Trico’s used oil analysis and lubricant analysis provides a variety of physical and chemical tests to assess oil/lubricant condition and its ability to perform, as required by the machine’s application. We provide a variety of test packages to determine contamination levels and the health of your lubricant so you can take the necessary actions when needed. As the results of your tests come back to us we will alert you to critical levels and possible reasons for your result. No other lab will provide the expertise that Trico does in terms of years of service by trained lab technicians and analytical ferrography experts. Your used oil tells a story, let us tell that story to you in great detail.
The list below is not all-inclusive of the used oil analysis tests offered:
Used Oil and Lubricant Analysis Tests
Machine Specific Analysis
Results from the following tests are reviewed by your Machine Condition Analyst and recommendations for your equipment is given with supporting data on each report.
Both Lubricant Condition & Equipment Condition are analyzed based on specific characteristics of your equipment, previous component performance, and test data.
Direct Reading Ferrograph
The DR unit separates wear debris from the lubricant according to size. A sample is pumped across a high-gradient magnetic field at a slow rate. The ferrous particles are attracted to the magnetic field and deposited in two locations depending upon the amount of attraction. There are two size ranges: Density Large (DL) and Density Small (DS). The DL represents particles >5 mm and DS represents particles <5 mm. The results are an optical density equivalent and not a particle count.
The WPC, summation of DL and DS, provides a trendable quantity for monitoring the wear condition of a piece of equipment. Fluctuations in the WPC suggest an abnormal condition in the component or possible contamination.
Particles are separated from the lubricant sample by magnets and gravity, allowing for the examination of the individual particles present in the sample. Debris are examined microscopically at magnifications between 100x and 1000x. Particles’ size, shape, composition, and concentration can be determined.
By identifying the size, shape, composition, and concentration of the abnormal wear particles, the wear mechanism and its possible origin can be determined. Solid contaminants can also be identified. Equipment and component metallurgical information aids the analyst in determining the root cause for the formation of these particles.
Elemental Analysis / ASTM D5185
Elemental analysis is performed in accordance with atomic emission spectroscopy (AES). A specific volume of lubricant is energized using an electrical arc. The light frequencies and intensities are measured and reported in parts per million of various elements. The elements consist of wear, additive, and trace elements.
Elemental analysis is useful for identifying contamination, confirming additive content, and indicating system wear. The following elements are analyzed: Fe, Cr, Al, Pb, Sn, Cu, Ag, Ni, Na, V, Cd, Ti, Mo, Ca, Ba, P, Zn, B, K, Mg, and Si.
Particle Count / ISO 4406
As particles in the oil flow pass a laser, the laser light is blocked allowing individual particles to be counted and sized. The resulting data is a distribution of the concentration of particles in various size ranges.
Since all contaminants in the oil are counted as particles, the particle count includes wear particles, soot, dirt, and other contaminates. This test provides information on lubricant cleanliness.
Water by Karl Fischer / ASTM D6304
This test produces iodine when electricity is conducted across a mesh screen. The electrical current needed to create iodine and remove existing water is measured and converted to parts per million (ppm).
Quantification of water contamination – water in a lubricant not only promotes corrosion and oxidation, but also may form an emulsion having the appearance of a soft sludge.
Total Acid Number / ASTM D664
TAN is determined by titration of a known substance, such as KOH in order to determine an unknown quantity. Weighed samples are titrated using an automatic titration system.
TAN of a used lubricant is one measure of its degree of degradation by oxidation.
Total Base Number / ASTM D4739
TBN is determined by titration of a known substance, such as HCl, in order to determine an unknown quantity. Weighed samples are titrated using an automatic titration system.
TBN of a used lubricant is a measurement of its ability to neutralize the acid using basic buffers.
FT-IR Infrared Analysis / ASTM E2412
The infrared absorption spectrum of a lubricant furnishes a means of fingerprinting organic compounds and functional groups. Test results are trended and quantitative and qualitative determinations can be made.
Infrared analysis is often used for identifying additives and their concentrations, reaction products, and contamination by organic materials in used lubricants. Oxidation (carboxylic acids and esters), nitrate esters, water, soot, and glycol can be quantified.
Eye Dropper test of lubricant on a hot plate heated to 100° C to determine presence of water. Detection can be made of water concentration > 800 ppm.
This screening test is used by the analysts to check for water contamination and determination of whether more sensitive testing is required to determine more exact concentration.
Viscosity / Kinematic/Oil Bath / ASTM D445/446
ASTM test uses a constant temperature bath. The efflux time is measured between two points. The viscosity is computed by using a calibration constant and the efflux time. Viscosity is reported in centistokes (cSt) at 40ºC or 100ºC.
Viscosity is the single most important property of a lubricant. A reduction usually indicates that the system has been contaminated with a solvent or refrigerant fluid. A significant increase normally is traced to mixture with a high viscosity product, contamination, or oil oxidation. Normal measurement range for 40ºC is +30% and -20% and for 100ºC is +20% and -10%.