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Our most recent blog entries

Analytical Ferrography: Sample Preparation

Thu Oct 15 2020, by Aaron Payan, CLS

Analytical ferrography (microscopic analysis of a fluid sample) is an invaluable part in the oil analysis toolkit. By analyzing metallic particles present in used oil samples, under a microscope, you can often determine important information on the system such as wear severity, mode, and lubricated component location. Ferrography also allows the analyst to potentially identify contaminants in the oil such as dirt, fibers, or [...]

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Do Companies that Sample Lube oil at the Optimal Location Have the Best Oil Analysis Programs?

Fri Oct 09 2020, by Ben Hartman, CLS

We’ve already started our investigation on whether MRT customers that pull oil samples from the ideal locations receive fewer abnormal alarms on oil analysis reports. We aim to report our findings at the end of the year, and here is our Scientific Method for this research.

Step 1-Question: Do MRT customers that collect samples from downstream of equipment and upstream of filters receive the fewest number of abnormal oil analysis alarms?


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Catastrophic Bearing Failure - A case study In why sampling location is critical to successful oil analysis.

Wed Oct 07 2020, by Ben Hartman, CLS

Last week an MRT customer lost a critical compressor due to unexpected bearing failure. The customer diligently mails in lube oil samples for routine analysis on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. Why didn’t the oil analysis detect early stage abnormal bearing wear in advance of this unexpected failure? Isn’t that what oil analysis is for, to catch abnormal wear issues at the earliest stage?

It’s an understatement to say that it’s frustrating when this happens. Together let’s[...]

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How to Think About Your Oil Analysis Results

Thu Aug 27 2020, by Aaron Payan, CLS

The end-result of any laboratory analysis is data.

Sometimes our customers will come to us with questions about their data. It can feel like they are being inundated with esoteric test names, values, and trends, and it isn’t clear what is important to focus on, and what is not.

Ultimately, it is up to the data analyst (one of our

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How much gasoline contamination will significantly alter a lubrication regime?

Thu Aug 13 2020, by Ben Hartman, CLS

In our oil analysis laboratory we tested the effect of gasoline contamination on the viscosity and flash point of a new lubricant and found repeatable results that can be helpful for refining industry clients. We injected gasoline at 0.5%, 1.0%, 2.0%, and 3.0% by weight into new lubricant samples to track the effect on oil viscosity at 40 degrees C (using ASTM D7279) and on flash point (using ASTM D6450, which is closed cup). By using this information our refinin[...]

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Don’t Neglect to Test Your Industrial Glycol-Based Coolants

Fri Jun 12 2020, by Ben Hartman, CLS

For our refining and petrochemical clients, we highly recommend regularly scheduled analysis of your industrial glycol-based coolants. Moving to a semi-annual testing schedule is the goal, which we recommend after confirming that coolant of correct formulation flows through every critical system and that the system is free of corrosive build up.

Case Study: Ten years ago, a major US refiner began coolant analysis at MRT. They were already sending routine oil samples to the lab but had b[...]

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Principles of Lubrication: The Causes and Effects of Wear

Tue May 19 2020, by Aaron Payan, CLS

If you are looking for a concise, accurate, and insightful description of the basics of lubrication – you’re at the right place.

In this article, I want to describe the mechanics of wear, the different types of lubrication regimes, and the steps you need to take to ensure your fluid does its job.

Recent estimates state that equipment wear could cost the US economy as much as $300B per year! This should provide plenty of justification for every operator to pay close attention to th[...]

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Need Oil Analysis During COVID-19? MRT Is Here For You.

Tue May 12 2020, by Aaron Payan, CLS

While many businesses have been able to successfully transition to remote work during COVID-19, for many personnel in critical industries such as power generation, transportation, and manufacturing, this is not a practicable option.

For these operators, the need to maintain equipment up-time is as real as ever.

MRT has been fortunate to, so far, have zero employees affected by COVID-19.

We are playing our part to help curb this illness by incorporating proper social distanci[...]

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Water contamination of oil. How much water is too much?

Mon Apr 06 2020, by Ben Hartman, CLS

The three phases of water in a lubricant are dissolved water, emulsion, and free water. 

In every lubricant the goal is for water to be dissolved. It is abnormal for any lubricant’s appearance to be cloudy (emulsion) or for there to be water drops or a water layer (free water) in the oil. The only exception to this rule is an engine oil that can have a black and translucent appearance but still be suitable for continued use.

We are commonly asked; in any lubricant how much wa[...]

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Severe Particle Contamination of Oil. Is this Abnormal Equipment Wear? What do we do?

Mon Apr 06 2020, by Ben Hartman, CLS

The oil sample in the photo is a from an outboard turbine bearing and the poor appearance raises a red flag. What specifically is the issue? What does the company need to do? What questions should they ask? Is a catastrophic failure imminent? Shutting down the unit is not an option.

By the way, it’s difficult to obtain a good oil sample from this unit. The unit holds very little oil that lubricates a critical bearing. Pulling a sample from the drain is the only option and[...]

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