Contamination analysis and filtration technology

Contamination analysis and filtration technology is an important research area in fluid power, because clean fluids are necessary for the efficient and reliable operation of hydraulic systems. In the 1980s, the FPI pioneered the use of automatic particle counters in hydraulic fluid analysis-a standard industry practice today. In the 1990s, the FPI pioneered the development of surgically clean fluids for initial-fill applications. In the 2000’s, the FPI was the very first to use Atomic Force Microscopy in wear particles analysis.

Energy-efficient hydraulic fluid research

Our current research thrust incorporates the study and formulation of energy-efficient hydraulic fluids-an endeavor funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. FPI is leading the way in efficiency improvements in fluid power systems through the creation of new ASTM standard practices and a large-scale hydraulic testing dynamometer for fluid efficiency measurements. This work has established MSOE as one of seven selected institutions that now comprise the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, which is a world-wide collaborative effort between both academia and industry.

Contamination control and testing

FPI’s capabilities continue to evolve; not only responding to-but driving-advancements in filtration and contamination control. Built-in contamination in new machines has a huge impact on vehicle reliability and warranty costs. In response, FPI has assisted in the development of many NFPA contamination standards. Many of the world’s largest equipment manufacturers hire the FPI to test new hoses, tubes, cylinders, coolers, reservoirs, pumps, bearings and valve assemblies for manufacturing contamination, which minimizes the risk of customers experiencing early equipment failures.

In order to facilitate early failure detection in fluid power systems, the FPI has developed the ability to extract and analyze the wear particles that are captured in a filter element. Through the use of advanced diagnostic methods such as ferrography, atomic force microscopy, stereomicroscopy and laser particle imaging, early detection and root-cause analysis are possible.


Paul Michael, CLS
Director of Fluid Power Institute and Fluid and Tribology
Telephone: (414) 277-2238
Fax: (414) 277-7470