Elemental Analysis by ICP (inductively coupled plasma) is applicable to lubricants, coolants, fuel and grease. Spectroscopy (as it often referred to) detects up to 23 elements that can be present in used fluids due to mechanical wear, contamination or additive depletion. Spectrometric analysis is an effective method for monitoring small particles. Severe wear particles larger than 6 microns cannot be detected accurately.
Together with FTIR and Viscosity, ICP Spectroscopy figures amongst the basic tests always performed on each oil sample. Through its ability of detecting wear metal particles, Spectroscopy is effective in detecting not only the condition of the lubricant but also the condition of the equipment and its components.
Wear metals include: iron, copper, lead, tin, chromium, aluminum, silver, nickel, magnesium, vanadium, titanium, cadmium, molybdenum and manganese. Contaminants include: silicon, boron, aluminum, sodium, and potassium. Additives include: lithium, phosphorous, zinc, calcium, barium, boron, sodium, molybdenum, magnesium, silicon and aluminum.