Analytical Instrumentation & Environmental Monitoring

Determination of wear metals using Prodigy7

January 2014 Analytical Instrumentation & Environmental Monitoring

Wear metals analysis, using Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometers (ICP-OES), has been an important component of predictive maintenance programmes for many years. Oil-based materials, such as engine oils, transmission oils and engine coolants, are regularly monitored for the presence of particles deposited from the components that they are designed to protect. These particles gradually build up in the oil due to normal wear of the component. For this reason, the analysis of used oils and coolants is often referred to as wear metals analysis or fluids analysis. This technique can be used to identify and predict component failure based on the composition of the metals and the speed at which they accumulate overtime. By analysing the various metals in the fluids and applying trend analysis, expensive breakdowns can be prevented and service life increased.

Fluid analysis can also be used to maximise the usable life of oils by monitoring the health of any additive packages to determine the depletion of particular elements. Among the most widely used additive types are those used for anti-wear, these typically contain high concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, and zinc, and are used to reduce premature wear of vehicle engines. The additives in the oil bond to metal surfaces in the engine and help reduce friction between the moving parts. These additives are particularly important for oil used in racing vehicles as the engines are operated at extremely high temperatures and pressures.

Teledyne Leeman Lab’s Prodigy7

The analysis of wear metals in lubricating fluids is a challenging but common application in ICP spectrometry. Generally, laboratories analysing samples of this type require accurate, high throughput analysis, to provide quick turn-around time for their customers. The Teledyne Leeman Lab’s Prodigy7 provides a high rate of sample throughput with optimum accuracy and precision under standard operating conditions.

The Prodigy7 is able to provide this level of performance by paying proper attention to the needs of wear metals analysis labs and then reflecting those needs into the ultimate workhorse instrument. The design features that make this possible include:

* A high energy optical system and detectors ideal for making precise measurements with short integration times.

* High sensitivity sample introduction system designed for rapid ­equilibration and washout.

* Easy-to-use software that simplifies operation and training.

* A robust RF power supply able to handle the demands of organic samples.

Prodigy7 is designed to be successful in the most demanding wear metals analysis applications.

For more information contact Chantelle Conradie, Elemental ­Analytics, +27 (0)11 918 6994,,


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