4 Types of Oil Filter Failures and How to Prevent Them
Some unexpected situation during an oil filter’s process might happen, and you might be curious about which type of filter failure should you be most caring about: channeling, plugging cracks fatigue, or media migration?
Each of these types of failures has different failure mechanisms and
detection methods. Although they are all unexpected, they can be
prevented or detected through some simple system analysis.
Types of Oil Filters Failures and Solutions to it
Channeling, also famous as media pore erosion, is where the filter fabric or screen
is bombarded by high-speed abrasive particles such as sand or wear
metal. These particles slowly erode the filter material or stay in the
filter pores and force themselves to pass, irreversibly expanding the
pores. This can usually be prevented by inspecting and maintaining the
gaskets and seals of the system. By observing the rising trend of the
number of large particles in the particle counting test, faults can be
identified in the analysis report.
When the oil is circulated in the system for a long time without replacement
or other frequent inspections, filter clogging will occur. The filter
has been consumed or covered with carbon mud or other malfunctioning
products (such as varnish). Oil analysis may not show preventive
measures and trends of such failures, but the system will increase the
flow due to the increase in filter difference, and it will almost stop.
Fatigue cracking, also known as media matrix deformation, is where the filter
is distorted due to operating stress (such as severe cyclic changes in
pressure and flow). Certain forms of woven filter media can be
reinforced with simple metal screens. In other cases, the filter may
need to be moved inside the system, and may even enter the renal loop
circulation line “offline” to keep the filter away from higher
pressures. This failure mode will restrict the flow of oil through the
filter and force it to bypass the filter, resulting in an upward trend
in the total particle count in the analysis report.
Media migration or media matrix rupture is similar to fatigue cracks, but
high pressure/flow transients do not deform the filter and bypass it,
but instead partially destroy the filter and rupture the material from
the filter structure. In addition to the normal pollutants that are not
captured by the filter, new pollutants circulate in the system in the
form of failed filter devices. In addition, any content previously
captured by the filter is now at risk of being republished. Fracture
problems will only increase in the presence of abrasives (such as sand
or worn metals). The fault can be identified by the oil system showing
that the pressure drop of the filter is very low or there is no pressure
drop, and the oil analysis shows that the total number of particles has
Media migration is the worst type of filter
failure, as it essentially is the other three modes happening
simultaneously. It can be the most difficult to immediately detect, and
the introduction of large, broken filter pieces into the system can
cause catastrophic damage to downstream components. You can prevent this
failure mode by conducting daily visual inspections of the system,
observing pressure and flow behavior, properly analyzing oil samples,
and performing routine maintenance activities like inspecting and
changing the oil and installed filters.
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