Oil Contamination due to Water: Its Effect and Detection Methods
Posted by stephen on October 5th, 2019
The lifespan of contamination sensitive components can increase by as much as 30 to 70 percent if the contamination level can be brought down by just 1 ISO Cleanliness Code. Oil contamination because of water is also known to be the second most important destructive factor that can affect a lubrication system.
One may wonder how oil contamination due to water occurs despite sophisticated system in place. Here are some ways in which water can end up in your lubrication system:
From the environment, like rain or moisture
Leak or damage in the gasket of reservoir covers or filters, broken seals, underperforming air breathers, or a damaged wiper of a hydraulic cylinder
Leaks in water-based cooling systems
Condensation in the lube systems or the reservoirs caused due to differing day and night temperatures
Poor sampling and handling methods during routine oil change
Depending on the solubility of the lube oil, it can hold different volumes of water, with each kind of oil having its own specific saturation point. Accordingly, water can exist in three ways namely dissolved, emulsified or free.
As long as the volume of water remains under the saturation level, the water and oil molecules coexist in such a way that the water isn’t visible. This is the dissolved state and is the least dangerous to a lube system.
However, when the volume of the water goes beyond the saturation point, the oil can no longer absorb any more. The water then gives the oil a hazy look. This is the emulsified state.
Any further rise in water content in the lube oil will enable formation of two separate layers of water and oil. Due to water’s higher density, oil gets suspended over a layer of water called as free water state. But, this does not mean the entire volume separates. Certain amounts of water remain in the emulsified and dissolved states in the lube system.
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Joined: April 12th, 2017
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