Metalworking fluids contain numerous components that encourage the growth of microbes – organisms which can produce foul odors, reduce pH, increase corrosion, destabilize emulsions and sicken workers. So monitoring microbial contamination is extremely important to maintain the fluids optimum performance and safety. Problem is, most microbial tests used today must be done by off-site labs, and require a long time to get accurate results. And fluids can fail before test results are in.
In response, ASTM has developed a method based on measuring the bioluminescence of microbes in the fluids. The capabilities of this technique were the subject of three presentations to the 18th International Colloquium Tribology, held early this year at the Technische Akademie Esslingen.