Petroleum Products Research
Since 1952, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has offered extensive petroleum products research services providing both chemical and physical analyses as well as most standard ASTM, federal, and industrial testing. The Institute's fuel and lubricant test program is world renowned. SwRI's extensive facilities are staffed by experienced engineers, scientists, and technicians who are recognized by both industry and government for innovations in petroleum technology.
The Institute measures the quality and determines regulatory compliance of fuels, automatic transmission fluids, brake fluids, gear lubricants, hydraulic oils, and gasoline and diesel crankcase oils. Test equipment includes octane and cetane engines meeting ASTM Coordinating Fuels Research (CFR) specifications and modified spark-ignition engines and injector systems for induction system and fuel injector deposit and clean-up studies.
The Institute uses state-of-the-art analytical techniques, including Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and rotating disc electrode emission (RDE) spectrophotometry. Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) and energy- and wavelength-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyses are used to gather elemental information on solid and liquid samples. SwRI uses the most recent ASTM standard test methods using chromatography/ mass spectrometry including:
The Institute offers virtually every standard industry test, including ASTM, UOP, SAE, and federal tests to evaluate fuel, lubricant, and functional fluid quality. CFR octane and cetane engines measure antiknock characteristics of finished gasolines and the ignition quality of diesel fuels.
Transmission Fluids and Gear Oils
When standard or conventional tests are inadequate or not applicable, SwRI employs a variety of special chemical and physical techniques. Concepts, product ideas, application technology, and the nature and use of finished products remain confidential.
Laboratory instruments and equipment include:
The Institute evaluates oil, fuel, and hydraulic filters. The filter testing facility operates:
Procedure and Instrument Development
The Institute develops procedures and instruments to meet the needs of both industrial and government clients.
Lubricity Screening Tests
SwRI performs laboratory-scale screening tests to aid in developing hydraulic fluids, solid lubricants, and collidally dispersed solids such as PTFE in crankcase oil. Using these cost-effective laboratory-scale procedures, SwRI staff members simulate more extensive and costly full-scale equipment tests such as the M-11 and Detroit Diesel 6V92TA engine lubricant tests, the Ryder gear test, and pump durability tests. The Insti-tute routinely develops customized lubricity procedures and equipment for research and other applications. For example, SwRI has recently developed a high-vacuum (10-7 torr) wear test apparatus and procedure to simulate lubricity and wear under deep-space conditions.
CRC Port Fuel Injector Test Apparatus
The Institute developed this bench-top device to evaluate the tendency of gasoline to form deposits within port fuel injectors. Procedures are available for both "keep clean" and "clean up" performance that define both additive effectiveness and the fouling tendencies of gasoline.
Vapor/Liquid Ratio Measurement Apparatus
This instrument automatically measures the vapor/liquid ratio at selected temperatures. It is an efficient alternative to the ASTM D 2533 standard procedure.
Intake Valve Deposit Apparatus
An automated intake valve deposit apparatus (IVDA) is available, which provides good correlation with both the BMW and Ford 2.3-liter vehicle tests. This rapid and repeatable laboratory scale-test replicates the BMW induction system and is sensitive to both fuel composition and additive type. Chemical analysis indicates that deposit composition is broadly similar to that of the operating vehicle.
Used Lubricant Trend Analysis
SwRI recently established a trend analysis program to evaluate used lubricants, targeted for fleet and motor pool studies.
The program also evaluates industrial lubricants. A database tracks the lubricant history for each vehicle or unit. Variables typically monitored include:
Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Survey
For nearly 32 years, the Institute has conducted physical and
chemical analyses of fuel samples. As many as 7,500 samples are collected monthly from
large cities, small communities, and neighborhoods throughout the United States and
Canada. SwRI analyses of these samples provide subscribers with valuable fuel quality
information. When requested, the Institute organizes consortia and customizes fuel survey
programs according to client needs.