How Testing Helps in Evaluating EALs for Marine Applications
- Standardized test data for environmentally acceptable lubricants (EALs) provides the marine industry with a reliable basis for evaluating how EALs will perform in operation.
- Comparing the film thickness of EALs and mineral oil shows important similarities and differences in how they separate moving parts at start-up and under load.
OEMs and operators typically assess lubricant performance by simply comparing product specifications, by direct experience with the product or by references from other users. Following the implementation of the Vessel General Permit in December of 2013, environmentally acceptable lubricants (EALs) were introduced to the marketplace. With little historical reference on performance, OEMs and operators can look to standardized lubrication tests to understand the potential differences between traditional mineral oils and EALs, in addition to differences between EALs themselves.
One critical difference is film thickness — a factor that determines how well the lubricant separates moving parts at start-up and under load.
Recent tests using an elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL) test rig show that the film thickness of naturally viscous, high-performance EALs is comparable to mineral oils — good news for marine applications that need to keep equipment
lubricated under harsh conditions.