La Rocca, A., Di Liberto, G., Shayler, P., Parmenter, C. et al., "A Novel Diagnostics Tool for Measuring Soot Agglomerates Size Distribution in Used Automotive Lubricant Oils," SAE Int. J. Fuels Lubr. 7(1):301-306, 2014, doi:10.4271/2014-01-1479.
The determination of size distribution of soot particles and agglomerates in oil samples using a Nanosight LM14 to perform Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) is described. This is the first application of the technique to sizing soot-in-oil agglomerates and offers the advantages of relatively high rates of sample analysis and low cost compared to Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). Lubricating oil samples were drawn from the sump of automotive diesel engines run under a mix of light duty operating conditions. The oil samples were diluted with heptane before analysing. Results from NTA analysis were compared with the outputs of a more conventional analysis based on Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS). This work shows that soot-in-oil exists as agglomerates with average size of 115 nm. This is also in good agreement with TEM analysis carried out in a previous work. NTA can measure soot particles in polydisperse oil solutions and report the size distribution of soot-in-oil aggregates. NTA allows for an estimation of soot mass contained in the soot-laden oil samples. The estimated value was compared with soot mass measured using Thermo-Gravimetric Analysis.