Tuesday, 12 June 2018 12:16

Making Chemistry

Meet WearCheck’s newest scientist – Vincent Sithole. He joined the company last year as a research and development assistant, and has recently been promoted to junior chemist at WearCheck’s Pinetown laboratory.

Vincent is working on several interesting research projects in the lab, one of which is the assessment of the determination of glycol in used engine oil through headspace gas chromatography.

Vincent explains, ‘The presence of ethylene glycol in used engine oil is an indication of antifreeze coolant leakage into the crank-case of an internal combustion engine, thus predicting engine-wear problems, therefore this is an effective preventive monitoring tool.

‘Glycol coolants break down in a high temperature engine environment, leading to the formation of acids that, in turn, attack nonferrous bearing surfaces, causing reactions with oil anti-wear and antioxidant additives.’

Vincent recently completed his master’s degree in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry, and notes with interest that his WearCheck lab work dovetails neatly with the subject of his thesis and published peer-reviewed journal articles – phosphorus/sulphur metal compounds (applied as antioxidants and anti-wear additives in petroleum products).

Before joining WearCheck, Vincent had embarked on his PhD while working as a teaching assistant at the University of KZN in Durban.

Caption: Vincent Sithole, junior chemist at WearCheck, operates a gas chromatograph.

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