Magnetic Plug – The most basic type of magnetic filter is a drain plug, where a magnet in the shape of a disc or cylinder is attached to its inside surface (typically by adhesion). Periodically, the magnetic plug (mag-plug) is removed and inspected for ferromagnetic particles, which are then wiped from the plug.
Today, such plugs are commonly used in engine oil pans, gearboxes and occasionally in hydraulic reservoirs. One useful advantage of mag-plugs relates to examining the density of wear particles observed as a visual indication of the wear rate occurring within the machine over a fixed period of running time.
The appearance of these iron filings on magnets are often described in inspection reports using terms such as peach fuzz, whiskers or Christmas trees. If one normally sees peach fuzz, but on one occasion sees a Christmas tree instead, this would be a reportable condition requiring further inspection and remediation. After all, abnormal wear produces abnormal amounts of wear debris, leading to an abnormal collection of debris on magnetic plugs.
While magnetic plugs are inserted into the oil below the oil level (for example, drain port), rod magnets may extend down from reservoir tops, special filter canisters or within the centertube of a standard filter element.
Low-efficiency Collection Pot
These collectors consist of a series of rings or toroidal-shaped magnets assembled axially onto a metal rod. Between the magnets are spacers where the magnetic gradient is the highest, serving as the loading zone for the particles to collect.
Periodically the rods are removed, inspected and wiped clean with a rag or lint-free cloth. A conceptual example of a particular rod magnet filter is shown in Figure 1. When the rod is removed, the sheath or shroud can be slid off the magnet core to remove the collected debris. This debris can then be prepared for microscopic analysis to aid in assessing machine condition.
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