The chromatography technique indicates the total amount of wear metals and particle contaminants based on particle size (micron rating), Wohlwend explains, with visual and comparative results to a new fluid sample of a preferred brand.
The process basically works as follows: A drop of the sample oil/lubricant is placed on a thin layer of absorbent filter paper or specialized media. As the fluid test specimen percolates through the paper/media, bands and/or zones of different colors, densities and even unwanted wear metals and debris form a chromatogram — a series of color bands or color graph.
Changes in the appearance of the zones or bands are a clear indication that something in the lubricant has changed. A closer look at the zones, their unique formation and the debris fields contained therein may indicate an increased level of contaminants, additive depletion, breakdown of fluid, viscosity changes, etc.
The instant analysis chromatography technique is not limited to any type of fluid, Wohlwend points out.
McElroy adds that it can handle brake fluids, power steering fluid, automatic and manual transmission fluids, gear oils, crankcase oil, synthetic and petroleum-based fluids and oils. There is even technology that provides diagnostics for all formulations of antifreeze and coolants. ET