Lubricants are used for lubrication; hence we know lubrication as the process of controlling friction and wear by introducing a friction-reducing film between moving surfaces in contact. by inference, Machinery lubrication reduces all metal-to-metal contacts of moving objects within a piece of machinery; lubrication is the process of applying lubricants to machinery, no matter the use of industrial lubricants on machinery these factors are necessary to consider during formulation.
Before the experts formulate lubricants, the features most especially considered are what we are addressing in this article. The factors to know before you formulate lubricants are treated here. They are almost always essential for all kinds of lubricants; engine and gear lube, axle oil, hydraulic and transmission systems, etc. No matter the brand of lubricants, all the best brands follow similar paths to come up with quality products that meet desirable standards.
The lubricant used can be a fluid, solid, or plastic substance. Although this is a correct definition, it fails to realize all that lubrication achieves.
Lubricants must have the following main characteristics.
- Keep surfaces separate under all loads, temperatures, and speeds, thus minimizing friction and wear.
- Act as a cooling fluid removing the heat produced by friction or from external sources
- Remain adequately stable to guarantee constant behavior over the forecasted useful life
- Protect surfaces from the attack of aggressive products formed during operation
- Show cleaning capability and dirt holding capacity to remove residue and debris that may form during operation
The properties of lubricants
The main properties of lubricants, which are usually indicated in the technical characteristics of the product, are:
- Viscosity index
- Pour point
- Flash point
Viscosity describes the flow behavior of a fluid. The viscosity of a lubricant determines the thickness of the layer of oil between metallic surfaces in reciprocal movement. The viscosity of lubricating oils diminishes as temperature rises and consequently is measured at a given temperature (e.g., 40°C). The most widely used viscosity measurement unit is the centistokes (CST).
The viscosity index is a characteristic used to indicate variations in the viscosity of lubricating oils with temperature changes. The higher the level of the viscosity index, the lower the variation in viscosity at temperature changes.
Consequently, if two lubricants with the same viscosity are considered at a temperature of 40 °C, the one with the higher viscosity index will guarantee:
- better engine start-up at low temperatures (lower internal friction)
- the higher stability of the lubricating film at high temperatures
Several viscosimetric classification systems indicate, usually with a number, a more or less limited viscosity range. The aim is to provide, along with the viscosity index, a rapid indication of the most appropriate choice of lubricant for a specific application.
ISO VG degrees are widely used to classify industrial oils. Each degree identifies a kinematic viscosity gap measured at 40°C. SAE degrees are used in the field of engine oils and gear oils.
The pour point refers to the minimum temperature at which a lubricant continues to flow. Below the pour point, the oil tends to thicken and cease flowing freely.
The flash point is the minimum temperature at which an oil-vapor-air mixture becomes inflammable. It is determined by progressively heating the oil-vapor-air mix in a standard laboratory receptacle until the mixture ignites.
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