, the majority of which are carbonyl compounds including carboxylic acids. These substances contribute to the acidity of the oil, depleting the basic additives present in the oil and contributing to corrosion.
Nitrogen oxides are produced by the oxidation of atmospheric nitrogen during the combustion process. It increases the oil viscosity and is the major cause of the build-up of varnish or lacquer.
Sulfur oxides are produced by the combustion of sulfur compounds present in the fuel and can react with water to form sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid is neutralized by the oil’s basic additives, forming inorganic sulfates.
The base stock breakdown in synthetic lube is monitored in two regions: region I indicates that the breakdown products are mostly composed of weakly hydrogen bonded alcohol or acid groups; region II is due to the numerous hydrogen bonded by-products formed the polyester lubricant.
Together with ICP Spectroscopy and Viscosity, FTIR figures amongst the three basic tests always performed on each oil sample in order to detect the condition of the lubricant.
The Freezing Point measures the temperature at which a coolant solidifies. It is dependent upon the concentration of antifreeze in coolant fluid.
Fuel Cetane Index is a measure of a diesel fuel's ignition quality. The calculated Cetane Index formula directly estimates the ASTM Cetane number of distillate fuels from the API (America Petroleum Institute) gravity and mid-boiling point. For additional information please view our September, October, November and December 2013 Newsletters.
The Gas Chromatography method is a multipurpose method used to test the quality of biofuel, the concentration of fuel diluted in the oil or the concentration of glycol in used transmission fluids.
Gas chromatography can determine the glycol concentration in used transmission fluid quantitatively. Values acquired can be trended to alert a potential problem such as increased machine wear, corrosion, slug and lubrication breakdown.
For additional information, please view our October 2011 Newsletter.
Elemental Analysis by ICP (inductively coupled plasma) is applicable to lubricants, coolants, fuel and grease. Spectroscopy (as it often referred to) detects up to 23 elements that can be present in used fluids due to mechanical wear, contamination or additive depletion. Spectrometric analysis is an effective method for monitoring small particles. Severe wear particles larger than 6 microns cannot be detected accurately.
Together with FTIR and Viscosity, ICP Spectroscopy figures amongst the basic tests always performed on each oil sample. Through its ability of detecting wear metal particles, Spectroscopy is effective in detecting not only the condition of the lubricant but also the condition of the equipment and its components.
Wear metals include: iron, copper, lead, tin, chromium, aluminum, silver, nickel, magnesium, vanadium, titanium, cadmium, molybdenum and manganese. Contaminants include: silicon, boron, aluminum, sodium, and potassium. Additives include: lithium, phosphorous, zinc, calcium, barium, boron, sodium, molybdenum, magnesium, silicon and aluminum.
The Glycol Test determines the presence of ethylene glycol used in mineral based lubricating oils. A positive result is often associated with cooling system leaks, which will promote wear, corrosion, slugging and lubricant breakdown. If coolant additives or water contamination is present in the oil sample, a separate chemical test using reagents in tablet form is used to confirm ethylene glycol contamination.
For additional information, please view our October 2011 Newsletter.
Gravimetric Analysis filters insoluble contaminants formed as a result of lubricant degradation and reports their value by weight. These by-products of used oil form a varnish, which builds up on surfaces of equipment, impeding performance and leading to mechanical breakdown.
For additional information, please view the description of tbe Varnish test in this list and our February 2011 Newsletter
Grease is a semi-solid, high viscosity lubricant made of lubricating oil, thickening material (soap or fatty acid) and different additives to improve viscosity, durability or resistence. Grease is either used as a sealant, or to lubricate parts that can't be lubricated frequently, or, to reduce friction between two parts where oil would not stay in position. Wear metal detection and particle quantifier index are the two tests usually prescribed for grease.
The Karl Fischer Water Titration Test is used for components and applications where water contamination can cause severe lubricant breakdown and must be kept extremely low. The Karl Fischer titration method measures and reports water content as a percentage (e.g. 0.005% = 50 ppm).
For additional information, please view our June 2011 Newsletter.
Particle Counting counts particle sizes greater than 4, 6, 14, 25, 50, and 100 symbol microns in size and are reported through the ISO Cleanliness Code, ISO 4406. If water is present at levels greater than 300 p.p.m., particle counting is unachievable. Particle counting is applicable to oil (PC) and fuel (PCF).
The particle quantifier index test measures the mass of ferrous wear debris in a sample and displays this as PQ index by Hall Effect regardless the particle size. PQ index is a unitless quantitative number and can be trended with acceptable linearity over a wide range of ferrous debris content and particle sizes. The larger the index the greater the ferrous wear content.
For additional information, please view our October 2014 Newsletter.
The pH Measurement reveals the coolant's level of acidity or alkalinity. An acidic pH will cause corrosion of ferrous components, while a basic pH will cause corrosion of copper and aluminum components.
For additional information, please view our April 2011 Newsletter.
Pentane Insolubles are wear metal contaminants derived from the oxidation of resins, dust, soot and other similar materials. Coagulated pentane insolubles can plug oil filters, resulting in unfiltered oil circulating in the engine leading to piston deposits, bearing wear and engine failure.
The Pour Point is the lowest temperature at which a fuel or oil sample shows no movement when placed at a 90° angle to horizontal. The pour point is an important factor in engine startup and fuel/oil pumping during frigid temperatures.
The Patch Test determines the level of solid particulate matter (metal and non metal) derived from the aviation filter by filtration method. The presence of contaminants will cause accelerated equipment wear.
Quantitative Spectrophotometric Analysis extracts and measures insoluble contaminants formed as a result of lubricant degradation. These by-products of used oil form a varnish, which builds up on surfaces of equipment, impeding performance and leading to mechanical breakdown. QSA examines the separated material with a spectrophotometer and measures the color and intensity of the insoluble and is reported by the CIE dE value.
For additional information, please view the description of the Varnish test in this list and our February 2011 Newsletter.
The RPVOT, previously known as the RBOT measures the lubricant’s resistance to oxidation and sludge formation by submitting the oil sample to high stress conditions such as high temperature, high pressure, water, oxygen and a copper catalyst coil. The oxidation stability assesses the remaining oxidation test life of in-service oils by comparison to new oil.
The Remaining Useful Life Evaluation Routine (RULER®) test measures the oxidative resistance levels of mineral and synthetic hydrocarbon oils, ester-based and biodegradable oils. This test can determine the remaining useful life of used oil by comparing its anti-oxidative concentration (oxidation inhibitors) with those of new oil. The RULER® can be used proactively in order to determine proper oil change intervals and to extend oil change intervals through timely antioxidant additive replenishments. In addition, the RULER® can be used to quantify antioxidant levels of incoming and stored oil supplies and to detect abnormal operating conditions prior to equipment failure signaled by abrupt antioxidant depletion rates.
For additional information, please view the February 2013 issue of our Newsletter.
Seta Flash Point Closed-Cup uses a small-scale closed tester to determine the actual flash point temperature of a sample. The flash point can indicate the possible presence of highly volatile and flammable materials in a relatively nonvolatile or nonflammable material. Flash point is used in shipping and safety regulations to define and classify flammable and combustible materials.
Total Acid Number measures the total amount of acidic material present in a lubricant. An increase in the TAN above that of the new product indicates degradation of oil by oxidation or contamination. The results are expressed as a numeric value corresponding to the amount of the alkaline chemical potassium hydroxide required to neutralize the acid in one gram of sample.
Total Base Number is a measure of a lubricant's reserve alkalinity. The result is expressed as an equivalent amount of potassium hydroxide in one gram of sample. Many of the additives now used in engine oils contain alkaline materials intended to neutralize the acidic products of combustion. A relatively high TBN is associated with increased protection against ring and cylinder liner corrosion. Abnormal decreases in TBN may indicate reduced acid neutralizing capacity or a depleted additive package.
Total Dissolved Solids examines the combined content of all inorganic and organic substances contained in a liquid, which are present in a molecular, ionized or micro-granular suspended form. It is affected by the concentration of glycol to water in coolant as well as the concentration of additives. Inhibitor chemicals, silicates, contaminants and water hardness compounds can all lead to water pump seal failure.
Varnish is a thin, oil-insoluble layer of oil-degradation residues and by-products that develop over time on the internal surfaces of lubricated equipment. If not detected in time, varnish can cause sudden stops and severe operational problems to hydraulic systems such as excessive wear of pumps, increased bearing friction and servo-valves sticking. Varnish acts as an insulator, reduces the cooling effect of heat exchangers, decreases the oil's resistance to flow and blocks up filters. The varnish formation potential is estimated by a Quantitative Spectrophotometric Analysis (QSA) on a scale of 1 ~ 100, indicating a lubricant's tendency to form varnish. The higher the QSA, the higher is the probability for oil to produce varnish. A measured QSA value higher than 40 indicates a high level of varnish.
For additional information, please view our February 2011 Newsletter.
The Viscosity Index measures the variation in kinematic viscosity due to changes in the temperature of a petroleum product between 40°C and 100°C. A higher viscosity index indicates a smaller decrease in kinematic viscosity with increasing temperature of the lubricant. The viscosity index is used as a single number indicating the effect of temperature change on the kinematic viscosity of oil.
Viscosity, or oil weight, examines the thickness or thinness of the oil. The test measures the time for a volume of liquid to flow under gravity, determining the kinematic viscosity of oil at 40 °C. Equipment manufacturers specify viscosity when indicating machine tolerance, bearing loads and the rate of heat removal. Viscosity must be tested at the operating temperature of the equipment. Together with FTIR and ICP Spectroscopy, Viscosity figures amongst the basic tests always performed on each oil sample.
The Viscosity at 100 °C test measures the thickness of the oil at a high operating temperature. Viscosity, or oil weight, examines the thickness or thinness of the sample oil. The test measures the time for a volume of liquid to flow under gravity, determining the kinematic viscosity of oil at 100 °C, which is the operating temperature of the equipment. Together with FTIR and ICP Spectroscopy, Viscosity figures amongst the basic tests always performed on each oil sample.
Sediments consist of insoluble residues and impurities such as dust, scales of rust and free water, present in petroleum products. The most effective method to determine the water and sediment content in % volume (V/V) is the centrifuge method. The ASTM D 1796 method describes the determination of water and sediment in fuel oils in the range of 0 to 30% volume. The ASTM D96 method describes the determination of water and sediment in crude oil and lubricants.
Ferrous Debris Monitor uses magnetometry to measure the wear metal particle contamination of an oil or grease sample and provides trendable parts per million (PPM) results, regardless of the size of the particles. Because its results are provided in PPM, FDM is regarded as an advanced PQ test. The latter indeed only shows them as a unitless index. FDM can be used to measure un-combined ferrous wear metal particle debris in oil or grease in a wide range of types of industrial and marine machinery.