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Read our primer articles on Oil Analysis and Tribology

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Our independant lab ,on the site of a major multinational oil co., has a QC dept as well as an OCM lab which is the core business.
It is good practice to check new oil deliveries.
Visual checks are of value, new oil should be clear and bright.Most non engine oils will also be of consistent colour
Basic suite of tests for checking new oil would be Viscosity(Vk), water and ICP elements.For ISO VG grades use Vk at 40C and for SAE grades Vk at 100C (Also ATFs).
ICP will check additive and contamination elements.
The chosen lab may well advise on the oil being suitable/correct provided you identify the oil type and grade and stress that the oil is new.
Originally posted by Heather Parsons:
What tests should be done on new oil to ensure that you are receiving oil to the quality you expect? What are the advantages / disadvantages of elemental testing (eg ICP) vs IR spectrum.

Running elemental spectroscopy analysis on new oil makes sense only if you want to establish a baseline for future oil testing program and trending (so you can monitor wear, possible ingression of contaminants, and partially depletion of additives, if they are metallic based). I don’t know what your application is, but I cannot thing of any application where trace metals are part of an oil specification, except if you require, for example, that the oil be zinc-free or any other element-free. Then it makes sense to check the presence of this metal in new oil. Otherwise, it is not practical to specify metal contents, because different manufacturers/blenders use their proprietary additive packages that might have different metal bases or being non-metal (also called ash-less additives), which would consequently limit the pool of products to choose new oil from.
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