Wear Debris Analysis 2


Today’s industrial machines are incredibly sophisticated. Maintaining the integrity of these engineering marvels requires the best technology that science has to offer.

So it should come as no surprise that spectrochemical elemental analysis forms the cornerstone of Bureau Veritas’ used oil analysis services. This remarkable technology was first introduced on an industrial scale in 1960. Bureau Veritas was the first commercial lab to provide spectrochemical analysis—using the results of this exceptionally accurate tool to identify machinery conditions on a microscopic level and develop appropriate maintenance recommendations.

Big problems often start small.
Spectrochemical Analysis allows us to analyze an oil sample and search for the presence of minute metallic elements. Due to circulation and function within a mechanical system, every lubricant that is in-service will contain microscopic particles of metallic elements. Spectrochemical Analysis identifies and measures these particles in parts per million (PPM) by weight. The analyzed elements are grouped into three main categories—Wear Metals, Contaminants and Additives—and their measurement in PPM provides the data that our expert analysts need to determine the equipment’s condition. In turn, we use this information to recommend specific maintenance procedures.

Include links to

  • Direct Read
  • Analytical Ferrography

See below for common engine wear analysis

Iron Indicates the wear originating from rings, shafts, gears, valve train, cylinder walls, and pistons in some engines.
Chromium Primary sources are chromed parts such as rings, liners, etc., and some coolant additives.
Nickel Secondary indicator of wear from certain types of bearings, shafts, valves and valve guides.
Aluminum Indicates wear of pistons, rod bearings and certain types of bushings.
Lead In diesel engines, overlay of most man/rod bearings. In gasoline engines, mostly from tetraethyl lead contamination.
Copper Wear from bearings, rocker arm bushings, wrist pin bushings, thrust washers, other bronze and brass parts. In some transmission, wear from discs and clutch plates. Oil additive or anti-seize compound.
Tin Indicates wear from bearings when babbit overlays are used. Also an indicator of piston wear in some engines.
Silver Wear of bearings which contain silver. In some instances, a secondary indicator of oil cooler problems, especially when coolant in sample is detected.
Titanium Alloy in high quality steel for gears and bearings.
Silicon A measure of airborne dust and dirt contamination, usually indicating improper air cleaner service.
Boron Coolant additive; used as an additive in some oils.
Sodium Coolant additive; used as an additive in some oils.
Potassium Coolant additive.
Molybdenum Indicates ring wear. Used as an additive in some oils.
Phosphorous Antirust agents, spark-plug and combustion chamber deposits.
Zinc Antioxidants, corrosion inhibitors, anti-wear additives, detergents, extreme pressure additives.
Calcium Detergents, dispersants, acid neutralizers.
Barium Corrosion inhibitors, detergents, rust inhibitors.
Magnesium Dispersant, detergent additive, alloying metal.
Antimony Bearing overlay alloy or oil additive.
Vanadium Heavy fuel contaminant.

Containing Contaminants
Depending on the circumstances, many different substances can be classified as contaminants. Silicon, in the form of silicon dioxide (sand), is one of the most common contaminants monitored with Spectrochemical Analysis. Similarly, the presence of grease contaminating an oil system may be indicated by increases in aluminum or barium if the grease contains metallic soaps. Although contamination is commonly associated with substances entering a components oil system from an outside source, wear metals themselves are also a form of contaminant.

Assisting Additives
Additives are chemical compounds added to oils, fuels, and coolants to impart specific beneficial properties to the finished products. Additives create new fluid properties, enhance properties already present, or reduce the rate at which undesirable changes take place in a fluid during service.