Machine condition monitoring based on oil analysis is widely practiced by power plants, including those that are powered by nuclear energy, coal-fired steam, combined cycle gas turbines, medium and low-speed diesel, windmills, and geothermal energy. All of these plants have critical turbines, pumps, bearings, fans, compressors, gears, and hydraulic systems. Failure of critical equipment may not only cause a plant to shut down but do so at a great cost.
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Oil Analysis Options
Many power plants have on-site oil analysis capabilities. More frequently, however, power companies have a central lab servicing multiple plants. Many power plants choose to send their samples to commercial oil analysis labs that likely use Spectro Scientific instruments.
Power Plant Oil Testing
Power plant oil samples are typically subjected to testing for elemental content to determine wear metals, contaminants, and additives. They are also subjected to FT-IR analysis to determine lubricant degradation and second phase fluid contamination, such as water, fuel, and glycol. Power plant oil samples are also subjected to viscosity testing, as well as particle counting, to determine contaminant and wear particle levels. Lastly, they are subjected to ferrographic analysis if routine tests show problems or for extremely critical components.
In the special case of liquid-fired gas turbines, the Spectroil M/F is used to measure fuel contaminants such as alkali metals (Na, K, and Li) and other deleterious metals (V and Pb), the presence of which can lead to turbine blade corrosion and a greatly shortened service life.
For more information about oil industry analysis, contact us.