Formation of Deposits from Lubricants in High Temperature Applications 2008-01-1617
Deposit formation is an issue of great significance in a broad range of applications where lubricants are exposed to high temperatures. Lube varnish causes valve-sticking, bearing failure and filter blockage which can lead to considerable equipment downtime and high maintenance costs. Recently this has become a pressing issue in the stationary power generation industry.
In order to investigate the chemistry leading to varnish, three samples of varnish-coated components from the lube/hydraulic systems of gas turbines from the field were obtained, along with information on the commercially available formulated oils which were used. Samples of these three fresh oils were analysed by a variety of chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques, which confirmed chemical identity of aminic and/or phenolic antioxidants, corrosion inhibitors and antiwear components. The varnish-coated turbine components were also investigated by these methods.
Notably, several lube additives present in the mother oil or their corresponding decomposition products were found in the varnish, in addition to base oil oxidative degradation products.
An understanding of the chemical processes and additive contributions which lead to varnish affords formulators a powerful tool for the design of effective lubricants which minimize varnish formation.