Water is a chemical contaminant in oils and at 100% relative humidity will exist as bubbles in hydraulic systems. Where water is present in a system, the effects can be dangerous if not monitored and controlled properly.
When free water exists in an oil, the bubbles it forms can interfere with particle counts, and therefore effect the desired outputs. Typically excess water will give a dirtier reading than actual system cleanliness.
At MP Filtri we offer water sensor options with our products which can monitor levels of water in your hydraulic oil allowing you to keep your system in good condition. Poor water monitoring and control can lead to some or all of the following symptoms:
• Shorter component life
• Wire erosion and vaporous cavitation
• Hydrogen embrittlement
• Component wear
All of these can exist to varying degrees of severity depending on individual system designs, however the results can be catastrophic for both equipment and personnel. At MP Filtri, we recommend that you set a maximum alarm setting for water content in your oil, and where possible aim to operate well within this limit so that water never becomes a problem.
In the interests of system life extension, oil should always remain relatively translucent. Where high concentrations of water are present, oil may turn cloudy or opaque and consideration should be made as to whether the oil should be replaced with new.
To remove the risk of water induced failures, the following list can be used for consideration.
• Oil management and handling
• Use of breathers or tank headspace protection
• Washing down of systems and protection during this operation
• IP rating of the equipment fitted to the system and its susceptibility to moisture ingress
• Formation of condensate on the surrounding area
• Secondary sealing for critical applications
• Store oil drums indoors
• Periodic draining of particularly susceptible systems
• Operator training