What is a Lubricant
A lubricant is a substance that is mainly used to protect sliding or rolling machine surfaces. Lubricants decrease friction between parts in contact, prevent wear, regulate heat generation, seal against dust/dirt, reduce oxidation, and prevent corrosion. Lubricants can also be used as coolants to avoid thermal expansion. When applying the recommended lubricant by the manufacturer, we are prolonging the service life of a machine element and preventing premature failure. Lubrication is used in nearly every mechanical device, like gears, pistons, and vehicle engines. When a lubricant is applied to the material surfaces, it creates a thin film to make the sliding/rolling of the materials easier with less resistance.
Types of Lubricants
There are many types of lubricants, but oil and grease are the most common two.
Oil is the most common lubricant used in manufacturing factories. Oils are suitable for high-speed and high-temperature applications. Additives are sometimes added to oil lubricants to prevent oxidation and corrosion. Oils are mainly used in lubricating hinges, bearings, tool maintenance, and sharpening blades.
Viscosity is the essential property of an oil lubricant and is defined as the oil's ability to resist motion. Higher viscosity means that the oil is thicker and does not flow easily. Oil has a higher viscosity than water, and water has a higher viscosity than air. An oil with higher viscosity will support greater loads because it creates a thicker film between the surfaces in contact. Viscosity is a variable property as it is affected by temperature and pressure. At high temperatures, oxidative degradation occurs faster than at lower temperatures. Oils have a longer service life when used at lower temperatures.
Grease is a semi-solid lubricant and consists of a solid soap(calcium or lithium soap) or fine clay that forms a matrix. The matrix is not a lubricant but acts as a reservoir in which lubricant is released to the contact surface. Grease is made up of around 10% gelling agent, 80% oil, and 10% additives like antiwear or antioxidants. The combination of the different components gives grease a unique texture, thickness, and viscosity. Grease has similar lubricating properties as oil, and it is used in applications where the cooling attribute of oil is not required, or oils cannot be used. The main disadvantage of grease is that it can't be used in fast-running applications because of its extreme thickness and stickiness, which can cause surface resistance.
Solid lubricants, also called dry lubricants, are different from oil or grease and are made of various solid materials with lubricating capabilities. The most common materials for solid lubricants are graphite, molybdenum disulfide, and polytetrafluoroethylene. Each material has its characteristics and is chosen depending on its coefficient of friction, load-carrying capacity, corrosion resistance, and electrical conductivity. A solid lubricant is used when oil or grease cannot be used for lubrication in extreme operating conditions such as a vacuum, corrosive environment, or extreme temperatures.
A penetrating lubricant is a fluid of low viscosity used to lubricate machine parts covered in rust and debris. A penetrating lubricant is a low-viscosity solvent not designed for long-term lubrication. The liquid penetrates the pores of the metal and deposits a layer of oil that increases lubrication and breaks up the rust. A penetrating lubricant is mainly used on stuck nuts or bolts, either rusty or full of debris, and will help loosen them.
You can check our blog on How to Lubricate an Electric Motor.
Also, check Simatec and Perma catalogs on our website for more information.
Various lubrication systems are available on the market. Simatec and Perma are the most popular manufacturers offering different lubrication systems. HVH Industrial is an authorized distributor of these brands, so you can order these lubrication systems on our website at the best prices on the market.