THE VALUE OF FLUID ANALYSIS
Fluid Analysis is an effective, inexpensive tool which provides information about the internal condition of the major components in vehicles and equipment. Benefits of a well implemented fluids analysis program are as follows:
- Keep small repairs small
- Maximize maintenance dollars
- Manage Major component life
- Document Maintenance practices
- Evaluate maintenance products
HOW OIL ANALYSIS WORKS
During operation, oil lubricated parts work and wear. Internal microscopic particles are captured by the oil as it cycles throughout the system. Titan Laboratories will analyze the oil to determine the condition of your vehicles and equipment. The lab processes four types of analysis:
- Spectrochemical Analysis – provides Wear, Trace and Additive Elements
- Oil Condition – provides Soot, Oxidation, Nitration and Sulfation
- Physical Tests – provides Glycol Contamination, Viscosity, Water Contamination and Fuel Dilution
- Add On Tests – Total Base Number, Total Acid Number, Particle Count, and Karl Fischer Water.
Titan Laboratories provides 23 elements on all oil and coolant reports. The measurement of these tests are in ppm (parts per million). The elements consist of wear elements, additive elements and trace elements.
- Wear Elements: This shows how one part is wearing against another. There is an amount of “normal” wear. If any wear element is abnormal, the lab will highlight that element.
- Additive Elements: These are simply part of the additive package. These additives include; however,
not limited to:
- Trace Elements: These are indicators of external contamination entering into the system. Trace elements will increase when one compartment product enters another compartment. The most common example is coolant entering the engine. We have an electronic copy of our wear metal origin chart available. This is to help provide possible sources of high elements. Trending is very important in oil analysis. With 5 samples viewable on one report, it will be easy to see any exception to your trend.
Oil condition analysis provides soot, oxidation, nitration and sulfation data. Spectrochemical analysis measures wear particles in the oil. Oil condition is a measurement of how the oil is degrading. This testing is essential to anyone that would like to extend oil change intervals.
- Soot: Soot is basically unburned fuel. It is what makes diesel engine oil black. Soot needs to be controlled. Excessive soot can shorten engine life and is very abrasive.
- Oxidation: Oxidation occurs when oxygen molecules join with oil molecules. High oxidation will make the oil thicker than normal and lose lubrication. It will be accelerated by high oil temperatures and/or glycol contamination.
- Nitration: Nitration occurs in all engines, but is generally a problem in Natural Gas Engines. Nitrogen compounds from combustion thickens the oil and reduces lubrication.
- Sulfation: Sulfur is present in fuels and affects engines. Fuel sulfur oxidizes and combines with water to form acids during combustions. Acids corrode all engine parts. There are buffers in the oil additive package to help combat this process.
Several physical tests are done on all samples. Some tests are compartment specific.
- Water: This is done by the crackle test. The presence of water may be from condensation. However, it may also be indicative of a coolant leak.
- Fuel Dilution: A small percentage of fuel in your diesel engine oil may be from extensive idling. Higher levels of fuel may be indicators of injector and/or pump problems.
- Antifreeze: The chemical test is done to determine percentage of glycol in the system. Any amount of glycol contamination is abnormal. Glycol contamination may result in filter plugging, sludge formation, overheating, etc.
- Viscosity: Viscosity measures the flow-ability of oil at a given temperature. Viscosity testing is done at 100°C. High viscosity may be from an extended oil change, overheating or from the use of an after-market oil additive. Low viscosity may be from fuel dilution or transfer from a lower viscosity compartment.
ADD ON TESTS
- Total Base Number (TBN): A measurement of reserve alkalinity. Compare the TBN to the original value of the new oil to determine when oil should be changed.
- Total Acid Number (TAN): A measurement of the amount of acidic products present in the oil. Total Acid Number is typically done on a hydraulic system that extends the oil change intervals and on Industrial testing.
- Particle Count: Particle Count is a measurement of particles that are too large for the Spectrochemical Analysis. Particle count data is reported in an ISO code and a 3 channel count. Particle count is very important for any hydraulic and/or transmission system. Particle count is automatically done on all Industrial Testing. Note: particle count does not identify the particles; it just counts them at different micron ranges to provide an overall level of cleanliness contamination.
- Karl Fischer Water: This water test is very accurate. The results are reported in parts per million (ppm). Karl Fischer is done automatically on all Industrial samples.
- Viscosity at 40°C: This lower temperature viscosity is ran on all Industrial Samples.
Coolant analysis is more important today than it was 10 years ago. With engine operating temperatures increasing, the maintenance of the cooling system is critical to good engine life.
- Corrosion Levels: Corrosion is monitored in the cooling system. Titan Laboratories runs 23 elements on all coolant samples.
- Percent Glycol: Glycol is the main ingredient of most coolants. Too much or too little will reduce the protection of the cooling system.
- Freeze Point: The temperature at which crystallization begins.
- pH: The measure of the hydrogen ion concentration and indicates whether the coolant is acidic, alkaline or neutral.
- Nitrites: The additive and/or inhibitor used in some coolants that provides protection to the system from corrosion.
- Conductivity: The ability of the coolant to conduct an electrical current.
- Visual: Physical inspection of the coolant
- Oil Presence
- Fuel Presence
DIESEL FUEL ANALYSIS
Diesel Fuel Testing has grown in the last few years. We do have kits that contain certain tests. We also provide a la carte service. We strongly suggest calling the lab with your situation and we will provide what tests you may need. Diesel Fuel testing is more expensive than oil and coolant testing. Listed is a partial list of tests provided:
- Cloud Point
- Pour Point
- Flash Point
- Cold Filter Plug