Effects of Water on Oil

Water is one of the most common contaminants in a lubrication system. In addition to reducing lubricity and film strength, the presence of water in a lubricating oil promotes foaming, sludge formation, corrosion, accelerated oxidation, and additive depletion. These effects reduce the oil’s overall effectiveness as a lubricant and lead to premature equipment failure.

IFM provides oil dehydration equipment and services. We have experienced technicians and best-in-class dehydration equipment to reliably treat your turbomachinery lubrication systems.

Get a Quote

How to Measure Water in Oil

While the presence of water in concentrations greater than 200 PPM is visibly noticeable, field and lab analysis testing is also available to determine the amount of water in a sample of oil.

The following are the three most common methods of measuring water in a lubricant:

1. Karl Fischer Titration

Karl Fischer coulometric titration (ASTM D6304) is the most common method of measuring water. Because of its accuracy and repeatability, KF is used by most oil analysis labs to measure free, emulsified, and dissolved water in oil.

2. Crackle Test

In the crackle test, a small sample of oil is heated onto a hot plate. If there is water in the oil, the heat will cause the water to change to vapor and rapidly rise to the surface causing a “crackle” sound. The size of the bubbles rising to the surface is indicative of the amount of water in the oil.

3. Calcium Hydride Oil Analysis Kit

In this testing method, a specific amount of oil is placed into a sealed container along with a specific corresponding amount of calcium hydride. The container is shaken causing the water in the oil and calcium hydride to produce hydrogen. The container is outfitted with a gauge that measures the amount of hydrogen produced equal to the amount of oil in the sample.

Other methods of measuring water content in oil include:

  • Relative Humidity Sensors
  • Infrared Spectroscopy

Methods of Removing Water in Oil

Seperator Type Water Type Removed
Free Emulsified Dissolved
Gravity Yes Some No
Centrifuge Yes Some No
Coalescing Yes Some No
Absorbent Polymer Yes Yes No
Vacuum Distillation Yes Yes Yes
Headspace Dehumidification Yes Yes Yes

IFM provides turn-key vacuum dehydration oil purification services including:

  • Properly-sized Vacuum Dehydration Unit
  • Safe, Experienced, and Professional Technicians to operate equipment
  • Achieve as 20 PPM Water Content
  • High-Efficiency 5-Micron Pleated Micro-Glass Filter to remove particulate

Vacuum Dehydrator Rentals

As a factory-authorized representative for Oil Filtration Systems, IFM has a fleet of various sized vacuum dehydrators available for rent at a moment’s notice. Expedited logistics options are available for your most urgent water removal needs. Visit our Vacuum Dehydrators page for information on our rental units.

Watch this important video and learn how vacuum dehydration is the optimal way to remove water from oil.

Contact Us

Learn how IFM's team of experienced lubrication professionals can deliver TurnKey reliability to your equipment operations.

Contact IFM