Online condition monitoring of engine oil

Saurabh Kumar (Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mining Machinery Engineering, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India)
P.S. Mukherjee (Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mining Machinery Engineering, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India)
N.M. Mishra (Department of Applied Chemistry, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India)

Industrial Lubrication and Tribology

ISSN: 0036-8792

Publication date: 1 December 2005



Engine oil degrades in quality during its use and after certain period of time the oil needs to be changed depending upon its condition. The purpose of this paper is to design and develop an online condition monitoring device for engine oil.


Based on the previous works in this line and some testing of used oils in the laboratory, the correlation of change in colour with other properties were identified. An optical colour sensor was then designed and developed which can transform the darkness of oil colour into electrical resistance. A series of tests were undertaken to calibrate the system for its correctness.


This type of sensor provides the information about the condition of the oil and also can inform about the probable time for drain‐off of the oil.

Practical implications

Engine oil changes are normally done by schedules which are highly conservative and cost the user as the oil is changed when it could be still used for some time. Use of an online sensor will minimize the cost on lubricants to some extent.


The device is of great value to the users of IC engines as it not only reduces the cost on lubricants but also informs the user about the present condition of the oil.



Kumar, S., Mukherjee, P. and Mishra, N. (2005), "Online condition monitoring of engine oil", Industrial Lubrication and Tribology, Vol. 57 No. 6, pp. 260-267.

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