Viswa Lab Highlights The Increased Importance of Lubricant Testing

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  • Lubricant and additive companies are developing new cylinder oils.
  • These new additive packages will take care of the issues posed by the new fuels.
  • In most of the vessels, VLSFOs have replaced the conventional HSFOs.
  • The new lubricating oils being developed will have to go through detailed lab bench tests.
  • VLSFOs have different performance characteristics and the existing bench tests cannot fully evaluate the performance.
  • It is essential to modify and improve the current bench tests in the lab.
  • Viswa Lab has embarked on this ambitious project to meet the demands of the newly evolving lubricants.

The technical update published by Viswa Labs highlights the increased importance of lubricant testing.

Importance of lubrication testing

With the introduction of the new VLSFOs in the market, the lubricant and additive companies are developing new cylinder oils with new additive packages to take care of the issues posed by the new fuels. In most of the vessels (except those fitted with scrubbers), VLSFOs have replaced the conventional high Sulfur heavy fuel oil.

Testing its real-world performance

The new lubricating oils being developed will have to go through detailed bench tests in the lab and then through real-world performance on a field trial. It has been observed that mere lab level tests for newly formulated lubricating oils are not enough. In fact, many of the established bench tests themselves have to be modified or replaced to accommodate the new fuel characteristics.

Varied performance characteristics

The VLSFOs have different performance characteristics and the existing bench tests cannot fully evaluate the performance. For example, there have been reports of high levels of deposits on piston rings and grooves. This needs a solution based on more powerful dispersant additives with deposit control properties. The new packages containing both detergents and dispersants could theoretically perform well but this cannot be introduced into the market unless the field tests are carried out.

It is essential to modify and improve the current bench tests in the lab. It may be necessary to pre-age a lubricant or add synthesized deposits or fuel to the oil to improve the correlation between the conditions in the engine and in the lab.

New fuels introduced as biofuels or hydrogen-based fuels

New fuels are also being introduced such as biofuels or hydrogen-based fuels, in order to reduce emissions. Here again, the lubricant chemistry has got to be altered. Considering that it takes a few years to develop a new cylinder oil product, it is important for the lube and additive manufacturing companies and equally important for testing labs to get ready to upgrade their testing processes, methods, and procedures to meet the new requirements.

Viswa lab’s expertise

Viswa Lab has embarked on this ambitious project to meet the demands of the newly evolving lubricants. We hope to meet the testing requirements combined with the unique insight into our knowledge and experience with operating diesel engines. More information will be provided on this.

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Source: Viswa Lab

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