Oil Analysis Tests

The true value of oil analysis tests is understanding how they relate to each other in providing an accurate picture of internal component and lubricant condition.

Without a working knowledge of oil analysis tests and the reasons for performing them, users may never realize the benefits of testing and the reason behind the laboratory’s maintenance recommendations. We consider the following oil analysis tests to be the most important for optimizing machine health and reliability in both industrial and heavy duty applications.

Spectrochemical Analysis
Wear, contaminant and additive elements present as dissolved solids and microscopic particles suspended in the fluid are identified and measured in parts per million by weight. The analyzed elements are grouped into three main categories:

Wear Debris Analysis
Relative motion between lubricated parts is always accompanied by friction between the opposing part surfaces. Despite the fact that these surfaces are usually coated with an oil film, friction wears them away. Some of the wear particles produced are small enough to remain suspended in the circulating oil. Since these wear products are composed of the same materials as the surfaces from which they originated, the level of each wear metal remaining in the used oil indicates the relative wear rate of the lubricated parts.

Depending upon the circumstances, many substances can be classified as contaminants in oil analysis. Silicon, in the form of silicon dioxide (sand), is one of the most common contaminants monitored by spectrochemical analysis. Similarly, grease contamination in an oil system may be indicative of increases in aluminum or barium if the grease contains metallic soaps. Although the term contamination is commonly associated with substances entering a component’s oil system from an external source, wear metals themselves are also a form of contaminant.

Additives are chemical compounds added to oils, fuels and coolants to provide specific beneficial properties to the finished product. Examples include anti-wear, anti-oxidant, detergency, discrepancy additives. These additives create new fluid properties, enhance fluid properties already present and/or reduce the rate at which undesirable changes take place in a fluid during service.

Guide to Wear, Contaminant & Additive Element Sources

Physical Analysis
Physical analysis concentrates on measuring the degradation of certain lubricant characteristics:

• Viscosity
• Water
• Fuel Soot
• Fuel Dilution
• Glycol
• Infrared Analysis
• Oxidation
• Nitration
• Total Acid Number
• Total Base Number
• Particle Count
• Particle Quantifying
• Ferrography

Specialty Fluid Testing
While much of this reference guide has focused on routine oil analysis and testing, test slates for certain industrial systems, greases, fuels, coolants or other special investigations often include non-routine or ASTM specification tests. Bureau Veritas laboratories are fully equipped to provide customers with a wide scope of testing capabilities and specially designed analysis programs for many applications and sample types.

In addition to the oil analysis testing offered through the Oil Condition Monitoring program, other advanced and specialty testing capabilities are available through the Bureau Veritas Oil & Petrochemicals business line, which offers services that can be customized to meet your exact requirements, whether they are for a comprehensive laboratory program or the testing of individual oil samples.

• Laboratory outsourcing and management
• Feedstock testing
• Product quality control
• Research and development projects
• Routine laboratory testing
• Consultancy utilizing our highly trained experts

Analytical & Testing Services
• Biofuels
• Calibration Services
• Cargo Inspection & Blending
• Cargo Treatment & Additives
• Crude Oil Analysis
• Global Sample Forwarding
• Heavy Distillates / Residual Fuels
• Laboratory Subcontracting
• Light Distillates
• Lubricants, Coolants & OCM
• Marine Fuel Services
• Middle Distillates
• Petrochemicals
• Specialized Testing Services
• Transformer Oil Analysis
• Water Analysis