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Effective Lubrication Beyond Oils & Greases: Smart Lubrication™ Technology News from Molykote® brand
MIDLAND, MICHIGAN, USA: Tribology, the science and engineering of
interacting surfaces in relative motion, is used to study the effects of
different types of lubricants on friction and wear. A typical tribosystem
includes a lubricant, opposing surfaces, different speeds and loads, and the
application environment. Choosing a lubricant for effective performance begins
with the specific lubrication or friction regime involved.
Lubrication or friction regimes
Different lubrication or friction regimes require different types of
lubrication (tribological films):
Hydrodynamic – Fluid lubricants are forced between opposing surfaces
in response to relative motion (speed) and applied force (load). Dynamic
pressure keeps the surfaces separated.
Elastohydrodynamic – As speeds and loads increase dynamic pressure,
the lubricating fluid is compressed to act like a solid. This causes elastic
deformation of the component surfaces.
Boundary – Surface-active materials form a lubricating film on and
between the opposing surfaces. Effective boundary films require adhesion and
cohesion of the active materials.
A mixed regime can occur when both hydrodynamic and boundary friction
are possible. During start-up and shutdown or in transient events like shock
loads, the relative motion or distance between opposing surfaces may converge
toward zero. Partial hydrodynamic and boundary films may be required.
Oils and greases rely on fluid (base oil) to form effective hydrodynamic and
elastohydrodynamic lubricating films. Relative motion must be present, and
other factors have an impact.
Fluid viscosity changes with temperature and pressure, affecting the
lubricant film thickness.
Oxidation, evaporation and gravity can inhibit the ability of lubricating
fluids to stay in place.
Oils and greases may be unable to maintain effective lubricating films
under static loads or high loads or at low speeds, and they can be affected by
extreme cold (stiffening) or heat (thinning).
Solid lubricants that make up the dominant portion of anti-seize
pastes and anti-friction coatings are relatively unaffected by factors that can
impact the lubricating ability of oils and greases.
As temperatures and pressures increase or decrease, boundary films formed
by solid lubricants maintain steady thickness.
Solid lubricants are not subject to evaporation; oxidation temperatures
exceed 399°C (750°F).
Particle size and adhesive/cohesive properties help keep solid lubricants
Relative surface speeds are not required to form effective lubricating
films, and loads have little or no effect on film thickness.
Anti-seize pastes and anti-friction coatings (AFCs)
Produced as fine-particle powders, solid lubricants fill in, smooth and cover
surface asperity peaks and valleys. The lubricating particles adhere to the
substrate and also cohere to each other to form protective layers to control
friction and reduce surface wear. They are applied in two forms:
Anti-Seize Pastes – These contain 40 to 60% solid lubricants in a
mineral or synthetic oil that carries the solids to where lubrication is
needed. Some are used as assembly pastes to help prevent galling and cold
welding and to provide nondestructive disassembly. Others are suited for
preventing fretting corrosion caused by micro-vibrations, aiding threaded
connection assembly, or providing long-term lubrication or enhanced protection
against rust and corrosion.
Anti-Friction Coatings – These paintlike materials contain about 30%
solid lubricants blended with a solvent carrier, resin binder and special
additives. Cured AFCs are dry, work well in the presence of dust and dirt, and
are not susceptible to aging or evaporation. They are effective in low-speed
and high-load applications, when abrasive contaminants are present, where
vibration can cause fretting corrosion, in start-up and run-in operations to
reduce premature machine wear, to replace heavy metal coatings for corrosion
protection, and to support oils and greases.
Anti-seize pastes and anti-friction coatings, fortified with high levels of
lubricant solids, can go beyond traditional oils and greases to optimize
friction; reduce wear; and provide long-lasting, effective lubrication in
extreme environmental conditions.
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