Crankcase oils of stationary engines operating in relatively constant service normally contain equilibrium but minute amounts of certain metals indicative of normal engine wear. The occurrence of abnormal wear or corrosion conditions in an engine is reflected in concentration of one or more of the key wear metals in the crankcase oil. These trends in metals content offer important and early clues concerning the abnormal events which are occurring and suggest the need for corrective action usually far in advance of destructive engine failure. Utilization of data from emission spectrographic analysis of crankcase oils has been found to have practical use in the surveillance of pipeline-engine operations, particularly where the performance of copper-lead bearings has been in question. The application of this type of used-oil analysis as a practical aid in the prevention of destructive engine failures is reviewed, the interpretation of data is discussed, and examples of the relationship between increasing key wear-metals content and observed engine conditions are cited.

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