Last Updated S012019


Unit Name Lubrication, Maintenance and Condition Monitoring
Unit Code BME301S
Unit Duration 1 Semester

Bachelor of Science (Engineering)

Duration 3 years

Year Level Three
Unit Creator / Reviewer N/A
Core/Sub-Discipline: Sub-discipline
Pre/Co-requisites BSC105C, BME206S
Credit Points


Total Course Credit Points 81 (27 x 3)

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload (Total student workload including “contact hours” = 10 hours per week; 5 hours per week for 24 week delivery)
Pre-recordings / Lecture – 1.5 hours
Tutorial – 1.5 hours
Guided labs / Group work / Assessments – 2 hours
Personal Study recommended – 5 hours

Unit Description and General Aims

The objective in presenting this unit is to provide students with a thorough overview of Tribology fundamentals, comprehension of the key lubricant properties and types, and the knowledge to select the right lubricant for a particular application. The emphasis is on enabling students to get the most up-to-date information on lubrication related issues and best practices.

Students will also be instructed on the many aspects of maintenance, the latest maintenance techniques and technologies, be equipped with the skills to perform condition monitoring tasks and to recognize and solve precision maintenance issues in a structured manner towards improved reliability and performance.

The subject matter covered in this unit will include the fundamental Tribology concepts; lubricant and additive properties; the identification of the different lubricant types; lubricant storage and stability; preventive and predictive maintenance strategies; condition monitoring tasks; and, precision maintenance programs. Students will also undertake project work involving a sample preventive maintenance strategy for a given application and carry out failure analysis for a given equipment/system.

Detailed knowledge of Tribology concepts and lubricants is key to effective and efficient maintenance. Many operational problems can be traced to inadequate knowledge of lubricants, lack of basic maintenance, and poor asset management skills. It is through the detailed knowledge of Tribology concepts, lubricants, and timely implementation of maintenance practices, that failures can be averted and/or their symptoms can be accurately identified, and corrective measures initiated well in time to prevent unscheduled and sometimes even catastrophic failures. At the conclusion of this unit, students will have been imparted with the requisite knowledge of lubricants and maintenance issues to appreciate this and ensure that effective products and effective maintenance strategies, plans, and programs are utilised, established, and perpetually sustained.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Explain the fundamental Tribology concepts.
    Bloom’s Level 4
  2. Examine lubricant and additive properties.
    Bloom’s Level 4
  3. Identify the different lubricant types.
    Bloom’s Level 4
  4. Deal with issues related to lubricant storage and stability.
    Bloom’s Level 6
  5. Optimise preventive and predictive maintenance strategies.
    Bloom’s Level 5
  6. Perform condition monitoring tasks.
    Bloom’s Level 5
  7. Manage your precision maintenance program.
    Bloom’s Level 5

Student assessment

Assessment Type When assessed Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Practical / Remote Lab / Simulation

Example Topic: Tribology concepts, properties of lubricants.

Students will complete a quiz with MCQ type answers to 30 questions to show evidence of their comprehension of Tribology principles and lubricant properties.

Due after Topic 3 15% 1, 2

Assessment 2

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Practical / Remote Lab / Simulation

Example Topic: Lubricant types, additives, stability, and storage.

Students will answer descriptive type questions and provide solutions to simple problems on the above topics.

Due after Topic 6 20% 2, 3, 4

Assessment 3

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Practical / Remote Lab / Simulation / Project / Report

Example Topic: Maintenance basics, Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM), predictive maintenance.

Students will provide short answers to questions on maintenance techniques and procedures, RCM and predictive maintenance.

Due after Topic 9 20%  5, 6

Assessment 4

Type: Exam or project

Word length: NA

Example Topic: Preventive maintenance and failure analysis.

Students will provide a sample preventive maintenance strategy for a given application and carry out failure analysis for a given equipment/system.

Final Week 40% 5, 6, 7

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

Example: Presentation, discussion, group work, exercises, self-assessment/reflection, case study analysis, application.

Continuous 5% 1 to 7

Prescribed and Recommended Readings


Machinery Vibration Analysis and Predictive Maintenance, IDC Technologies, Perth
Practical Lubrication Engineering for Engineers and Technicians, IDC Technologies, Perth
Reliability Centred Maintenance, IDC Technologies, Perth


Rao, BKN 1996, Handbook of Condition Monitoring, 1st edn, Elsevier Science Ltd, ISBN-13: 978-1856172349

Mohanty, AR 2014, Machinery Condition Monitoring: Principles and Practices, CRC Press, ISBN-13: 978-1466593046

Journal, website

Notes and Reference Texts

IDC Technologies
Other material advised during the lectures

Unit Content

Topic 1


1. Cause and effects of friction
2. Fluid and hydro-dynamic lubrication
3. Boundary lubrication
4. Lubricant characteristics under varying conditions
5. Lubricant types and applications

Topic 2

Properties of Lubricants

1. Viscosity
2. Flashpoint and volatility
3. Oxidation and thermal stability
4. Demulsibility
5. Foaming and gas solubility
6. Corrosion prevention
7. Compatibility

Topic 3


1. Oxidation inhibitors
2. Rust and corrosion inhibitors
3. Pour point depressants
4. Viscosity Inhibitor (VI) improvers
5. Anti-wear additives
6. Extreme Pressure (EP) additives
7. Anti-foam additives
8. Detergents and dispersants additives
9. Demulsifiers and emulsifiers
10. Tackiness additives

Topic 4

Lubricant Types

1. Greases and grease lubrication
2. Internal combustion lubricants
3. Hydraulic systems and fluids
4. Miscellaneous lubrication – pump, motor, turbine, compressor

Topic 5

Stability and Storage

1. Fluid contamination
2. Leakage stability
3. Fluid chemical stability
4. Temperature stability
5. Wear stability
6. Safety issues
7. Shelf life
8. Contamination potential

Topic 6

Maintenance Fundamentals

1. Purpose of maintenance
2. Maintenance objectives
3. Evolution of maintenance processes
4. Maintenance types
5. Reliability in maintenance

Topic 7


1. Introduction to RCM
2. Steps in RCM process
3. Identification of functions, failures, effects, and causes
4. Failure patterns
5. Selecting maintenance tasks

Topic 8

Predictive Maintenance

1. Introduction and overview
2. Benefits of predictive maintenance
3. Role of predictive maintenance ineffective asset management
4. Introduction to predictive maintenance technologies and techniques

Topic 9

Preventive Maintenance (PM)

1. Development of a PM program
2. Reasons for a PM program
3. Risk involved in a PM program
4. Planning and scheduling in PM
5. PM implementation

Topic 10

Condition Monitoring Tasks

1. Tighten, Lubricate, Clean (TLC)
2. Chemical and particle analysis
3. Ultrasonic inspection
4. Temperature monitoring
5. Performance monitoring
6. Failure analysis

Topic 11

Managing Your Precision Maintenance Program

1. Criteria for choosing baselines
2. Trending
3. Which machines to monitor?
4. Managing data
5. Software for trending
6. Scheduling maintenance
7. Interruptive and non-interruptive

Topic 12

Unit Review

(Distribute Case Study in Week 9). In the final week, students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work and to clarify any outstanding issues. Instructors/facilitators may choose to cover a specialized topic if applicable to that cohort.