FTIR analysis and monitoring of used synthetic oils operated under similar driving conditions


The processes of degradation of engine oils operated in passenger cars of a uniform fleet of 25 vehicles were analyzed for oxidation content using infrared (IR) spectroscopy. As part of the experiment, the changes in engine oils occurring during actual operation (under conditions which can be described as “harsh”, i.e., short distance driving, frequent starting of the engine, and extended engine idling) have been observed. An evaluation of the Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) spectrum of an engine oil sample was presented. The infrared spectra of both fresh and used oils were recorded with the Thermo Nicolett IS5. The tests were conducted according to the Appendix A2 of ASTM 2412. For the used engine oil differentiation process, FTIR spectra were analyzed in the regions of 1,700–2,000 cm−1 and 3,600-3,700 cm−1. The FTIR spectrometry is demonstrated to be effective for the analysis and monitoring of processes of oxidation and shown to provide rapid and accurate information relating to the aging process of engine oils. The results may facilitate decision-making regarding the service life of engine oils. The achieved dependencies can make it possible to upgrade the sensor assembly consisting of an FTIR source.



Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy


American Society for Testing and Materials


Electron paramagnetic resonance


Anti-wear and extreme pressure additives


Zinc dialkyldithiophosphates additive


Principal component analysis


The total acid number


The total base number


Society of Automotive Engineers


European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association


The American Petroleum Institute


Projection pursuit regression


Random forest


Oil group code-selected for the test


Oil group code-selected for the test


Oil group code-selected for the test


Oil group code-selected for the test


Oil group code-selected for the test

\(\bar x\) :

Arithmetic average

s :

Standard deviation


Coefficient of variation

V :

Value resulting from application of Student’s test

P :

Single point predictive

P d :

Lower limit of the 95% prediction interval

P g :

Upper limit of the 95% prediction interval

G :

The limit value


  1. [1]

    Krasodomski W, Żółty M. Influence of the chemical structure on results of the determination an antioxidant in lubricating oil. Prace Naukowe INiG-PIB201: 105–117(2015)

    Google Scholar 

  2. [2]

    Al-Ghouti M A, Al-Degs Y S, Amer M. Application of chemometrics and FTIR for determination of viscosity index and base number of motor oils. Talanta81(3): 1096–101 (2010)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. [3]

    Zhu X L, Zhong C, Zhe J. Lubricating oil conditioning sensors for online machine health monitoring — A review. Tribiol Int109: 473–484 (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. [4]

    Wang S S. A physical model for the engine oil condition sensor. Tribol Trans44(3): 411–416 (2001)

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. [5]

    Van De Voort F R, Sedman J, Cocciardi R A, Pinchuk D. FTIR condition monitoring of in-service lubricants: Ongoing developments and future perspectives. Tribol Trans49(3): 410–418 (2006)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. [6]

    Bassbasi M, Hafid A, Platikanov S, Tauler R, Oussama A. Study of motor oil adulteration by infrared spectroscopy and chemometrics methods. Fuel104: 798–804 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. [7]

    Kupareva A, Mäki-Arvela P, Grénman H, Eränen K, Sjöholm R, Reunanen M, Murzin D Y. Chemical characterization of lube oils. Energy Fuels27(1): 27–34 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. [8]

    Zzeyani S, Mikou M, Naja J, Elachhab A. Spectroscopic analysis of synthetic lubricating oil. Tribol Int114: 27–32 (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. [9]

    Sejkorová M, Hurtová I, Glos J, Pokorny J. Definition of a motor oil change interval for high-volume diesel engines based on its current characteristics assessment. Acta Univ Agric Silvic Mendelianae Brun65(2): 481–490 (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. [10]

    Adams M J, Romeo M J, Rawson P. FTIR analysis and monitoring of synthetic aviation engine oils. Talanta73(4): 629–634 (2007)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. [11]

    Dong J, Van De Voort F R, Yaylayan V, Ismail A, Pinchuk D, Taghizadeh A. Determination of total base number (TBN) in lubricating oils by mid-FTIR spectroscopy. Lubr Eng57(11): 24–30 (2001).

    Google Scholar 

  12. [12]

    Al-Ghouti M A, Al-Atoum L. Virgin and recycled engine oil differentiation: A spectroscopic study. J Environ Manag90(1): 187–195 (2009)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. [13]

    Besser C, Dörr N, Novotny-Farkas F, Varmuza K, Allmaier G. Comparison of engine oil degradation observed in laboratory alteration and in the engine by chemometric data evaluation. Tribol Int65: 37–47 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. [14]

    Ng E P, Mintova S. Quantitative moisture measurements in lubricating oils by FTIR spectroscopy combined with solvent extraction approach. Microchem J98(2): 177–185 (2011)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. [15]

    De Rivas B L, Vivancos J L, Ordieres-Meré J, Capuz-Rizo S F. Determination of the total acid number (TAN) of used mineral oils in aviation engines by FTIR using regression models. Chemom Intell Lab Syst160: 32–39 (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. [16]

    Agoston A, Schneidhofer C, Dörr N, Jakoby B. A concept of an infrared sensor system for oil condition monitoring. Elektrotechnik Und Informationstechnik125(3): 71–75 (2008)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. [17]

    Wolak A, Zając G. The kinetics of changes in kinematic viscosity of engine oils under similar operating conditions. Eksploat i Niezawodn — Maint Reliab19(2): 260–267 (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. [18]

    Wolak A. Statistical analysis of HTHS viscosity rating of present-day engine oils. Tribol Trans62(1): 34–11 (2019)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. [19]

    Wolak A. Changes in lubricant properties of used synthetic oils based on the total acid number. Meas Control51(3–4): 65–72 (2018)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. [20]

    Wolak A. TBN performance study on a test fleet in real-world driving conditions using present-day engine oils. Measurement114: 322–331 (2018)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. [21]

    Wolak A, Zając G, Kumbár V. Evaluation of engine oil foaming tendency under urban driving conditions. Eksploat i Niezawodn20(2): 229–235 (2018)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. [22]

    ASTM E2412-10. Standard practice for condition monitoring of in-service lubricants by trend analysis using Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR). ASTM Int, 2010.

  23. [23]

    Coates J. Interpretation of infrared spectra, a practical approach. In Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. Wiley, 2006.

  24. [24]

    Robinson N, Hons B S. Monitoring oil degradation with infrared spectroscopy. Wear Check-Techn Bull18: 1–8 (2000)

    Google Scholar 

  25. [25]

    Trujillo G. Resetting oil analysis parameters for changing diesel engines. Pract Oil Anal01–02: 10–16 (2004)

    Google Scholar 

  26. [26]

    Pinchuk D, Akochi-Koblé E, Cocciardi R A, Pinchuk J, Van de Voort F R, Sedman J. Demystifying and understanding your lubricants using Ft-Ir spectroscopic analysis. In Proceedings of Lubrication Excellence Conference, Columbus Ohio, 2006.

  27. [27]

    Mayer A. Understanding time-dependent limits. Pract Oil Anal11–12: 12–17 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  28. [28]

    Forsthoffer W E. Preventive and predictive maintenance best practices. In Forsthoffer’s Best Practice Handbook for Rotating Machinery. Forsthoffer W E, Ed. Amsterdam, Boston, MA: Elsevier, 2011: 563–576.

    Google Scholar 

  29. [29]

    Wolak A, Zając G. Cold cranking viscosity of used synthetic oils originating from vehicles operated under similar driving conditions. Adv Mech Eng10(11): 1–12 (2018)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. [30]

    Kral Jr J, Konecny B, Kral J, Madac K, Fedorko G, Molnar V. Degradation and chemical change of longlife oils following intensive use in automobile engines. Measurement50: 34–42 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. [31]

    Urzędowska W, Stępień Z. Wybrane zagadnienia dotyczące zmian właściwości silnikowego oleju smarowego w eksploatacji. Nafta-Gaz68(12): 1102–1110, 918–919 (2012)

    Google Scholar 

  32. [32]

    Heredia-Cancino J A, Ramezani M, Álvarez-Ramos M E. Effect of degradation on tribological performance of engine lubricants at elevated temperatures. Tribol Int124: 230–237 (2018)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. [33]

    Notay R S, Priest M, Fox M F. The influence of lubricant degradation on measured piston ring film thickness in a fired gasoline reciprocating engine. Tribol Int129: 112–123 (2019)

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The publication was funded by appropriations of the Faculty of Production Engineering University of Life Sciences in Lublin, and the Faculty of Commodity Science, Cracow University of Economics, within the framework of grants to maintain the research potential. All laboratory tests for this study were conducted at the Oil and Gas Institute in Kraków—the National Research Institute.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Artur Wolak.

Additional information

Artur WOLAK. He graduated from the Faculty of Commodity Science of the Cracow University of Economics in 2009. He received his Ph.D. degree in 2014. His current position is associate professor at the Department of Quality and Safety of Industrial Products at the Cracow University of Economics. His research projects focus on improving the accuracy of assessment of physicochemical changes which occur during actual engine operation, predicting car drivers’ behaviour, predicting environmental impact and damage, and testing assuming the measurement of electrical parameters of new and used motor oils. He is the author of 30 publications in scientific journals

Grzegorz ZAJĄC. He received his M.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Lublin University of Technology Poland in 1998 and Ph.D. degree in agriculture engineering from University of Life Science in Lublin, Poland, in 2006. His current position is a professor and the Head of the Department of Power Engineering and Transportation. His research areas cover the problems of using engine oils and renewable energy technologies.

Wojciech KRASODOMSKI. He graduated from the Faculty of Chemistry of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow in 1991. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1998. In 1999, he was on a fellowship at the National Institute of Researches in Inorganic Materials in Tsukuba, Japan. He has been working at ING-PIB since 2002. Specialization: chemistry and technology of additives, analysis of fuels and petroleum products, and degradation processes of lubricants and fuels during exploitation. He is the author of over 50 publications in scientific journals and 20 patents and patent applications.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wolak, A., Krasodomski, W. & Zając, G. FTIR analysis and monitoring of used synthetic oils operated under similar driving conditions. Friction 8, 995–1006 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40544-019-0344-9

Download citation


  • Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • reliability
  • modelling
  • oil condition monitoring
  • oil oxidation
  • oil change interval