Elements of a lubricant check

Fire, water, air and earth – well into the 18th century, alchemists believed there to be just four elements. In modern chemistry, 118 elements – from hydrogen to ununoctium – have so far been defined in the periodic system and classified according to various criteria. They are commonly divided into elements that form metals and constitute the bulk of the periodic table, non-metals and the intermediate category of the metalloids.

For good reason, the quantitative determination of the elements present in lubricants lies at the heart of lubricant analysis. After all, there is no oil, grease or assembly paste that does not occasionally contain several metallic elements. Since no additive package and hardly any grease thickener can do without them, they are already present in factory fresh products. Used oils or greases contain even more elements/ These are mostly either wear-induced particles originating in the lubricated component, contaminants or constituents of another lubricant.However, no matter what their origin, an element analysis using an ICP or RDE device can detect practically all of them in a standard-compliant manner. OELCHECK laboratory reports list up to 30 separate elements in concentrations of mg/kg (ppm) – and thus far more than the 18 elements in the standard studies by competing laboratories. In addition, the PQ Index (Particle Quantifier) also makes it possible to distinguish between corrosive, non-magnetic metal wear on the one hand, and abrasive, magnetisable metal wear on the other.

Table of contents

  1. The elements in the OELCHECK laboratory report
  2. Wear, contaminants or additives?
  3. Hydraulic oils: typical warning values
  4. Gear and industrial oils: typical warning values

OELCHECKER Spring 2015, page 4 - 5
OELCHECKER Winter 2014, page 3, 5 - 6