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Fluid Diagnostics

An Explanation of the Analysis Components


FLUID CONDITION

Viscosity (Visc 40∘C)


• Measure of the internal friction or resistance to flow of the fluid
• One of the most important physical properties
• A lubricant must have a suitable viscosity to ensure that an adequate supply reaches parts
needing lubrication
o If Viscosity is too high – at lower temperatures the fluid will be too thick and
unable to pump to all needed parts
o If Viscosity is too low – at higher temperatures the fluid can shear and loose film
strength

If Viscosity is Abnormal (Caution)


• Verify that the correct fluid was specified (different fluids have different viscosities)
• Verify that correct fluid was used for top offs
• Verify number of hours on fluid (fluid properties change as the fluid reaches the end of
it’s expected life)
• Resample after 500 hours or 1 month (unless you changed the coolant)

If Viscosity is Critical (Serious)


• Verify that the correct fluid was specified (different fluids have different viscosities)
• Change Coolant
• If coolant is not near the ‘Normal’ change out period – change fluid and do the following
o Consider flushing system
o Check for source of contamination
o Verify that correct fluid was used for top offs

Total Acid Number (TAN)


• Indicates the remaining useful life of the fluid
• Measure of the acidity of a fluid due to the effects of oxidation on the fluid

• Abrupt changes in TAN may indicate abnormal operating conditions


* High Temperatures * Lubricant Starvation
* Incorrect Lubricant * Excessive Water
* Wear Debris * Ineffective Filtration
* Coolant over 8000 hrs old * Other environmental conditions
* Contaminated Intake Air with Acidic Gases (Ammonia, Chlorine, Hydrochloric
Acid, Sulphur Dioxide, metal cleaning solvents, welding fumes, boiler or vehicle
exhaust fumes, etc.)

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If TAN is Abnormal (Caution)
• Check for cause of contamination – see above list for possible causes
• Improve Operating Conditions if needed
• Resample after 500 hours or 1 month

If TAN is Critical (Serious)


• Change Coolant (consider flushing system)
• Check for cause of contamination – see above list for possible causes
• Check inlet condition
• Use Air Analysis Coupon Test – CCN 68144765
• Improve Operating Conditions if needed

Water (H2O)
• Water can damage the metal surfaces that the lubricant is designed to protect
• Excessive water or moisture reduces the lubricant’s ability to separate moving parts,
which results in higher friction, which results in wear and higher temperatures that further
break down the lubricant
• Friction etc. can cause temperatures in excess of water’s boiling point. The boiling off of
water can result in places where the lubricant is forced out of the space between parts
allowing moving surfaces to contact and cause wear.
• Water promotes oxidation in lubricant, corrosion on surfaces, and excessive wear

• Possible Causes of High Water Content


* minimum pressure valve not working * inadequate weatherproofing
* heat exchanger leak (water cooled units) * compressor running too cool
* new lubricant not being properly stored * no load for long periods
* light load after extended downtime * high humidity
* ambient air conditions

If Water level is Abnormal (Caution)


• Check for cause of contamination – see above list for possible causes
• Improve Operating Conditions if needed
• If possible, run machine unloaded to burn off condensate
• Resample after 500 hours or 1 month

If Water level is Critical (Serious)


• Change Coolant
• Check for cause of contamination – see above list for possible causes
• Improve Operating Conditions if needed

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Oxidation
• Oxidation occurs when a fluid is exposed to air
• It is a measure of how the fluid is standing up to the environment in which it is operating
• A high Oxidation level usually indicates a thickening (rise in viscosity) and eventual
failure of the lubricated component due to lack of effective lubrication
• Oxidation Inhibitors (Oxidation preventing additives) are utilized to counteract the effect
of Oxygen and Heat (ie: Barium)
• Synthetic fluids have a high oxidation level due to their chemical structure

• A sudden rise in Oxidation may indicate abnormal operating conditions


* High Temperatures (#1 Cause) * Lubricant Starvation
* Incorrect Lubricant * Excessive Water
* Wear Debris * Ineffective Filtration
* Coolant over 8000 hrs old * Other environmental conditions
* Contaminated Intake Air with Acidic Gases (Ammonia, Chlorine, Hydrochloric
Acid, Sulphur Dioxide, metal cleaning solvents, welding fumes, boiler or vehicle
exhaust fumes, etc.)

If Oxidation level is Abnormal (Caution)


• Check for cause of contamination – see above list for possible causes
• Check inlet condition
• Improve Operating Conditions if needed

If Oxidation level is Critical (Serious)


• Change Coolant
• Check for cause of contamination – see above list for possible causes
• Check inlet condition
• Use Air Analysis Coupon Test – CCN 68144765
• Improve Operating Conditions if needed

pH
• The pH indicates if a fluid is a base or an acid (7 is neutral, Less that 7 is an acid, Greater
than 7 is a base)
• The lower the pH, the more acidic the fluid
• A low pH can indicate corrosive wear of the bearings
o If pH is Critical (Serious), the fluid is no longer able to protect against corrosion,
this will shorten the life of the airend. Change Fluid.

If pH is Abnormal (Caution)
• Check inlet condition
• Resample after 500 hours or 1 month
• If all other indicators are normal, it may indicate the intake air is contaminated with
acidic gases (Ammonia, Chlorine, Hydrochloric Acid, Sulphur Dioxide, metal cleaning
solvents, welding fumes, boiler or vehicle exhaust fumes, etc.)

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If pH is Critical (Serious)
• Change Coolant
• Check for cause of contamination
• Use Air Analysis Coupon Test – CCN 68144765
• Check inlet condition

Elemental Analysis – Additives (ppm)


Additives are used in the lubricant to help protect the fluid and machine from degradation.
A reduction is the amount of the additive in not desirable.

Additives in lubricants include the following:

Barium (Ba)
Corrosion Inhibitor
• It is normal for Barium to deteriorate as fluid ages. If you are near the end of the
specified life for the coolant, lower Barium levels will be normal.

If Barium level is Abnormal (Caution)


• If no other issues, simply monitor the machine
• If there are other Abnormal (Caution) items, follow direction for those items

If Barium level is Critical (Serious)


• Change Coolant

Phosphorus (P)
An additive in some lubricants
• If you have levels of Phosphorus in Ultra Coolant, it is a contaminate – it’s not used in
Ultra Coolant

If Phosphorus level is Abnormal (Caution)


• Check for cause of contamination

If Phosphorus level is Critical (Serious)


• Check for cause of contamination

Zinc (Zn)
• Corrosion of the galvanized parts of the air/oil separator in a rotary compressor will result
in elevated levels of Zinc
• If Zn is elevated and TAN is over 1.0, acid could be removing Zn from the compressor
system (Brass components)
• Elevated levels of Zinc and Copper, indicate particles from Brass / Brass Plated
components

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If Zinc level is Abnormal (Caution)
• Check for signs of contamination, corrosion or wear and correct as necessary

If Zinc level is Critical (Serious)


• Check for signs of contamination, corrosion or wear and correct as necessary

Magnesium (Mg)
An additive in some lubricants
o Not used in Ultra Coolant

If Magnesium level is Abnormal (Caution)


• Check for signs of contamination, corrosion or wear and correct as necessary

If Magnesium level is Critical (Serious)


• Check for signs of contamination, corrosion or wear and correct as necessary

Elemental Analysis – Contamination and Wear Particles (ppm)

Wear Particles
It is normal for contact between two moving surfaces to result in a gradual wearing of the
surfaces. This gradual wearing rubs off small metal particles from the surfaces, which remain in
the lubricant. Since a particle is made up of the material from which it originated, the relative
amount of each metal present in the lubricant indicates the wear condition of the machine
components. Coolant filters are used to remove these particles from the system.

Contaminant Particles
Contaminant Particles are materials that have been ingested into the system. Contaminates can
enter the system through many avenues.
• Intake Air (gases, salt air, small particles like dust, etc.)
• Adding Oil (different oil, contaminated oil, etc.)
• Environment
• Other methods

Iron (Fe) - Ferrous


Wear Metal
• Possible sources of excessive Iron:
• Wear or corrosion of castings, bearings, rotors, etc.
• Corrosion from water in the system – check water levels
• Corrosion due to high TAN / low pH
• Contamination - environmental

If Iron level is Abnormal (Caution)


• Carry out BOTH Vibration & SPM tests
• Check for possible corrosion – see list above
• Resample after 500 hours or 1 month (or as soon as practically possible)
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If Iron level is Critical (Serious)
• Carry out BOTH Vibration & SPM tests
• Check for possible corrosion – see list above
• Resample after 250 hours or 2 weeks (or as soon as possible)
• Consider stopping machine until cause is identified

Chromium (Cr) and Molybdenum (Mo)


Chromium is a Wear Metal
Molybdenum is a Wear Metal and possible Contaminate

• These are alloy metals for the steel used in bearings


• If large amounts of these elements are present, check for bearing wear

If Chromium or Molybdenum levels are Abnormal (Caution)


• Check for possible wear or corrosion
• Check for signs of Iron (Ferrous)

If Chromium or Molybdenum levels are Critical (Serious)


• Carry out BOTH Vibration & SPM tests
• Check for possible wear or corrosion
• Check for signs of Iron (Ferrous)
• Resample after 250 hours or 2 weeks (or as soon as practically possible)

Silicon (Si)
Contaminate
• High levels indicate contaminates have been ingested into the machine, most likely past
the Air Filters
o Contaminates may include: dirt, sand, etc.

If Silicon level is Abnormal (Caution)


• Check for source of contamination
• Inspect and change Inlet Filters if needed
• If ISO level is also high, consider changing coolant and oil filter

If Silicon level is Critical (Serious)


• Check for source of contamination
• Inspect and change Inlet Filters
• If ISO level is also high, consider changing coolant and oil filter

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Sodium (Na)
Contaminate
• Check for contaminated intake air (Ocean Air, Salt Flats, etc.)
• Sodium (Na) and Calcium (Ca) together may indicate a water leak across a cooling water
heat exchanger

If Sodium level is Abnormal (Caution)


• Check for source of contamination
• Inspect and change Inlet Filters if needed
• Check Barium level

If Sodium level is Critical (Serious)


• Check for source of contamination
• Inspect and change Inlet Filters
• Check Barium level

Calcium (Ca)
Additive - Corrosion Inhibitor in some lubricants
• If used some Calcium present is desirable

Contaminate
• In combination with elevated levels of Sodium - indicates possible leak across a cooling
water heat exchanger

If Calcium level is Abnormal (Caution)


• Check for source of contamination

If Calcium level is Critical (Serious)


• Check for source of contamination

Copper (Cu)
Wear Metal
• Check Coolers (extreme caution if it is a water-cooled machine)
• Elevated levels of Zinc and Copper, indicate particles from Brass / Brass Plated
components

If Copper level is Abnormal (Caution)


• Check for source of wear

If Copper level is Critical (Serious)


• Check for source of wear
• Consider pressure testing water cooled coolers

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Aluminum (Al)
Wear Metal

If Aluminum level is Abnormal (Caution)


• Check for source of contamination or wear
• Inspect and change Inlet Filters if needed
• Check TAN

If Aluminum level is Critical (Serious)


• Check for source of contamination or wear
• Inspect and change Inlet Filters if needed
• Check TAN

Boron (B), Potassium (K), Lead (Pb), Silver (Ag), Vanadium (V)
Contaminate
• Lead can indicate possible breakdown of solder

If Boron, Potassium, Lead, Silver, or Vanadium levels are Abnormal (Caution)


• Check for source of possible contamination

If Boron, Potassium, Lead, Silver, or Vanadium levels are Critical (Serious)


• Check for source of possible contamination

Tin (Sn), Nickel (Ni), Titanium (Ti)


Wear Metals

If Tin, Nickel or Titanium levels are Abnormal (Caution)


• Check for source of possible wear

If Tin, Nickel or Titanium levels are Critical (Serious)


• Check for source of possible wear

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ISO Cleanliness (Particle Count)
ISO Cleanliness monitors how much debris, metallic and non-metallic, is in a fluid. This method
measures the number of particles per million. With the 3 number ISO value, the first number
measures the number of particles greater than 4 microns, the second number is the number of
particles greater than 6 microns, and the third is greater than 14 microns.

A high particle count signifies that there is a lot of solid debris in the fluid, such as wear
particles, sand, dirt, organic material, etc. Since most Ingersoll Rand coolant filters screen out 5
microns or greater, it is the second and third number that indicates how well the coolant filtering
system is working.

Causes of high particle counts include, but are not limited to:
* clogged lubricant filter * bypassing lubricant filter
* clogged intake air filter * bypassing air intake filter
* excessive wear debris generation * fluid Oxidation
* heat exchanger leak (water cooled units) * degraded/corroded seals and gaskets
* excessive idling * light load after extended downtime
* incorrect sampling procedure * other causes

Number of particles per Number of particles per ISO Range Number


million Greater Than …… million Less Than ……
80,000 160,000 24
40,000 80,000 23
20,000 40,000 22
10,000 20,000 21
5,000 10,000 20
2,500 5,000 19
1,300 2,500 18
640 1,300 17
320 640 16
160 320 15
80 160 14
40 80 13
20 40 12
10 20 11
5 10 10

If ISO Particle Count levels are Abnormal (Caution)


• Inspect / Change (if needed) Inlet Filters
• Inspect / Change (if needed) Oil Filters
• Check for source of contamination – see list above

If ISO Particle Count levels are Critical (Serious)


• Change Inlet Filters
• Change Oil Filters
• Check for source of contamination – see list above
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