Monitoring the presence of water in lubricating oils of turbo-generators

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water in lubricating oils of turbo-generators

Water in lubricating oils

The contamination of lubricating oils used in lubrication systems of sliding bearings and systems of drive of speed regulators in turbo-generators of electric power powered by steam or Compressed Natural Gas should be a reason for permanent vigilance. Identifying the cause of the contamination of lubricating oil by water and stopping the ingress of water are the first steps to be taken. The next step is to draw up a work plan with a view to eliminating any possibilities of water entering the lubrication systems, which is not always easy to execute.

Figures 1/2/3 – Electric power turbo-generators

Some of the sources of water input in lubrication systems of electric power turbo-generators powered by steam or Compressed Natural Gas are:

    1. Inspection gates or windows with sealing problems, allowing wash water to enter.
    2. Labyrinth-type retainers, carbon rings or other models that are damaged or improperly assembled.

The causes of water contamination of lubricating oil should be corrected as soon as possible because the water will cause damage to the sliding bearings and other lubricated moving parts by weakening the strength of the lubricating oil film. In electric power turbo-generators powered by steam or Compressed Natural Gas, since they operate at high speeds and temperatures, the issue of contamination of lubricating oil by water is critical and must be monitored with detailed attention.

Figures 4/5 – Gates with sealing problems: water inlet sources

Some simple methods can be used for early detection of water lubricating oil contamination in electric power turbo-generators powered by steam or Compressed Natural Gas:

    1. Installation of BS&W (Bottom Sediment and Water) indicators
    2. Installation of three-dimensional “bull’s-eye” level displays.

With a sample of lubricating oil collected through a sampling pin of the three-dimensional “bull’s-eye” level displays, the presence of water contamination in the lubricating oil can be quickly and in situ verified through the Crepitation Test or the Hot Plate.
Some methods to remove water from the mass of lubricating oil in electric power turbo-generators powered by steam or Compressed Natural Gas:


Click the image below and read the complete version of the article “Monitoring the presence of water in lubricating oils of turbo-generators” in Lubes em Foco Magazine issue 87: