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Racing

Overview

Racing utilises innovative high performance engines operation at extreme RPMs and temperatures. To keep the unbelievably valuable engines operational and competitive requires a team of mechanics paying careful attention to the engine and lubricant condition. To support this, engine condition monitoring based on oil analysis has become a widely practiced technique by racing teams.

Not only do the racing teams themselves take our instruments to races, but the companies that design, build and test racing engines also use our equipment. We welcome the opportunity to continue to be of service to existing customers and to assist new customers with their oil analysis instrumentation requirements.

Challenges

The biggest concern for race teams is wear debris that can damage the engine. Being able to identify the debris tells them where the particles are coming from. Most of the top teams use Optical Emission Spectrometers to analyze up to 32 metals found in the oil. Knowing what metals are present and in what concentration allows them to trend things like engine wear and oil breakdown.

Oil viscosity is also a critical component for a high-speed engine. Any breakdown in viscosity could cause an engine to fail.

Typical Tests – Wear

Particle Composition

It is often important to understand the elemental composition of particles to find out where they came from. Optical Emission Spectroscopy gives the user elemental information for up to 32 elements, from Li to Ce (varies with application).

Chemistry

Total Base Number (TBN)

TBN measures the amount of active additive left in a sample of oil. The TBN is useful for people who want to extend their oil usage far beyond the normal range. The TBN of a used oil can aid the user in determining how much reserve additive the oil has left to neutralize acids. The lower the TBN reading, the less active additive the oil has left.

Viscosity

The main function of lubrication oil is to create and maintain a lubrication film between two moving metal surfaces. Ensuring the viscosity is within recommended ranges is one of the most important tests one can run on lube oil.

Oxidation, Nitration, Sulfation

Lubricating oil at elevated temperatures can react with oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere, as well as sulfur in fuel, to form undesirable by-products that can affect the oil’s viscosity and lead to corrosion or damage of equipment.

Contamination

Glycol

Glycol is found in engine coolant. If glycol is found in engine oil it typically indicates there is a leak in the engine that can cause catastrophic damage to the cylinder or cylinder wall.

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