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It is estimated that 23% of the world's total energy consumption originates from tribological contacts, with 3% of the world's total energy consumption used to remanufacture worn parts and spare equipment due to premature wear and wear-related failures. Therefore, the potential savings in CO₂ emissions and economic cost make advances in tribological technologies a key priority and a global challenge. Secondly, this technology will potentially enable cost savings as maintenance costs in important sectors like offshore wind turbines can be reduced due to increased wear being detected at a very early stage and – most likely – before irreversible damage has developed.
For several decades, the analysis of fault gases dissolved in transformer oils has been the primary diagnostic tool to determine the condition of transformers [2-4]. In this project, a novel technology for analysis of key faults gases dissolved in grease lubricants is developed and applied to determine the condition of grease lubricated components. This technology can be used for all kinds of grease lubricated systems but it is especially important and relevant as a tool for condition monitoring of main components in wind turbines such as blade bearings and main gear and generator bearings. Using this technology, it is expected that premature mechanical failures with increased mechanical friction can be located and remediated long before any significant wear of the system has developed. In the project, grease samples from both main bearings and blade bearings, with and without incipient faults, are included. The study also includes sampling, sample storage, laboratory simulations and statistical studies. Comparison of gas content in grease from bearings of similar mechanical systems, such as main bearings of similar wind turbines, provides information of normal gassing behavior of that particular type of mechanical system.
A full project description is found in the document folder