HBL to develop field tests for military engines
The project will deliver a fully working prototype condition monitoring device that will support lubrication condition based maintenance. Measurement of kinematic viscosity is a proven technique in industry for determining degradation of the lubricant, accidental addition of incorrect lubricant during top-up and detecting the early signs of serious engine faults. It is generally considered the first measure in a panel of tests performed in comprehensive oil condition monitoring programs carried out by centralised test laboratories. A single value of viscosity that is easy to interpret can be used to quickly stratify equipment, highlighting which require the attention of expert maintenance teams. This is anticipated to have particular utility as a screening tool where large volumes of equipment are required to be operational.
At the end of the project, there will be an instrument specifically to enable maintenance crews to obtain laboratory grade kinematic viscosity results in the field. The technology is unique in that equipment operators will be able to test for themselves, and take an instant decision despite being in a remote location and regardless of the climatic conditions. A previous study delivered a field-ready method that was comparable to ASTM D445, capillary viscosity. A working prototype will be trialled to test the oil condition of assets that has been deployed. A process to understand the oil condition ranges will be developed and tested in a range of equipment. The economic case will also be considered during this project, to ensure that a consistent stream of product can be supplied to the MoD at an acceptable cost.