Lube Oil Analysis Options

MRG’s experts have been performing in-depth oil analysis for over 25 years. Our Lube Oil Analysis monitors the health of oil-lubricated equipment with a comprehensive testing slate. Oils are assessed in three categories: Wear, Oxidation and Physical Properties.

 

While our Standard  Oil Analysis Slate provides comprehensive oil health analysis, some customers require additional testing. If you require additional testing beyond the standard slate, please contact us.

Standard Oil Analysis Slate

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Particle Count

Particle Count

Purpose

Particle counting quantifies the particles in an oil that are larger than 4, 6, and 14 microns. These quantities are translated into the ISO rating. Particle levels are a key indicator of oil health

Method

Oil is pumped through an optical chamber while a light is shown on the sample. Particles are quantified by the scattering of the light as it passes through the sample.

DR-III Ferrography

DR-III Ferrography

Purpose

DR-III Ferrography is used to determine wear levels in oil. Measurements are made at two sizes in order to determine the severity of the ferrous debris. High levels of large particles may indicate analytical ferrography is necessary.

Method

DR-III Ferrography is an optical technique in which ferrous debris is separated from the oil by a magnetic field. As the ferrous debris is captured by the magnetic field, it interrupts a light source that is being measured by a sensor. The decrease in light transmitted through the sample corresponds to the quantity of ferrous debris present in the sample.

RDE Spectroscopy

RDE Spectroscopy

Purpose

Rotating Disc Electrode (RDE) Spectroscopy is an atomic emission spectroscopy method that quantifies the elements that are present in the lubricant. These elements include wear metals such as iron, copper and zinc, additive elements such as magnesium and phosphorus, and grease thickeners such as calcium and sodium. RDE spectroscopy therefore can be used to evaluate wear and contamination properties of a sample.

Method

In this atomic emission spectroscopic method, a small portion of the dissolved sample is ignited between two carbon electrodes. The various wavelength of light that are emitted by the sample as it burns are measured. The various wavelengths that are present and their relative intensity are used to quantify the individual elements that are present in the sample.

Viscosity

Viscosity

Purpose

Viscosity is one of the most important aspects of oil lubrication. Kinematic Viscosity measurements ensure that the viscosity of the oil is within the normal range.

Method

Oil is placed in a u-tube with capillary and inserted into a constant temperature bath to ensure temperature remains at 40oC. The time required for the oil to pass through the capillary is measured. This time is converted into the viscosity using the viscosity constant of the u-tube and reported in centiStokes.

FT-IR Spectroscopy

FT-IR Spectroscopy

Purpose

Fourier Transform-Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) is used to determine the chemical properties of a compound in a qualitative manner. Oxidation products can be detected using this spectroscopic technique. Contamination, including mixing with incompatible greases is easily detected using this method.

 

Method

A small quantity of grease is subjected to a spectrum of infrared radiation. Specific wavelengths of infrared radiation excite the chemical bonds that make up the grease and generate a unique spectral fingerprint. This fingerprint can be compared to baseline data to determine chemical changes in grease composition.

Karl Fischer Water Titration

Karl Fischer Water Titration

Purpose

Karl Fischer Titration is used to determine the concentration of water in a lubricant. It is used to assess environmental contamination.

Method

The lubricant sample is heated in a gas-proof oven in order to vaporize water any water present in the sample. Water vapor is then carried by an inert gas to the reaction chamber, where water vapor reacts with iodine in solution and generates an electric current. The magnitude of the current that is generate corresponds to the concentration of water present in the sample, which is reported in parts per million (ppm).

RULER Testing

RULER Testing

Purpose

Remaining Useful Life (RULER) testing measures the percent of anti-oxidant additive package that remains in the lubricant compared to the baseline. This test shows show if the lubricant is at elevated risk for oxidation.

Method

A portion of the lubricant is exposed to a solvent that extracts anti-oxidants from the lubricant. This extract is subjected to linear sweep voltammetry which measures the change in current as a conducting compound, such as an anti-oxidant, is subjected to linearly increasing potential. The current response of the sample is compared to a baseline to determine the percent of anti-oxidant protection that remains.

Extra Service Offerings

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Analytical Ferrography

Analytical Ferrography

Purpose

Analytical ferrography involves the examination of ferrous debris from a lubricant sample by a qualified laboratory analyst. The analyst may determine wear modes that generated wear specific particles and diagnose abnormal component conditions based on this analysis.

Method

The lubricant is dissolved in organic solvent. It then slowly flows over a microscope slide that is subjected to magnetic field. Ferrous particles are trapped on the slide while non-ferrous particles wash away. These ferrous particles are then examined under high magnification by a laboratory analyst in order to assess generative wear modes.

Oil Filter Testing

 Purpose

Oil Filter testing measures the efficiency of filtration using particle counting to determine before and after filter effectiveness. Actual filters may be submitted for analysis to visually inspect the filters and determine if there are problems with the filters such as rips or clogs that may be causing the filter to function ineffectively.

 

Method

Filter efficiency testing is done using laser-scatter particle counting methodology to determine an ISO Particle Count reported per ISO 4406. Filter inspections are performed by disassembling the filter and visually inspecting for rips or clogs in the matrix of the filter. In some cases, microscopic analysis can be done to view any problems with the filter matrix.

Varnish Potential

 Purpose

Using method ASTM D7843, varnish potential is used to look at the amount of soft varnish particulate present in the oil. In areas of low flow or cooler conditions, soft varnish particulate can coat parts and cause seizing or sticking ultimately leading to premature failure. With early detect, the problem can quickly be remediated.

Method

A patch is prepared per ASTM D7843 and a CIE_dE value is reported. The ranges of CIE_dE include Normal, Monitor, Abnormal and Critical.

Base Number

Purpose

Base Number is designed to look at the total amount of detergent additive present in the oil. Over time, the detergent additive will deplete and the base number will drop. Trending the base number value is particularly important in Engine Oil applications where there are blow by gases present which can quickly deplete the additive package.

 

Method

Base number is performed using a titration method. The trendable value is reported in mg KOH/g of oil.

Acid Number

Purpose

Acid Number is designed to look at the total amount of acidic components present in the oil. Typically a rise is acidic concentration will result in more rapid degradation of the oil.

 

Method

Acid Number is preformed using a titration method. The trendable value is reported in mg KOH/g of oil