Turbine oils are typically expected to last 10-20 years. Large sump capacities, inaccessibility and losses in productivity make complete oil changes infeasible. Unplanned power outages can be costly to utilities and customers alike. To ensure turbine reliability, routine testing and analysis monitors turbine and turbine oil condition on monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual sampling frequencies.
The biggest threats to turbines and turbine oil health are wear and contamination. Testing and analysis can identify the types, sources and levels of wear and contamination present and determine the lubricant’s remaining useful life.
Close operating tolerances demand clean oil to prevent bearing wear. Water ingression causes the corrosion of metal surfaces and alters viscosity, which can affect load-carrying capacity. Water also accelerates microbial growth in the oil.
Oxidation – caused by high operating temperatures, air and water – results in the formation of degradation acids and other oxidation products, such as varnish, that adhere to metal surfaces changing component clearances as well as heat transfer properties.
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