A new ASTM standard provides a test method to determine the amount of fuel present in an in-service lubricant line, helping improve safety and operations of large equipment in industries such as railroads, airlines and mining.
“The amount of fuel dilution in lubricants, hydraulics and other materials is a key machinery health status indicator, as well as a safety measure,” says ASTM member Patrick Henning, chief technology officer, Spectro Scientific Inc. “Fires can and do result from fuel seeping into a hot lubricant line and igniting. Thus, this test method can have significant economic and human impact.”
The test method (D8004, Test Method for Fuel Dilution of In-Service Lubricants Using Surface Acoustic Wave Sensing) marks the first time that a standard exists to guide this approach.
According to Henning, the U.S. Navy’s Ship Systems Engineering Station originally developed the test method. In 1990, in cooperation with industry, the technology was introduced on U.S. Navy vessels. But a standard did not exist describing the method until now.
“Without the standard, organizations that use the equipment may have to resort to using such a test as a secondary method, and may not be able to take final decisive action,” says Henning. “With this new standard, that has changed. It is very exciting for us to know that users around the world can now rely on this method to take decisive action.”
“Those who use the standard will be able to provide advisories on equipment if it is suspect, and to take early action,” says Henning. “This saves money and lives.”