Metalic analysis (ICP-OES)

ICP-OES (Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy ) is a technique for analyzing the presence of trace metals in a sample. A liquid is converted to a fine aerosol by introducing a heated argon gas at a temperature of approximately 9000K. Individual trace metals can be detected by the light they emit. The content of abrasives, additives and pollutions can be detected using this test. Additionally, mixing of oil types can be identified based on their additives.


Wear metals are a direct result of unwanted contact between parts of the machinery. Common sources of wear metals can be:
  • Fe, Iron: Found in many engine parts, often combined with chromium, aluminum and nickel. The source could be cylinder walls, pistons, piston rings, valves, valve guides, bearings and shafts. li>
  • Al, Aluminum: Found in pistons, bearings and turbos. In some cases also used as an additive.
  • Cr, Chromium: Found in piston rings, shafts and bearings. Can also appear in coolants.
  • Cu, Copper: Copper: Found in bearing metal, oil coolers and radiators. Occasionally used as anti-oxidants additive.
  • Pb, Lead: Found in bearings and paint products. Occasionally used as an additive.
  • Sn, Tin: Found in pistons, bearings and cooling equipment.
  • Ni, Nickel: Found in gears, piston rings, valves and shafts..
  • Ag, Silver: Found in bearings and liners.
  • V, Vanadium: Found in valves, turbine blades, steel components and some fuel types.


Additives are chemical connection added to the oil in small amounts. The purpose is to obtain or improve a certain quality. Examples are reduction of depositions, reduction of oxidation, increase octane numbers or change viscosity.
Additives are complex chemical compositions supplied as ‘packaged products’ and developed for specific use of fuels and oils.
  • Ba, Barium: Toxic and expensive additive that provides cleaning with no ash deposit.
  • Ca & Mg, Calcium og Magnesium: Ingredients used to neutralize acids, i.e. sulfur and nitric acid resulting from combustion. Also provides a cleaning effect.
  • P, Phosphorus: Is an EP (extreme pressure) additive used to prevent metal to metal contact at high temperatures and pressures.
  • Zn, Zink: Same properties as phosphorus, but also provides anti oxidation functionality, and controls total acid numbers. Occasionally found in bearing metals.
  • Mo, Molybdenum: Lubricating additive, but also appears in certain alloys.
  • Mn & Ti, Manganese og titanium.
  • Cd, Cadmium.
  • Na, Sodium.


Pollutions are usually a result of external factors, and is not desirable in oils
  • Si, Silicon: Found in sand, dirt, dust and soot. Can also appear in small quantities as silicone glycols, used as an anti-foaming agent.
  • Na, Sodium: Pollution from antifreeze or seawater.
  • B, Borium: Polution from antifreeze, seawater and fuels containing biocides. Also appears as an additive.

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