Project launched to test biodegradable lubricants
DNV GL has launched a joint development project in cooperation to test possible influence of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) on failures in stern tube bearings.
The global classification society work with marine insurers The Swedish Club, Norwegian Hull Club, Gard and Skuld, to oversee laboratory testing of the EALs by Leonardo Testing Services at the University of Sheffield in the UK.
“Very few studies have been conducted to compare the lubrication performance of EALs with that of traditional mineral oils in stern tube applications,’’ said Øystein Åsheim Alnes, principal engineer at DNV GL.
“With this new study, we hope to gain a better understanding of factors influencing the lubrication performance of EALs.”
The project has been prompted by an increase in stern tube bearing failures over the last few years and the increased uptake of EALs after the introduction of regulations requiring their use in commercial vessels trading in US waters in 2013.
It also aims to address the introduction of new propulsion system designs, including single stern tube bearing installations and larger and heavier propellers operating at lower RPM.
The test programme will investigate such aspects as hydrodynamic oil film formation, oil film thickness under varying loads and temperatures and potential shear thinning effects at high shear rates.
State-of-the-art non-invasive ultrasonic techniques developed by UoS will be utilised to examine lubricant film behaviour in real-time.
The first phase of testing will be completed in the first quarter of 2018, with the results scheduled for publication later in the year.
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