Nicolet iN5 - Identify contaminants and ensure quality
Thermo Scientific Nicolet iN5 FTIR microscope

Can you identify the particulate below?

Moving parts, from turbojet engines to artificial joints, produce signs of wear often in the form of abraded materials which are carried away by lubricants or coolants. These particles, typically 20-100 microns in size, can originate from sources like seals, rotors or heat-induced degradation adjacent fluids (lubricant, fuel, etc.). Characterizing the particulates provides critical diagnostic information to understand component wear.

The new Thermo Scientific™ Nicolet™ iN™ 5 FTIR microscope provides both visual and chemical information to help you quickly identify the unknown particulates – and keep quality product shipping.

Learn more about the Nicolet iN5 FTIR microscope
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Mysterious contaminant

Take the identification challenge

The particulate was found in fluid from a shock absorber. Take your best guess as to what this is and then hit the “reveal answer” tab below to check your skills.

Answer revealed - It’s PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene)

Contaminant identified - its a fly wing

How do we know? A highly irregular black particle was seen when fluid from a shock absorber was filtered. Because the ATR was used, the background signals from the nylon filter are very small, so searching occurred without the need for background subtraction. The analysis yielded PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) indicating wear of a sealing ring within the piston of a shock absorber.