Performance of a light extinction based wear particle counter under various contamination levels

Kevin Krogsøe*, René L. Eriksen, Morten Henneberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Raw data signal output from a light extinction based wear particle counter is presented for measurements of different wear particle concentration levels in a lubricating oil laboratory test system. Interpretation of the sensor raw signal amplitude reveals that particle concentration level is influencing the distribution of detected minima, which is equal to the perceived particle sizes. Results indicates that several smaller particles are being erroneously sampled collectively as larger particles when the contamination level (ISO cleanliness codes) increases to above 24/23/14 in lubricating oil. According to ISO 4406:2017, an ISO cleanliness code of 24 corresponds to “more than 80,000 particles per ml”. This study shows how the distribution of detected signal minima changes as the contamination level is sequentially incremented between sample intervals. Through the use a simulation tool, the output of an optical particle counter under three of the experimentally investigated contamination levels has been modeled, showing that the differences between corresponding minima distributions from simulations correlates with experimentally obtained results. Additionally, the total number of experimentally detected minima is initially observed to increase linearly with the amount of added test particles until the tendency starts to level off, indicating saturation for the used optical particle counter.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112956
JournalSensors and Actuators A: Physical
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1. Nov 2021


  • Optical sensors
  • light extinction
  • wear particle analysis


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