Dr. Patrick Henning, of Spectro Scientific, has worked on the analysis of fuels and lubricants for more than a decade and has been part of the ASTM Standards Committee since 2010. AZoM spoke to Dr. Henning about new standards for testing fuel dilution and how Spectro Scientific's Q6000 Fuel Dilution Meter can be used to adhere to them.
What positions have you held or currently hold with the ASTM Standards Committee?
I was the Co Vice-Chairman of ASTM Committee D02.96 on In-Service Lubricant Testing and Condition Monitoring Services from 2010-2015.
I currently serve as Co-chair of D02.96.03 and D02.96.07 subcommittees on FTIR and Integrated Testers, Instrumentation Techniques for In-Service Lubricants.
Can you tell us why the new standard D8004 from ASTM International was developed?
Whenever Spectro Scientific launches a new product that has market acceptance, there is a natural need to seek a standard as validation that the technology has been assessed via an independent standards organization.
For the Q6000 Fuel Dilution Meter, it was no different. Users need to be sure that an independent voluntary consensus organization has vetted the technology and it meets performance and safety standards. In the fall of 2015, we learned that ASTM International established standard test method D8004, which certifies the analysis provided by the Q6000 fuel dilution meter.
The Q6000 Fuel Dilution Meter from Spectro Scientific
What impact does this have on in-service lubricant analysis?
Spectro Scientific’s portable analyzers provide high-quality information right at the point of use, or in the field where the oil is being used by the machinery. Operators can be confident knowing that the technology is ASTM-certified and has been evaluated to meet performance standards.
What’s more, the technology is accessible to field-based maintainers allowing them to make immediate decisions and take the appropriate maintenance actions. Ultimately, this technology works, in the context of a condition-based assessment program, to significantly reduce the possibility of an engine failure.
How is this applied in practice?
A small sampling of oil sample is taken from the machinery and immediately placed in the Q6000 analyzer without sample preparation. A quantitative indication of fuel dilution is provided in less than one minute. The hand portability of the device and the immediate fuel dilution answers it provides are unmatched in the industry.
Fuel dilution in oil can cause serious engine damage. In diesel engine crankcases, for example, contamination can be caused by excessive idling, defective injectors and loose connections. The Q6000 provides on-the-spot indication of this contamination, which can provide huge damage avoidance cost savings for our customers.
Spectro Scientific has taken lubrication oil analysis beyond the laboratory to the equipment site, which is especially useful for customers like our railway, mining, and on-road fleets. By bringing in-service oil analysis to the equipment site, the maintainers can save time and money and increase the uptime of their equipment.
The dilution of fuel can be extremely problematic Jim Barber | Shutterstock
Can you tell us about Spectro’s surface acoustic wave sensing fluid analysis technique and what’s unique about it?
Spectro Scientific uses a patent-pending surface acoustic wave sensing fluid analysis technique. The technology is unique in that the sampling portion is specifically tailored for field use. The goal was to make the transfer of the sample to the instrument as simple as possible while providing world-class performance.
The same objective applies for our patented, portable analyzers: the FluidScan IR spectrometer, SpectroVisc viscometer and FieldLab 58.
What makes the Q6000 Fuel Dilution Meter perfect for use with the D8004 standard in fleet vehicle analysis applications for example?
Because of the portability of the analyzer, it is ideal for testing fuel dilution in engine oil in fleets such as railways since the testing can be done right out along the railway line.
The same can be said for off-road mining fleets and trucks & buses. The testing is completed at the point of use which eliminates waiting for sample results from an off-site testing facility.
Where was the D8004 standard first implemented?
The technology was first implemented with a major US railway fleet. By implementing the standard, they had the confidence in knowing they were using a technology which helped to pinpoint problem locomotives that could impact the effective operation of the fleet.
How is Spectro Scientific looking to develop the surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensing fluid analysis technique further?
With each product development initiative, we expand the capabilities and versatility of our portfolio. We realize that you can’t compromise on performance and quality; they go hand-in-hand.
It’s no different with the SAW sensor technology. We can develop configurations for other types of fluids in the future. If successful, it would lead to a re-evaluation of the current 8004 standard test method or a new ASTM standard in the future.
Where can our readers learn more about Spectro Scientific and their involvement in this area?
You can find more information on ASTM Standard Test Method D8004 and on the Q6000 Fuel Dilution Meter using the links below. Thank you.
About Dr. Patrick Henning
Dr. Patrick Henning is Chief Technology Officer at Spectro Scientific. Previously, Henning worked in QinetiQ North America’s Technology Solutions Group for 10 years, ultimately serving as Technology Area Manager of Spectrum Solutions, where his work focused on the development of new sensing technologies for oil/fuel analysis as well as chemical/biological detection.
As a postgraduate researcher with joint appointments at the University of California, San Diego and Brookhaven National Laboratory, he specialized in developing new hardware and data analysis tools for infrared and terahertz spectroscopy.
Henning earned his PhD in physics from Florida State University’s National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. He is the author of numerous technical publications that have appeared in leading international scientific journals.
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