An Overview on the Functions of Disc-Type Turbine Oil Centrifugal Separators (Oil Purifiers) in Marine Vessels

Blog | November 20th, 2019

Let’s face it, turbine lubricants are expected to handle lots of stress. In ship systems, beleaguered marine turbines run hot. The moving parts rub against each other and cause huge pressure spikes to propagate through the innermost chambers of the machinery. There’s a heap of fluid and mechanical energy in play in there, but an enhanced oily substance offsets the strain. Well, it does as long as it’s kept clean.

Disc-Type Separators Sustain Turbine Performance

That’s a problem, turbines can’t convert hot engine gasses to power if the equipment’s moving parts aren’t thoroughly lubricated. Being part of a ship’s operational framework, there are contaminants trying to find their way into this important system. That’s right, water and tiny bits of particulate matter can find their way into fluid lubrication lines. Unfortunately, as every ship engineer knows only too well, oil and water do not mix. Let’s insert a disc-type oil centrifugal separator into the line to see how it’ll improve matters. The gear is compact, with a network of tubes covering its exterior surfaces. Behind those tubes, a separator bowl is affixed to the machine frame. It’s in here that a prime mover introduces centrifugal energy. Mounted inside the sealed bowl, a stack of closely arrayed discs spins at great speed. Heavier substances are “flung” outwards to the walls of the separator as this industrial centrifuge performs its phase splitting sleight of hand.

A Phase Separation and Particulate Screening Engine

Indeed, disc-type turbine oil purifiers use extraordinary amounts of centrifugal force to remove fine solids, which have somehow become trapped in the lubricant stream, perhaps because of engine fatigue. However, this aspect of oil conditioning is viewed as particulate removal work. For true phase separation functionality, the velocity of the disc-type stack needs to be high enough to facilitate two-phase state separation. Simply put, the bowl segregating engine, which contains the fast-spinning disc stack, must be capable of disassociating two different fluid types, of splitting a turbine-attenuating watery discharge from a pure lubricant stream.

Last in our overview, but no less important, discharge lines remove the contaminants. Light state water is removed through one outlet. Elsewhere on the device separation interface, a sludge tank collects the heavy particles. Now, with a variable flow pump keeping the purified oil moving smoothly, the lubricant arrives at the marine turbine. It’s a purely viscous machine oil that hasn’t been slowed down by some clog-susceptible line filter. Better yet, with water and particulate matter eliminated, a stressed ship’s turbine can reach its peak operational speed, even when the engine exhaust gasses really pile on the pressure.

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