Turbine oils are subjected to a wide range of conditions – extreme heat, entrained air, moisture, contamination by dirt and debris, inadvertent mixing with different oil, etc. – that degrade the integrity of the hydrocarbon base stock and deplete the additive chemistries, causing irreversible molecular changes. There are two primary degradation mechanisms in turbine applications – oxidation and thermal degradation.
If you’re running one of the approximately 140 working refineries in the United States, the last thing you need is an unplanned shutdown. But a production standstill is exactly what is at risk if you don’t keep an eye on the viscosity of the lubricating oil used in any of the rotary compressors in the plant, with the highest risk of these being the gas compressors. One minute all processes are up and running, and the next there’s a bearing failure and production stops.