Detection of coarse Silicon and Copper during roller bearing failure

Aug 13, 2019 | diesel fuel testing, fluid analysis, locomotive oil analysis, Locomotive Testing, News, oil analysis

Detection of coarse Silicon and Copper during roller bearing failure

Following an inquiry about poorly performing equipment from a major Australian operator of coal hauling locomotives, Techenomics has diagnosed the problem and recommended solutions.

The causes of the issues encountered in the loco engine were not detectable by routine testing focused on metallic contamination, prompting Techenomics to look further.

At Techenomics Newcastle laboratory chemists found that there was a high ratio of small to large non-metallic crystal particles in oil samples from the diesel engine. These were having an impact on operation with severe cutting and sliding wear present.

Moreover, due to the boundary lubrication and resulting high temperatures, adhesive wear particles appeared on the membrane.

There was a high ratio of large yellow particles to small particles due to rolling element bearing fatigue. High sliding speed in the rolling elements had also caused a build-up of large and small sliding wear particles.

Abnormally sized soot particles were also being generated by poor combustion in the diesel engine.

The photos below show the large wear particles which were out of the ICP range detection.

roller bearing failure

After identifying the problems and determining that the contamination was caused by roller bearing failure, Techenomics came up with some recommendations to prevent a repeat and ensure more productive operation.

These included checking the clearance to ascertain wear of the thrust washers, measuring the piston to head clearance with lead readings to locate worn piston thrust washers and checking the connecting rod bearing blade thrust faces for distress.

The Newcastle team also recommended to check the breather/s regarding the type of contamination and wear as it appeared that sand and/or crystal particles were one of the main issues in the system.

Identifying contamination in oil is Techenomics bread and butter. Using state-of-the-art equipment in fully equipped accredited laboratories operated by qualified expert staff enables the team to identify the smallest of particles that can create the biggest of problems in engines and operating equipment.

But what happens when the routine testing, including spectro analysis, is unable to pick up wear metals too large for detection or contamination that is not metals based? Techenomics also has this covered with its specialised total fluid management service.

Techenomics CEO Chris Adsett says this attention to detail and determination coupled with experience and expertise was an integral part of the company’s proactive dealings.

“We are committed to delivering the full benefits of our independent, specialised fluid management services, whatever it takes.”

For more information about IF-WS2 or Techenomics International, contact Chris Adsett,; in Indonesia Freddy,; in South East Asia Siti,, in Mongolia Tumee,, in Australia Michael Noncic,, or in Africa Chris Adsett,

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