The quality of fuel and lubricants directly affects engine and machinery performance. They are largely responsible for the efficiency and maintenance cost, thus the reaction of fuel and lubricants must be protected and consistently checked in order to safeguard your investment. Because of the relevance of fuel and lube products to the condition of engines and machines, oil analysis testing is immensely necessary.
Oil analysis and testing procedures are available for all kinds of industries and equipment such as automobiles, aviation and combat equipment, marine equipment, construction plant machinery, mining equipment, and a lot more. It is administered during routine maintenance in order to provide detailed information on the condition of both the lubricant and the machine. By monitoring oil analysis results, potential wear in the equipment and other untoward conditions can be foreseen hence preventing you from costly repairs.
Oil or lube analysis is the sampling and laboratory examination of oil's properties and its additives, contaminants and wear debris. In cars for instance, lubricant or petroleum analysis is an important method for determining the internal condition of the engine and its components. The test results facilitates monitoring of the oil's condition in order to make certain that the oil you use to protect the engine is in good condition and does not have contaminants that impair the performance of the fuel that eventually leads to engine failure. While engine oil testing can be costly and time consuming because of fuel usage, it can save you hundreds of dollars, as it is a preventive maintenance. Laboratory tests furnish interpretation and conduct further testing when a problem is noted. The result will determine what actions are to be taken to correct and avoid further impairment. Other benefits of oil analysis testing are longer oil drain intervals, extended equipment life, identification of minor problems before becoming major conditions and optimization of equipment reliability.
Like medical analysis with a blood test, oil analysis services are conducted by laboratories to perform an extensive examination on the lubricant's components. Wear of metallic parts that produce particles for instance can be distinguished by several methods such as spectrometry, atomic emission, paper chromatography, electronic microscopy or analytical ferrography among others. Viscosity analysis is another form of test conducted on oil to measure the resistance of fluid, which is being deformed by extensional stress. The oil's viscosity must complement the requirement of the equipment. The acidity of oil explains whether the oil is oxidized due to operation at high temperature or if too much moisture is present. The alkalinity of the oil shows that it is in contact with inorganic acids like sulphuric or nitric acid.
There are many other factors and conditions that lubricant analysis detects, some of them are thermal stability, additive stability, fluid opacity, abrasion, absorption, desorption, residual dirt capacity, degradation, emulsibility, turbidity, solvency, cavitation, wicking and volatility.
While oil analysis is usually done at laboratories, you can do your own oil testing by available oil analyzers or kits. These are practical, convenient and easy methods that can cut down your cost.