For any mechanical system, a lubricant is essential to mitigate the wear on crucial components and improve the energy efficiency of the system as a whole. Not all lubricants are alike, though, and neither are all machines. Working in an industrial environment makes this all the more apparent, as operating conditions often require specific solutions for maintenance—this means higher-quality or specialized industrial lubricants. Before you approach a supplier, you should familiarize yourself with different types and properties to look for.
What Makes A Good Lubricant?
When shopping around for industrial lubricant Richmond VA, you need to know what to look for and the right questions to ask. Specialized products can display a wide range of additional properties depending on their intended use, but all high-quality lubricants have some common traits—primarily, thermal and chemical stability and the capacity to transfer heat and contaminants away from applied surfaces. Some specifications to keep in mind include:
- Kinematic viscosity: the lubricant’s resistance to flow under the force of gravity
- Viscosity index: a measure of how viscosity changes over a temperature range
- Pour point: the lowest temperature at which a fluid can flow
- Flashpoint: the temperature at which a liquid begins to give off ignitable vapors
What Does Your System Need?
Depending on the behavior and function of the mechanical system in question, some lubricants may be more viable than others. For instance, lubricants may respond differently to sliding versus rolling friction. Consider also the expected loads and conditions that the lubricant will experience—both the magnitude of friction and the load-bearing capacity scale with viscosity. Petroleum, mineral oil and synthetic lubricants each have their own ranges of properties, which can be modified with additives like cleaning agents, corrosion inhibitors, anti-foaming agents and anti-scuffing compounds.
Though lubricants come in many forms, suppliers can help find the right product. The key is understanding the context of the lubricant’s use so you can match it with a suitable compound.