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Marine Fuel Oil Stability and Compatibility

The stability of a residual fuel may be defined as the ability of the fuel to remain in an unchanged condition despite circumstances that may tend to cause change. Put more simply, it is the resistance of an oil to breakdown. Compatibility is similar in that it is the tendency of fuels to produce deposits when mixed.

Compatibility tester

In the event of a limited stability reserve of a fuel, it is likely that filter blockage will occur. Should there be difficulty in identifying the nature of this material sediment, a small portion should be placed in an open container at a temperature of 60-70°C. A waxy material will melt but an asphaltenic sludge will not. With respect to fuel stability, less than 1% of residual fuels exceed the ISO 8217 specification limit of 0.10%m/m.
 
Testing for fuel stability or fuel compatibility problems is quite easy and provides a good early warning. Sometimes a marginally unstable fuel can be improved by the use of commercial fuel additives. Once the fuel has chemically broken down, there is no way to satisfactorily reverse the process. If instability is severe, there is little that can be done to improve matters.


Comment
 
The effects of unstable fuel include sludges, blocked filters, and overloaded fuel pumps leading to damaged pistons, rings and liners. Stability and compatibility are very similar: 
Stability - unstable when delivered, 
Compatibility - unstable when mixed at the plant or onboard ship.
 
Click to see the Parker Kittiwake Compatibility Tester

Off-line Bunker Fuel

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