SEM/EDS classification of wear debris


All rotating equipment assemblies wear during operation. Depending on the running and severity of wear conditions, the morphology of wear debris can change.  By sampling and examining wear debris from an oil wetted system, it is possible to determine the type of wear modes.  From correct interpretation of this information it is possible to make informed decisions of the equipment’s condition.  This enables the operator to make relevant maintenance decisions to avoid machinery breakdown.

Scanning Electron Microscopy combined with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) is a powerful and flexible for the determination of both the morphology and composition of wear debris.  SEM/EDS has a number of advantages over other analytical methods and when used in combination with other OCM techniques, can give a clear and concise picture of an assets serviceability.
This paper proposes to look at the capabilities of SEM/EDS and how these can be applied to a condition monitoring programme.