skip to navigation skip to content skip to footer

Defence Aviation Safety Authority

Australian Defence Force-Wear Debris Analysis Lab

The ADF WDA lab was established to help determine aircraft serviceability and augment any existing condition monitoring programs by providing detailed analysis of wear debris retrieved from aircraft engines, gearboxes and other mechanical systems. It is a joint program between the Defence Aviation Safety Authority (DASA) and the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group).

The ADF WDA lab services are free for ADF aviation assets1. The analysis primarily involves determining the elemental composition of the debris that then enables the origin of the debris to be determined.  The origin (e.g. a bearing or gear) can then be used to make an informed maintenance or serviceability decision.

1. If you have an ADF gearbox, engine or mechanical system that requires WDA that is not an aviation asset, please call Mr. Andrew Becker first to discuss before you send in the sample.


Take the sample.

1) a.     Chip Detectors:  This typically involves rinsing the chip detector and debris with Isopropyl Alcohol to remove oil residue, allowing it to dry and carefully using Scotch Magic Tape 810D (or similar) to transfer the debris to a suitable pro forma. 

Filters: Allow surplus oil to drain from the filter element (this can also be captured in a sample bottle but is not essential).  Double bag the sample in zip lock or similar bags.  Place bagged filter in a box with absorbent material.

b.    Oil Samples: routine oil samples must not be sent to the ADF WDA Lab.  Routine oil samples are analysed by the commercial laboratory Intertek for analysis.  The ADF WDA Lab can analyse particulate from oil samples in exceptional circumstances (contact the lab before sending).

2) Due to COVID 19 Restrictions, send the sample to the ADF WDA Lab (using only Express Post or StarTrack) at the following address until further notice:

ADF Wear Debris Analysis Lab
c/- Defence Science & Technology Store
506 Lorimer Street
Fishermans Bend, VIC 3207

3) Fill in the ADF-WDA webform AE639 and email it to the lab at Note: For PC9 aircraft please attach the result sheet from the filter patch from the filter patch screening test (FST). 

4) The results will be emailed to the POC listed on the webform.


Q.        How do I get my sample processed faster?

A.        There are 3 turnaround priorities (all listed on the AE 639):

48 Hours – this requires written justification in the request.  For example an aircraft being deployed or AOG.
7 days – most samples will fall into this category.  ADF WDA lab typically get samples done within this timeframe.
14 days – used where an aircraft is entering a maintenance period and the results are not needed urgently.
The lab cannot process a sample it does not physically possess, so the quicker it arrives at the lab, the faster it can be processed. Therefore it is recommended the sample is sent express registered post for the fastest turnaround time possible. You can also ring Mr. Ng on 03 9282 3069 to let him know the sample is on the way and it is a 48hr priority job.

Q.         If I am a commercial SPO can I still get debris analysed?

A.         Yes, provided a suitable Commonwealth Propulsion POC is listed in the request.  This ensures the Commonwealth is not providing a service which it is paying another party to provide.

Q.         Why was the ADF WDA Lab established?

A.         To ensure rapid turnaround time for aircraft debris samples that have an operational impact and to ensure the integrity of the OEMs material maps were maintained.


All questions can be directed to FLGOFF Dennis Schmidt in the first instance.
Phone: (03) 9282 7561

If Dennis Schmidt is not available, please try the Lab Technical Manager, Mr. Andy Becker.
Phone: (03) 9626 7382