There have been plenty of articles regarding the effects of contamination to lubricating oil. The presence of foreign particles in the lubricant can decrease the life of machine components like valves, pumps and bearings. That is why countless of dollars are spent for filtration systems that maintain the cleanliness of the oil. However, the harmful effects of contamination is not limited to solid contaminants. In certain operations, water contamination of lubricating oil and other lubricant products pose greater danger to machines.
The danger presented by water contamination of oil depends on its quantity. It gets dissolved and spread throughout the oil if the quantity of water is very little. The dissolved water has little to no impact on lubricant performance or life expectancy of machine components.
Water contamination starts becoming a serious issue once water level in the oil is beyond that of the ability of the oil to keep it in dissolved form. Water droplets start to develop or a layer of free water is created. At this point, the water can interfere with the ability of the oil to form a film over the surfaces of the mechanical components. This can greatly increase the wear on the components.
There are applications where water contamination of lubricating oil is impossible to avoid. In these situations, it is extremely essential to keep an eye on the water content to avoid the potential damages that can result from too much water content.