View Full Version : Chlorine (or some other chemical) Contamination In Lubricant?

05-01-2016, 08:38 PM
Figured I would bounce this thought off of the group to see if any input can maybe lead in a new direction of thought...

An oil sample was pulled from one of the R717 units. When it got to my desk, it had sat for a bit and was semi-cloudy and separated into two layers. The container it was in had apparently not been opened since it was pulled. The top layer looked like standard used oil - light amber color. The bottom layer was very thick and a deep red/amber in color.

Used a Dexsil Chlor-Dtect 1000 kit when I first got the sample and it reported 400ppm of chlorine (although other oxidizers like bromine, iodine, etc. can show up as false positives for chlorine too). Additionally, the sample had no ammonia smell at first. After opening the container, and leaving it open overnight on accident, the separation disappeared and the smell of ammonia came back. We tested it again with one of the Dexsil kits and it was negative on chlorine.

System evaps at around -43F, so it's in vacuum at the evap side. Operating in a food processing plant.

Anyone had any input on what they think might have happened? Has anyone ever ran into chlorine or similar contamination in a system or have experienced a thick, reddish colored sludge like I'm seeing here? I understand lubricants well, but am still young to the ammonia industry -- and experience is everything in this field when it comes to having seen weird things before.

05-01-2016, 09:53 PM
Hi Camelcase
I have never heard of Chlorine in Ammonia and could not see how it would get into your system.
These two chemicals react with each other so I would suspect it is not Chlorine.
What type of oil are you using, mineral or synthetic?
Has the type of oil being used changed?
Are there leaks on the Low side?
What type of heat exchangers do you have?
The top layer could have been "dead" Ammonia (ammonia saturated with moisture) and that evaporated over night.

05-01-2016, 10:07 PM
Hi camelCase.
I am with Paul on this one, I have a site where if the Ammonia plant room ever has a leak.
There is a nightmare scenario in the adjacent Factory.

Because they use large amounts of Bleach.
Which is chlorine in a basic form.

Read the attached link.


05-01-2016, 10:56 PM
Can't say I have seen oil test like that, but can say have seen brine enter evaporator due to leak,sucking it in.
Similar vacuum on ice cream plant & only 2 compressors were affected.
They were on liquid injection cooling & oil turned to acidic grease or sludge.

Have also seen coalesces in oil separator cause problems, due to epoxy in end caps not cured correctly.

All of above usually cause oil filters to block up frequently.

As well as questions above, where are you taking oil sample & how?
Normally let oil flow out for awhile before taking sample, machine running, upstream of any oil filters.

06-01-2016, 04:47 PM
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