What Is Grease Made Of?

Grease is chosen based on the type of application and the operational environment. If you’re not sure which grease to select among its wide variants, always consult the manufacturer. For a more informed decision, though, read about its three components:

Base Oil

The type of base oil in the grease is determined by the operational condition in which it’ll function. Will it perform in a high or low temperature? How much load and pressure will the machinery have to handle? Mineral-based oil types work best under constant temperature. Synthetic ones, on the other hand, can adjust to a broad range of temperatures and temperature fluctuations.

Viscosity

The bearing’s rolling speed has much to do with the base oil’s viscosity. Usually, the higher the viscosity level, the slower the speed. For instance, when viscosity exceeds 500 mm2/s, the lubricant may bleed so slowly that its greasing function is reduced. Grease manufacturers use a formula to match base oil viscosity to the bearing, taking into account the latter’s dimensions and speed.

Thickener

This is the ingredient that holds the lubricant together, without which the oil would simply flow freely. Most thickeners are in soap forms of chemicals like lithium, aluminum and calcium. The most widely-used non-soap thickener is polyuria. The more complex ones can tolerate high temperatures up to 356 ºF, until the oil base turns into vapor. There are many types of thickeners, too. Although their functions are basically the same, they aren’t generally formulated to be compatible with each other.

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