Big Little Problems: Tiny Particles Wreak Major Havoc on Equipment

Big Little Problems: Tiny Particles Wreak Major Havoc on Equipment

It’s not hard to ignore a little dust. When you’re tackling your list of honey-dos, the dusty flat screen may not even make the cut. After all, it’s barely noticeable. Isn’t it nice when we can let something slide without the guilt? But, guilt will be the least of your worries if you ignore the dust and other contaminants that can sabotage your oil.

Iron dust, silica dust, and other microscopic particles are enemy #1 when it comes to the performance and reliability of the oil lubricating your machinery. These particles are harder, stronger, and more prevalent than you might think.

Because the contaminants in oils are microscopic, it can be easy to forget they are made of some of the world’s hardest minerals. Particles of alumina are as hard as metal sandpaper, and diamond dust is even harder. Below are the ratings according to the Mohs scale of mineral hardness

  • Iron dust – 5 Mohs hardness
  • Bearing metal particles – 6-7 Mohs
  • Silica dust – 7-8 Mohs (wood sandpaper)
  • Alumina (oxide of aluminum) – 8-9 Mohs (metal sandpaper)
  • Diamond Dust – 10 Mohs

More than 50% of all machinery losses are due to mechanical wear. The tiny particles in the fluid intensely focus pressure on small contact points and lead to sub-surface fatigue and degradation.

Proactive monitoring and preventative measures can reduce the wear caused by fluid particles and increase equipment reliability. Frequently measuring contaminant levels and engaging fluid conditioning services to improve the life of your oil are industry best practices you may already follow. Yet, there’s an important first step many forget – testing new oil.

You might think the new oil you receive from the refinery or a marketer is clean. In fact, it could be loaded with microscopic particles. Leveraging the ISO cleanliness code is a great first step to ensuring new oil meets established targets; however, number of particles from one level to the next can vary widely. That’s why it is important to test new oil and record a baseline.

Furthermore, for the ultimate in reliability, start with certified clean oils engineered to meet or exceed OEM recommended ISO Cleanliness Codes.

Parman Energy Group can provide certified clean oils, as well as products and services for monitoring contaminants and improving the reliability of your vehicles and equipment. Reach out directly to your personal sales representative or direct an email to our sales team at

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