Physical Properties


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While Spectrochemical Analysis indicates what’s happening inside components, our Physical Properties Testing details the condition of lubricants in service.

Used in tandem, the battery of tests that we perform within these analytical parameters form the basis of a highly effective oil and fluids analysis program.

(More information on Bureau Veritas’ trend-setting routine used oil analysis report.)

Depending on the equipment and application, our tests are performed in specific test packages: Water, Fuel Dilution, Total Solids, Fuel Soot [LEM®], Oxidation, Nitration, Glycol, Viscosity, Acid Number, Base Number, Particle Count, Direct Reading Ferrography.

Water Test results are reported in % volume, accurate to 0.05%, or in parts per million (ppm)
Fuel dilution, % Volume Indicated the relative amount of unburned fuel present in the engine lubricant. Excessive fuel dilution reduces lubricant load carrying capacities. Test results are reported in % volume.
Total Solids, % Volume TA measurement of the quantity of fuel soot, sludge, varnish and other insoluble contaminants.
Fuel Soot, % Weight by LEM® An accurate/specific measurement of dispersed fuel soot present. Results are applied to combustion/operating efficiency and dispersant oil additive effectiveness.
Fuel Soot (Infrared) (Absorbance) Measures the amount of insoluble fuel soot carbon suspended in the engine lubricant. Higher values indicate reduced combustion efficiency.
Oxidation (Infrared) Measures the overall breakdown of a lubricant due to aging, operating conditions, or internal overheating.
Nitration (Infrared) Measures the buildup of acidic materials during normal service or, in diesel engines, as a result of cylinder wall/compressing ring “blow-by.”
Glycol (Antifreeze/Coolant)
Positive test results indicate the presence of glycol contamination, most often associated with cooling system internal leaks. glycol contamination promotes lubricant breakdown, sludging, bearing wear, and corrosion..
Viscosity Measures a lubricant’s resistance to flow. Viscosity is considered the single most important physical property of a lubricant. changes in viscosity indicate improper servicing, dilution or contamination, and lubricant breakdown in service. Test results are reported in centistokes (cSt).
Acid Number Measures the total amount of acidic product present in a lubricant. Generally, an increase in AN above that of the new product indicates oil oxidation or contamination with an acidic product.
Base Number Also referred to as total alkalinity or alkaline reserve. The BN measures the alkaline content present (or remaining) in the lubricant. Decreases in BN may indicate reduced acid neutralizing capacity, or a depleted additive package.
Particle Count Measures and counts individual particle present in a specific volume of sample. Counts are normally reported in given micron ranges and/or ISO classification.
Direct Reading (DR) Ferrography Detects the concentration of ferrous (iron-based) wear particles in a sample by magnetically sorting them in two size ranges, then optically measuring the particle density in each range.