Wednesday, 27 September 2017 15:02

Clearance-sized particles

One of the most important size particles to control in lubricants and hydraulic oils is clearance-sized particles. Larger particles cannot get between moving surfaces and smaller ones pass right through.

Clearance-sized particles usually get in and do the most damage. The clearance refers to the film of separation provided by the lubricant or hydraulic fluid.

Contamination control starts by keeping contaminants out of the equipment from the beginning. The costs associated with keeping the contamination out from the beginning are much less than cleaning a system once is has been contaminated.

Once the contamination is introduced to the lubricant, the lubricant can start to degrade and internal components can deteriorate prematurely. Implementing a few good maintenance practices can provide the reliability needed to keep equipment running in optimum condition.

How particles affect the oil

Particles, especially catalytic metal particles like copper, iron and lead, increase the rate at which oxidation occurs. Particles also strip the oil of its polar additives, including anti-wear additives, extreme pressure additives, rust inhibitors and dispersants. Also, numerous very small particles in stable suspension can cause the oil’s viscosity to increase.