A new field test procedure for evaluation of the sludge formation tendencies of lubricants has been developed. The procedure has the benefits of short running time, reduced variability, and dramatic separation of API SF vs API SG oils. This paper discusses development of the operational procedure and evaluation of four lubricants, including commercial-type API SF and API SG oils as well as experimental future oils. Significantly improved sludge ratings were obtained with an experimental API SG oil.
The sludge formation process was studied using infrared spectroscopy, TAN, dielectric measurements, viscosity, quasielastic light scattering particle size, and transmission electron microscopy techniques. These analyses show production of contaminants which form insoluble particles that build up and precipitate out of suspension as sludge. Certain drain analyses can be used as tools for predicting field sludge deposition time. Finally, sludge formation in the field test and the ASTM Sequence VE engine test are compared.