Tribology is the science and technology of interactive surfaces in relative motion. It incorporates various scientific and technological disciplines such as surface chemistry, fluid mechanics, materials, lubricants, contact mechanics, bearings, lubrication and filtration systems. It is customarily divided into three branches: friction, lubrication, and wear.
This phenomenon is encountered whenever there is relative motion between contacting surfaces, and it always opposes the motion. As no mechanically prepared surfaces are perfectly smooth, when the surfaces are first brought into contact under light load, they touch only along the asperities (real area of contact). The early theories attributed friction to the interlocking of asperities; however, it is now understood that the phenomenon is far more complicated.
When clean surfaces are brought into contact, their coefficient of friction decreases drastically if even a single molecular layer of a foreign substance (for example, an oxide) is introduced between the surfaces. For thicker lubricant films, the coefficient of friction can be quite small and no longer dependent on the properties of the surfaces but only on the bulk properties of the lubricant. Most common lubricants are liquids and gases, but solids such as molybdenum disulfide or graphite may also be used.
This is the progressive loss of substance of one body because of rubbing by another body. There are many different types of wear, including sliding wear, abrasive wear, corrosion, and surface fatigue. All these types of wear are detrimental to the efficient operation of a component.
Scheduled oil analysis and interpretation is critical to the efficient running of any Plant or Equipment. Unfortunately due to lack of knowledge on the subject, the entire report is left in the hands of laboratories that, due to obvious reasons, make use of industry determined standards to provide feedback to the relevant Customer.
The result is a comment of ‘normal’, ‘requires attention’ or ‘critical’ appearing in the top right hand corner of the analysis report. Instead of the report being utilized as a tool to aid with identifying the condition of the internal working parts of a machine, the report is simply graded according to the comment appearing in the top right hand corner and cast aside. An oil analysis should warn of undesired wear occurring within the component. Action can then be taken so as to correct the problem well in advance to any failures occurring. It is a means of “seeing” into the machine.
Utilized correctly, this tool will prove invaluable to cost reductions and the efficiency of any Plant or Equipment.