Kinematic Viscosity – A Day In The Life Of An Oil Sample

kinematic viscosity Kinematic Viscosity   A Day In The Life Of An Oil Sample

A Day In The Life Of An Oil Sample.

Have you ever wondered what happens to your oil after you’ve sent it to our laboratory? In this blog series, we will be discussing some of the tests your oil may be put through and how they give us an insight into the health of your equipment.


Kinematic Viscosity (KV).

Viscosity (thickness) levels are the most important property of an oil to ensure your equipment functions safely and efficiently.

The purpose of lubricating oil is to separate any moving parts in your equipment; it’s a very fine balance between an oil being too thick or thin and both can be damaging. Too thick an oil can cause high energy consumption and overheating, while too thin an oil allows contact between two moving surfaces leading to abnormal wear.

How it works.

Kinematic viscosity is the most common way to test the viscosity of an oil. The test measures the time it takes for the oil to move from one point to another, under gravity at a set temperature.

The test involves dropping the oil into a glass tube that runs through a Houillon kinematic viscosity bath heated at 40 or 100 C depending on the oil type. The time taken for the oil to run through the tube is recorded and the data is collected for analysis.

Here at Oil Analysis Laboratories, we have a state-of-the-art robotic bath system and two manual baths for testing oil viscosity.

What does it tell us?

Once the data is in, it is sent to our team of diagnosticians to analyse. Each oil type (e.g. engine, hydraulic, gear etc) has a set of limits to be within to be operating efficiently. If the viscosity of a sample lies outside these limits i.e. it’s too thin or thick for purpose, it could be having a detrimental effect. The diagnosticians look at this information alongside the data from other tests to come to a conclusion about the condition of the oil and any effects this may be having on your equipment. For example, if an oils KV is too low, we may also detect abnormal metal levels through ICP testing. This would result in a diagnosis of the oil being too thin and causing abnormal metal wear, which could result in equipment failure.

 Want to find out more about Viscosity and Viscosity specifications you can read more in our full SAE and ISO specifications guide

If you’re interested in learning more about oil analysis, press the contact button below to contact a member of the team.

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