Particle count data is a critical element to any fluid analysis program. The data obtained from a particle counter can be used to identify maintenance intervals for heavy equipment, indicate the cleanliness level of fuel or the quality of hydraulic fluid used in an aircraft. Because of the potential impact on production uptime, costly physical assets and even human safety, having reliable data is crucial.
How do you ensure quality data given the costly impact poor data can have on your operation? Creating a sample prep SOP specific for your particle counting application (ie collection, agitation, degas, sample) is a critical first step. However, the presence of bubbles in sample fluid is something that nearly all particle counting applications have to contend with. Even if you’ve taken the time to create a robust sampling protocol, bubbles in your sample fluid will add counts to your data and negate your efforts at getting consistent, reliable data. Research has historically shown that when bubbles are present in sample fluid, the data shows an abnormal distribution of counts across a large number of channels.