How do you know your fuel is clean? Fuel might look clean,
but the only way to know that it meets specification is by testing. Most clean looking diesel fuel
coming out of
retail dispensers today do not meet the ISO 18/16/13 requirement. Just because it looks clean and clear doesn’t
mean it does not contain
damaging particles. As you can see from the diagram to
the right, the human hair is represented by the large circle and everything
else inside is very small. If you have
perfect vision you can see an item as small as 40µm in width. Anything larger
than 2µm can damage engine and fuel system components. By the time fuel gets contaminated enough to
become cloudy, the problems are already severe.
Active contamination monitoring is the answer. Using a
liquid automatic particle counter to determine the presence and amount of
contamination is a sure way of finding out how clean the fuel is at the time of
sampling. Dixon filtration equipment comes with an optional inline particle
counter. We also have portable units
capable of providing instant results with the same accuracy as the inline
counter. Printable results are immediately accessible and can also be
downloaded for further reference or data accumulation.
Additionally our counter provides a readout for relative
humidity (RH) – water in fuel reading. It also reads fluid temperature. Water saturation point is dependent on
temperature, so knowing this provides meaningful information. If fuel is at 100% RH then free water exists
in the fuel and it has reached its holding capacity. This is the point at which
water damages equipment. Water levels
should always be well below saturation. As a rule, 50% RH is as high as you
should ever want in conventional fuels.
The lower, the better. However, biofuels do hold more water in solution than
conventional fuels. They can hold as much as 6.5 times more moisture. RH can be
as high as 90% before emulsification begins. Knowledge is power. Understanding the type and level of
contamination in fuel can save money and reduce liabilities.