LUBE OIL ANALYSIS - Tests

 

 

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MRT Laboratories, LLC provides a wide variety of testing services. Our primary sphere of knowledge, however, is machinery asset management as it relates to tribological anlytical services in the areas of lubricant, grease, coolant, deposit, fuel, refrigerant, and other analytical services. 

MRT Laboratories can design a testing program that will specifically meet your applications, requirements, and budget. 

Spectroscopy

Spectrographic metals analysis is usually the 'heart' of most oil analysis programs.  Using either a Rotrode Emission Spectrometer or an Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometer (ICP), 20 or more metals can be simultaneously determined.  The metals analyzed for include wear, additive, and contaminant metals and are reported in parts per million (ppm). 

MRT Laboratories uses a Rotating Disk Emission Spectrometer. The instrument is quick and easy to operate and is accurate within acceptable limits.

The Rotrode Spectrometer has a particle size detection limitation of between 3 and 10 (depending on the particular metal in question and the amount of surface oxidation on the particle surface) compared to the .5 - 2 limitation of the ICP.  Results of the Rotrode Spectrometer are accurate to about 1 or 2 ppm.  Results of the ICP are accurate to .1 ppm.  The advantage of the Rotrode Spectrometer is that no dilution of the sample is required, while the advantage of the ICP is its accuracy.  With proper sample preparation, an ICP can measure in the 10's of parts per billion (ppb).  Particle size limitations of an ICP are even more sever than a Rotrode Spectrometer because the sample and particles have to be nebulized.  If measuring very low concentrations, the diluent (usually diesel fuel) has to be at least as clean. 

For routine lube oil analysis, accuracy below the 1 ppm level is not required.  The results are very trendable from sample to sample if the sampling interval doesn't exceed every three months and proper sampling procedures are adhered to.       

At MRT Laboratories we analyze for 21 elements, and break them down into three categories: (Click on a metal for more Information)

Wear

Additive

Contaminant 

Iron

Silicon

Silicon

Lead

Boron

Boron

Copper

Copper

Sodium

Tin

Sodium

Phosphorus

Aluminum

Phosphorus

Potassium

Chromium

Zinc

Calcium

Nickel

Calcium

Magnesium

Silver

Magnesium

Vanadium 

Titanium

Molybdenum

 

Antimony Antimony  

Zinc

Potassium

 

Notice some metals can be both additives and contaminants, such as Calcium, or wear metals and additives, such as Zinc.                                       

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Viscosity/Viscosity Index

Viscosity is defined as a measurement of resistance to flow and is a KEY physical property of lubricants. Industrial lubricating oils are generally measured at 40 C and results are reported as centiStokes (cSt).  Engine Oils are most often measured at 100 C.  Most industrial lubricating oils are classified by their viscosity.  For example, an ISO Viscosity Grade 32 (ISO VG) will have a viscosity of 32 cSt @ 40 C, 10%.  Engine oils are classified by their Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) grade.  SAE 20 or SAE 30 for example.  Engine oils often have additives that give them multi-grade characteristics, such as SAE 10W40.  This refers to the oil that has the viscosity characteristics of an SAE 10 oil when it is cold, and the viscosity characteristics of a SAE 40 weight oil in normal temperatures.  Viscosity of oils is inversely proportional to temperature.

Viscosity is determined by measuring the time it takes for a liquid to flow between two sensors on a glass tube immersed in a constant temperature bath.  The fluid is allowed to reach bath temperature (usually 40 deg C) before the analysis is performed.  The tube is calibrated using NIST Traceable viscosity standards.   

Viscosity increases are normally a result of lubricant oxidation and degradation or contamination with a higher grade oil. 

Viscosity decreases are almost always a result of contamination, either with fuel in the case of engine oils, or product in the case of industrial oils.  

Viscosity Index is a calculated number that indicates the rate of viscosity change as the lubricant is heated.  The less the change, the higher the Viscosity Index number.  The lubricant's viscosity is determined at two different temperatures, usually 40 C and 100 C, and using an API formula, the Viscosity Index is calculated.  Viscosity indexes of 95 to 105 are normal for most industrial mineral oils.  Severely hydro-cracked base stock and PolyAlphaOlefin (PAO) synthetic base stock have much higher viscosity indexes, usually in the 120's to 140's.  Diester synthetic base stock on the other hand has a low Viscosity Index, around 76.            

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Neutralization Number

As lubricants degrade from oxidation they form a number of acids.  These acids are corrosive to Babbitt, yellow metals, carbon steel, cast iron, and if left uncorrected for a period of time will begin a corrosion process and possibly eventual bearing failure.   While small increases in the Total Acid Number (TAN) usually indicate oxidation and lubricant degradation, contaminants with acidic constituents can also be a factor.  Monitoring the oil's Total Acid Number should be an important part of your lubricant maintenance program.  Generally when a lubricant's acid number reaches a condemning limit, replacement or sweetening is your best option.  

Total Acid Number (TAN) is the standard neutralization number test for industrial lubricating oils. It is performed by titrating a solution of oil and diluent with an alcohol/potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution, a base, until all the acids present are neutralized.  The results are reported as milligrams of potassium-hydroxide per gram of sample, or mg/Gm

Strong Acid Number (SAN) is similar to TAN, except the 'strong' acids are first extracted from the lubricant.  That extract is then titrated with KOH and the SAN reported as mg/gm.

Total Base Number (TBN) is a standard test for engine lubricants.  It is a measurement of the amount of protection in the lubricant remaining to neutralize acids formed as a result of combustion.  A solution of oil and diluent is titrated with an alcohol/Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) solution until all the alkaline or base constituents in the oil are neutralized.  Results are reported as milligrams of HCl per gram of sample, or mg/gm.  

Most lubricating oils have a baseline Acid Number as a result of additives.  R&O (rust and oxidation) industrial oils generally have a baseline in the 0.03 to 0.06 mg/gm range.  AW (anti-wear) and EP (extreme pressure) industrial oils will have much higher baselines because of the additional additives that give them their AW or EP qualities.   Baselines for these lubricants can be over 1.0 mg/gm. 

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Karl Fischer Water Titration

Water is the most common contaminant found in lubricating oils.  It is also one of the most damaging to bearings and other lubricated components.  It causes corrosion to metal surfaces, lubricant degradation, and poor lubrication.  Water can be present in three forms in lubricating oils:

    Dissolved:  There is a limited amount of solubility of water in oil which is very temperature dependant.  At 120 F, about 100 ppm of water can be dissolved in oil.  Dissolved water is not harmful nor does it affect the appearance or performance of the lubricant.

    Emulsified:  Water and oil can form tight bonds that are difficult to break.  This form of water in oil is what causes oil to become milky and is the most harmful.  Oil will begin to become 'milky' at about 150 - 300 ppm, depending on the base stock and additive in the lubricant.  

    Free Water:  These are free water droplets, often suspended in the lubricant due to surface tension.  This form of water in oil is also very harmful to lubricated parts, but is also the easiest to separate.  Often free water is routinely drained from sumps and reservoirs.  The ability of the oil to separate from the water is an important characteristic of the lubricant in many applications, such as steam turbines and centrifugal compressors.       

The Karl Fischer Water Titration is the only suitable test for determining how much moisture is present in a lubricant at levels less than 500 parts per million (0.05%).  Depending on the procedure used, accurate results can be obtained down to the 4 or 5 parts per million (ppm) level.  Karl Fischer Water Titrations will determine the total amount of water present, regardless of the form it is in.

A portion of the sample is injected into a reaction vessel that contains an electrolyte which reacts with water molecules.  The reaction produces a charge across a measuring electrode.  The change in the electrical charge across the electrode is directly proportional to the amount of water that reacted with the electrolyte.   Results are reported as ppm water.

Moisture in gases, semi-solids, and even ground solids can be accurately measured.  Different sample methodology can be employed depending on the amount of accuracy required.  

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Flash Point

The Flash Point of an industrial lubricant is an important test to determine if light-end hydrocarbons are getting into the oil through seal leaks or other means.  It is an effective way to monitor seal performance in light end hydro-carbon compressors. Low Flash Points pose a safety hazard in the event of component failure than can generate heat above the flash point of the oil, such as bearing failure. The Flash Point of most ISO VG 32 R&O mineral oils are in the 370 - 390 F range.  Generally, the more viscous and the more additives in the oil, the higher the Flash Point.  A typical automotive or diesel engine oil will have a Flash Point in the 425 to 460 F range. 

The test is conducted by slowly heating a sample of lubricant. Directly above the sample container is an ignition source, either an open flame or spark source.  As the sample heats, the light-ends boil off and form flammable gasses.  When there is enough gas built-up to be ignited by the ignition source, the gases will flash.  The temperature at which the oil was heated to when this occurs is called the Flash Point.  It is reported in degrees F or degrees C.

If you continue to heat the sample after the flash point has been reached, eventually the oil will sustain a flame.  This is known as the Fire Point and again reported as Degrees C. or F.  The Fire Point is generally 10 or 20 degrees F above the Flash Point.

If you remove the ignition source and heat the lubricant, eventually it will auto-ignite.  This is called, you guessed it, the auto-ignition point.  These are generally in the 750 to over 1000 degrees F. range. 

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Direct Read Ferrography

This test is particularly useful for gearbox and reciprocating equipment samples.  Usually, 1 ml of sample is mixed one to one with a diluent. This solution is then gravity flowed through a glass tube that is nestled over a strong magnet at a slight upward angle to the flow direction.  Two light paths are located along the base of the glass tube, spaced about 1/4 inch apart.  The magnet will pull out of suspension ferromagnetic particles and deposit them along the bottom of the glass tube in both light paths.  Larger, more ferromagnetic particles (generally from 0.1 to over 300 microns) will be pulled out first and are 'measured' in the first light path.  Smaller, less ferromagnetic particles (generally considered to be 0.1 to about 5 microns) will be deposited along the initial third of the glass tube, and are measured in the second light path.  (See Figure) The measurement actually consists of how much attenuation of transmitted light is measured at the beginning of the sample flow against the transmitted light at the end of the sample flow due to the build up of particles in the light paths.  The first light path measure the Ferro Direct Read Large (FDRL) because most of the large ferromagnetic particles will be deposited in this light path, and the second light path will measure the Ferro Direct Read Small (FDRS) because few of the larger ferromagnetic particles will be deposited in this light path.  The values obtained are converted into empirical numbers that range from 0.0 to 180.0.  Some laboratories will provide higher numbers by using dilution methods with small sample volumes.  

The relation between the FDRS and FDRL is sometimes indicative of the type of problem that exists.  If the FDRL/FDRS is greater than 2.0, this may indicate a higher than normal number of large particles and as such, a more severe wear situation. The sum of the FDRS and FDRL is also an indication of how much wear is occurring.  These numbers are usually very trendable over time for a given sample point. 

One important variable is non-ferromagnetic particles that gravity alone pulls out of suspension.  Particles such as sand, fibers, lacquer particles, and even water droplets will be 'seen' in the light paths and reported in the "Ferro Direct Read" results.  This variable limits the reliability of using the FDRL/FDRS relationship and the sum of the FDRS and FDRL in determining the amount and severity of wear.  

MRT Laboratories uses this test as a back-up to Emission Spectroscopy.  Remember, the Rotrode Emission Spectrometer can only 'see' particles up to about 10 microns.  Many wear modes will create numerous large particles that may be missed by the Emission Spectrometer.  Just as important, contaminants such as sand, fibers, and lacquer particles will not be 'seen' by the emission spectrometer, but will be 'seen' the the Direct Read Ferrography test.  The Direct Read Ferrography test will not indicate what the particles are, but that can be determined microscopically. 

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Particle Count Analysis (ISO 4406)

Maintaining lubricant cleanliness is KEY to increasing component life, increasing lubricant life, and reducing costly routine maintenance.  Clean, dry lubricants will improve machine performance and longevity.  Small particles in the lubricant, those at or near clearances, cause abrasion wear.  Large particles can cause fatigue wear.  Particles in the lubricant will increase lubricant degradation rates.  Particles in hydraulic control systems will degrade hydraulic functions or even cause performance failures.  Particles in other hydraulic systems will cause abrasion wear and hydraulic leaks.  In extreme cases, particles can partially clog oil ports and result in lubricant starvation to vital machine components.   

Excessive particles in your turbine, compressor, pump, blower, motor, or other equipment lubricants or hydraulic oils are indicative of a problem that $1 worth of medicine may prevent $100 worth of cure. 

You can see why it is so essential to monitor the cleanliness of you lubricants either with Direct Read Ferrography in the case of gear boxes and reciprocating equipment or Particle Counts in the case of most other equipment. 

This test is performed using an automatic laser light particle counting instrument.  A laser light beam is shown through a constant flow rate stream of oil.  As particles entrained in the oil pass through the light beam, the attenuation of the transmitted light as seen by a sensor is measured versus time. Using the flow rate and the attenuation versus time curve, particle size can be determined and counted using an algorithm. The algorithm is unique to each brand or model of instrument and is usually proprietary.  The number of counts for given size ranges are then classified according to an ISO 4406 Standard.

Originally the results were reported as classes of > 5 microns and > 15 microns.  Later, the > 2 micron size class was added to account for silt laden samples.  As technology and calibration techniques improved, a new standard for calibrating automatic laser particle counters was established, ISO 11171 and a new classification Standard was developed, ISO 4406.1999.  The new standard using the new calibration standard reports the results in classes of > 4, > 6>, and > 14 microns. (See ISO 4406 chart)

The new standards have not yet been universally adopted.  MRT Laboratories can provide Particle Counts in either standard.  

While a particle Count Analysis will not indicate what the particles are, it will indicate the need for further analysis, usually microscopic particle analysis to determine not only what the particles are, but help determine where they came from, how to clean up the lubricant, and how to prevent them from re-occurring. 

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Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR)

If you shine an infrared (IR) light beam through a thin film of oil, then vary the wavelength of the light beam from one end of the IR spectrum to the other, (from about 400 nanometers to about 4400 nanometers), the beam will excite certain chemical bonds at certain wavelengths.  The excitation will be in different forms, such as 'rocking' , 'stretching', or 'bending'.  As these bonds become excited and vibrate, they 'absorb' the IR light to compensate for the energy lost by being excited. The amount of absorption and over what span of wavelengths is dependant upon the form of excitation and the quantity of bonds available to do the absorbing.  

You can then measure the amount of infrared light 'absorbed' at particular wavelengths, develop a 'spectra' for the entire infrared wavelength range of how much infrared light was absorbed at what wavelength, and compare that against known standards in a library or against a baseline spectra.  

In a clinical laboratory setting, this can be a very exacting science.  In an oil analysis laboratory, however, we are looking for a few specific excitations, if you will. For example, the Oxygen-Hydrogen (O-H) single bond in water will absorb IR light in the 3000 - 3500 nanometer wavelength range.  It is a broad range spanning nearly 1/6 of the entire IR wavelength range. The amount of IR light absorbed is directly proportional to the number of O-H single bonds available to absorb the IR light. In order quantify the amount of water present using the strength of the absorbance peak, one would have to develop a correlation curve for each submitted sample.  This would be cost prohibitive for most lube oil analysis programs with very little benefit in return compared to a more simple Karl Fischer Water Titration.  

Now that we've explained the InfraRed (IR) analysis , let's expand this to the FTIR analysis or Fourier Transform Infrared analysis. 

"The Fourier transform, in essence, decomposes or separates a waveform or function into sinusoids of different frequency which sum to the original waveform. It identifies or distinguishes the different frequency sinusoids and their respective amplitudes"  (For more information, visit http://spectroscopy.lbl.gov/FTIR-Martin/

Basically the FTIR method of InfraRed analysis is a quicker and more accurate measurement of InfraRed Analysis than the original IR method of analysis.  Most laboratories today are equipped with instruments that employ the FTIR algorithms. IR results should be considered the same as FTIR results.

IR analysis is useful qualifying the amount of oxidation by-products present, qualifying the amount of nitration products present, qualifying if glycol is present, qualifying if water is present > 300 ppm in most R&O oils and up to 1000 ppm in AW, EP and engine oils, and indexing the level of soot and fuel present in the lubricant.  All these tests are appropriate for gasoline and diesel engine oils, but not for most industrial lubricant applications.  Oxidation in industrial lubricants will first be noted by slight increases of the TAN (Total Acid Number) before notable increases in the IR are reported. 

The absorbance peaks we look for:

Water -- Generally P for positive or > .1%, or N for negative. 

Glycol -- Generally P for positive or N for negative.   

Soot -- An index that indicates the amount carbon soot that absorbs IR light over basically the entire spectrum.  It is trendable, but not reliable to quantify  % soot within 1 percent unless a calibration curve is developed for each sample, which is cost prohibitive. 

Oxidation -- A qualifying index that is directly proportional to the amount of oxidation by-products in the lubricant.  This applies to gasoline and diesel engine lubricant, but NOT to industrial lubricant applications.  These results are reported in abs units.

Nitration -- A qualifying index that is directly proportional to the amount of nitriles present.   Nitriles are formed as a result of a too rich or too lean air/fuel ratio. These results are reported in abs units. 

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Microscopic Particle Examination

When the results of the Spectroscopy, Direct Read Ferrography, or Particle Count Analysis indicates there is a wear or contamination problem, a ferrogram slide is made and the particles microscopically examined.  Wear modes, wear severity, and contaminants can then be identified visually.  Microphotographs of the particles in question and an explanation of the particles are then included as part of the final report. 

Roller element fatigue, gear wear, corrosion, abrasion wear, lacquer particles, and contaminants such as fibers, air-borne dirt, sandblasting sand and most other contaminants can all be identified.  

After the contaminants or wear modes are identified, steps can be taken to eliminate the source or prevent further wear.  

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Filter Analysis

In pressurized lubrication systems, proper maintenance and sizing of your filters are essential to maintaining your lubricant cleanliness.  In  failure events, the history of that failure is often contained in the filter.  Significant or sudden changes in the differential pressure across the filter usually indicate a wear or contamination event.  To determine the severity of the event, the filter should be submitted for analysis.  

Submitted filters are first dissected and the filter media is examined for degradation.  Particulates from the filter are removed through backwashing and/or ultrasonic cleansing and analyzed.  The particulates removed are also examined microscopically.  Moisture and acid content are also determined.  Organic contaminants present in the filter can also be analyzed.  With this information in hand, a determination can be made as to what is causing the filter plugging or what the failure mode was.  Steps can then be taken to prevent re-occurrence. 

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Demulsibility

The ability of an R&O oil to separate from water is an important characteristic in most turbine, compressor, pump, and blower applications.  This is called the Demulsibility of the oil. You want the water to come out of suspension and fall to the bottom of the reservoir or sump where it can be drained, and not carried with the lubricant to the bearings where it will cause corrosion and other problems.  

AW and EP additives, contaminants, and the base stock are all factors that determine the Demulsibility of the oil.  

Demulsibility should not be part of your routine analysis program.  It is a quality check of the lubricant and should be performed for evaluation of new oils or when a demulsibility problem is apparent in the reservoir or sump. 

A mixture of 40 mls water and 40 mls oil in a graduated cylinder are heated to 130 F and thoroughly mixed for 5 minutes.  As the water separates from the resulting emulsion, three layers are formed: oil, free water, and emulsion.  The time it takes for the emulsion layer to reach 3 mls or less is recorded.  The results are reported as "40/38/2" or 40 ml oil, 38 ml water, and 2 ml emulsion.  If the emulsion layer reaches 3 ml in 30 minutes or less, it is considered the oil 'passed'.  most quality R&O oils will pass within 10 minutes. 

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Cloud and Pour Point

As oil cools to temperatures in the 40's and below, waxes in the oil will crystallize.  As the oil is cooled further to freezing or below, moisture in the oil will form ice.  The temperature at which these crystals form and are visible is called the Cloud Point.  The greater the quantity of wax present, the higher the cloud point.  Wax crystals have a different appearance than ice crystals and will form above 32 F. 

If you continue to chill the oil, eventually the oil will not flow out of the test tube when turned upside down.  Remember, viscosity of oil is inversely proportional to temperature. The temperature at which this occurs is call the Pour Point.  The tests are conducted by simply chilling the oil and observing at what temperature these events occur.  

The Cloud and Pour Point characteristics of an oil are important factors when selecting a lubricant for chiller applications, oil mist applications, and in Northern regions where temperatures routinely reach 0 F in the winter time. 

The Cloud Point and Pour Point tests should not be a part of your routine analysis program.  It is a quality check of the lubricant and should be performed for evaluation of new oils or when a wax problem is apparent or suspected in the system.  

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Copper Strip Corrosion

Certain AW and EP lubricant additives are corrosive to yellow metals. The Copper Strip Corrosion test qualifies the corrosively of an oil to a polished copper strip.  The polished copper strip is coated with the lubricant in question and placed in a heated water bath for 3 hours.  The tarnish color of the copper strip is then compared to ASTM standards and given a rating.  Quality lubricants will have a rating of 1A or 1B.  Generally, the rating should be less than 3 for a 'pass' rating. 

The Copper Strip Corrosion test should not be a part of your routine analysis program.  It is a quality check of the lubricant and should be performed for evaluation of new oils or when tarnishing or corrosion of yellow metals are suspected or apparent.  

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Foaming Tendency

Foam in an industrial lubricant will promote wear on bearing and gear surfaces.  Foam depressants are usually a part of the additive packages in many oils, especially gear oils.  Additive depletion and contamination are the usual causes of foaming.  

The Foaming Tendency test consists of three temperature sequences, 75 F, 200 F, then back to  75 F, using the same sample for the last two sequences.  At each temperature sequence, air is blown into a cylinder containing the oil through a diffusion stone for five minutes.  At the end of five minutes, the amount of foam generated is measured in ml and reported.  At the end of 10 minutes settling time, the amount of foam remaining is again reported.  Quality lubricants will have 0 ml foam after about 5 minutes.  

The Foaming Tendency test should not be a part of your routine analysis program.  It is a quality check of the lubricant and should be performed for evaluation of new oils or when a foaming problem is apparent in the reservoir or sump. 

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Refrigerant Analysis

MRT Laboratories has Refrigerant test package designed to monitor the usability of your refrigerant.  The test package includes:

    Karl Fischer Water Titration down to 3 ppm

    Total Acid Number

    High Boiling Residue

This test package is not designed to ARI 700 specifications, but rather designed to simply determine if the refrigerant is suitable for continued use. 

Both low and high pressure refrigerants can be tested.  Special Sample Bombs are required and available on a limited basis

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Deposit/Scale Analysis

MRT Laboratories can analyze deposits and scales and determine their makeup and help determine how they formed.  The exact series of tests will vary according to the deposit and/or situation, but will generally include spectrographic analysis, quantifying organics, carbonates, and metals, identification of these constituents, and determination on how they formed and recommendations on how to prevent them in the future. 

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Grease Analysis

MRT Laboratories can analyze used greases for moisture content, wear particles, acid build-up, and spectrographic metals. This analysis is most useful in root cause failure analysis of greased bearings and not recommended for routine monitoring as a representative sample is difficult to obtain.  

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Glycol Coolant Analysis

The condition of glycol coolants is important to the proper performance of your heat exchangers and chillers. They have to be maintained in a non-corrosive condition to prevent corroding cooler tubes and piping.  Your glycol/water coolants should be monitored on a semi-annual basis.  Over a period of time, glycol degrades and forms glycolic acids which promote corrosion and further breakdown of the glycol.  

Our coolant analysis package consists of corrosion metals, additive metals, contaminant metals, tolytriazole, glycolic acid, glycol composition, glycol percentage, freeze point, pH, and reserve alkalinity, along with a determination of the continued usability of the coolant.  

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Diesel Fuel Analysis

Diesel fuel stored on-site for your emergency diesel generators and fire pumps can degrade and become contaminated to the point where it will clog injectors and your diesel engines won't fire.  The turn-over rate for most diesel fuel supplies is very low as the engines are usually only tested for 1 or 2 hours each month.  Emergency diesel supplies should be monitored on a semi-annual basis to ensure the fuel is of a quality to meet your emergency needs. 

If excess water accumulates on the bottom of the storage tank, algae and bacteria will grow at the water/fuel interface.  Dead algae will break away from the bio-mass and can become suspended in the fuel.  This bio-mass can clog injectors.  If the fuel has been stored for a long time, gum can form in the fuel and also clog injectors.  

Our Diesel Fuel Analysis package consists of corrosion and contaminant metals, Viscosity, Flash Point, Copper Strip Corrosion, Karl Fischer Water Titration, Specific and API Gravities, Sediment by Filtration, and a microscopic visual check for algae and gum. If the sample results show a higher than 1A Copper Strip Corrosion, we conduct a Sulfur analysis to ensure the fuel meets low sulfur requirements. 

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Sulfur Analysis

Sulfur in the form of Hydrogen-Sulfide (H2S) or other sulfur compounds are usually corrosive to most metals found in your equipment.  If moisture is also present, strong Hydro-Sulfuric acid can form, and corrosion occurs.  Sulfur ingression, in whatever form, is usually a result of seal leakage in applications such as sour gas compression.  Some lubricants contain sulfonated additives such as phosphorus-sulfur compounds use in some EP additives. These additives can be corrosive, especially to yellow metals.  

Unless the application involves sour gas or another source of sulfur, Sulfur Analysis should not be a part of your routine oil analysis program.  In cases of wet-gas compression where monitoring seal performance is importance, routine sulfur analysis should be added to the test list.  

Sulfur Analysis is performed by X-Ray Fluorescence and reported as percent.  Detection limits are in the .01 % range. 

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Other Available Tests

Often to help answer a specific question or help resolve a specific problem, tests outside of the capabilities of MRT Laboratories are required.  MRT Laboratories has established working relationships with other laboratories capable of providing these analytical services. We have taken great care in selecting specific laboratories capable of providing reliable results for the specific test in question.  While we can probably outsource most test requirements, we try to stay within our sphere of knowledge.  Below is a list of tests we routinely provide through outsourcing: 

    Chlorides, Total and Organic 

    Rotating Bomb Oxidation Test

    GCMS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy)

    Total Halogens

    Specific Metals by Atomic Absorption (AA)

    Distillation

    Cetane Index (Diesel Fuel)

    Ramsbottom Carbon Residue

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Out-Sourcing Analysis

If you have a test requirement and don't see it on our web-site, that doesn't mean we can't provide it, either in-house or through outsourcing. If your test requirements are outside our sphere of knowledge, we can probably refer you to a laboratory with experts in that area. Example would be EPA testing, cargo inspection, and product testing.      

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Viscosity/Viscosity Index
Neutralization Number
Karl Fischer Water Titration
Flash Point
Direct Read Ferrography
Particle Count Analysis
FTIR
Micro Particle Examination
Filter Analysis
Demulsibility
Cloud/Pour Point
Copper Strip Corrosion
Foaming Tendency 
Refrigerants
Deposits/Scales
Grease Analysis 
Glycol Coolant Analysis
Diesel Fuel Analysis
Sulfur
Other Available Tests
Out-Sourcing

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Spectro M 

Atomic Emission Spectrometer

Fluid Systems Model 102 Automatic Viscometer for measuring viscosity at 40 deg C, 100 deg C and Viscosity Index

 

 

 

 

 

Neutralization Number Titrator
 

 

 

Karl Fischer Water Titration Reaction Vessel

 

 

 

 

 

 

PetroLab's Mini Flash Point Tester

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DR III 

Direct Read Ferrography Instrument

 

ARTI Laser Light Automatic Particle Counter 

 

 

Ferro Magnetic Wear particles @ 500 X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rust Particles @ 1000 X

Click to enlarge

Typical FTIR Spectra