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10 Wear Particle Analysis

DOI: 10.1016/s0167-8922(04)80026-9
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Publisher Summary This chapter describes some basic and specialized methods used in wear particle analysis. It discusses the analysis of the shape of wear particles and the image analysis of abrasive grits. An analysis of wear particles from used lubricants (or process fluids) can reveal a wide range of data about wear and lubrication mechanisms occurring within a functioning machine or during tribological test. Analytical techniques range from simplified methods designed for routine industrial application to research tools, which are used to analyze the fine detail of wear debris. The two basic types of wear particle analysis available, spectrographic oil analysis (SOAP) and ferrography, each have their own advantages and limitations. SOAP provides a rapid assessment of both quantity and composition of wear particles suspended in lubrication oil, while analytical ferrography provides detailed information about the wear mechanisms. Visual analysis of retrieved wear particles, although required for reliable wear monitoring is, however, more expensive and time consuming.

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