ASTM-D8210 Standard Test Method for Automatic Determination of Low-Temperature Viscosity of Automatic Transmission Fluids, Hydraulic Fluids, and Lubricants Using a Rotational Viscometer

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Standard Test Method for Automatic Determination of Low-Temperature Viscosity of Automatic Transmission Fluids, Hydraulic Fluids, and Lubricants Using a Rotational Viscometer



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1.1 This test method automates the determination of low temperature, low-shear-rate viscosity of driveline and hydraulic fluids, such as automatic transmission fluids, gear oils, hydraulic fluids, and other lubricants. It utilizes a thermoelectrically temperature-controlled sample chamber along with a programmable rotational viscometer. This test method covers a viscosity range of 300 mPa·s to 900 000 mPa·s measured at temperatures from –40 °C to –10 °C.

1.2 The precision data were determined at –40 °C and –26 °C for a viscosity range of 6380 mPa·s to 255 840 mPa·s.

1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard except those noted below.

1.3.1 Exception—The test method uses the SI unit, milliPascal-second (mPa·s), as the unit of viscosity. (1 cP = 1 mPa·s).

1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

Significance and Use

5.1 The low-temperature, low-shear-rate viscosity of automatic transmission fluids, gear oils, torque and tractor fluids, power steering fluids, and hydraulic oils are of considerable importance to the proper operation of many mechanical devices. Low-temperature viscosity limits of these fluids are often specified to ensure their suitability for use and are cited in many specifications.

5.2 The manual test method, Test Method D2983, was developed to determine whether a gear oil or an automatic transmission fluid (ATF) would meet low-temperature performance criterion originally defined using a particular model viscometer.4 The viscosity range covered in the original ATF performance correlation studies was from less than 1000 mPa·s to more than 60 000 mPa·s. The success of these correlations and the development of this test method with gear oil and ATF performance has over time been applied to other fluids and lubricants such as hydraulic fluids, and etc.

5.3 Some formulated fluid types may form a structure, presumably due to the presence of wax, when soaked at or below a certain low temperature. The viscometer’s spindle rotation can degrade this structure during the viscosity measurement, which may result in a decrease in the apparent viscosity as the step time increases. This decrease in a fluid’s apparent viscosity is often referred to as shear thinning. A sample that exhibits a high initial apparent viscosity may impede the lubrication of certain machinery, such as automatic transmissions.4 However, it is not unusual to see a sample exhibit shear thinning behaviour when measuring high viscosity products such as gear oils, especially those formulated using solvent refined base stocks. It is recommended, that if this phenomenon is observed in ATF or similar low viscosity products, the suitability of the fluid for the application should be carefully considered. If desired, Test Method D5133 or D6821, may be used to study the behavior of these fluids.

5.4 The viscosity determined by this test method using option A was found to be statistically indistinguishable from Test Method D2983 – 16 measurements based on the ILS data to establish this test method’s precision. The ILS results were consistent with the data obtained on numerous ATF and gear oils evaluated in developing this test method.5

5.5 Due to the shorter time at test temperature, results from the abbreviated thermal conditioning (Option B) may differ from results obtained with the 14 h soak at test temperature (Option A). For the samples used in developing this test method, results obtained with the abbreviated procedure (Option B) tended to be less than 14 h soak (Option A). This difference seemed to be larger for products that contained high wax base stock.

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Publication Date

Aug. 10, 2022

Document Type

Test Method

Page Count

12 pages

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