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Guide to Measuring Water in Oil

Guide to Measuring Water in Oil

We have all heard the saying, “Oil and water don’t mix.” Unfortunately that doesn’t necessarily apply to lubrication oils. Water can exist in several states in lubrication oils and can do quite a bit of damage to valuable assets if left unchecked. In this guide we explore the challenges posed by water in lubrication oils and discuss the methods available to reliability professionals for measuring water in oil.

Predictive Maintenance All sectors 25 June 2018


Water contamination in industrial oils can cause severe issues with machinery components. The presence of water can alter the viscosity of a lubricant as well as cause chemical changes resulting in additive depletion and the formation of acids, sludge, and varnish. Water testing is always a part of any lubricant condition monitoring program. Water contamination in industrial oils with strong water separation properties has been historically difficult to measure with any technique.


  • What techniques are available?
    • Crackle test
    • Calcium hydride test kits
    • Karl Fischer
    • Relative humidity or Saturation meters
    • Infrared
  • Summary