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Equipment and components for use in an oxygen service are required to be “clean” or “free from oil,” as contamination by oil is believed to have been responsible for numerous incidents. In some specifications, cleanness is defined by stating the maximum allowable concentration in grams per square metre, but often the specification is qualitative. Four tests of cleanness are widely quoted; these are visual examination in white and in ultraviolet light, a wipe test, and a water break test. The threshold sensitivities of these four tests have been evaluated for six different hydrocarbon oils commonly used in the industry. The results of this limited project show that under the test conditions the order of increasing sensitivity was white light, ultraviolet (UV) light, modified wipe, and water break. Water break was 20 to 40 times more sensitive than the white light test. Considerable further investigation is recommended.
oxygen, equipment, oils, detection, tests, safety, cleanness, contamination, cleanliness
Group technical manager-Gases, The BOC Group Plc, London,
Senior research metallurgist, The BOC Group Inc., Group Technical Center, Murray Hill, NJ