Greases 101: Different Grease Types and When to Use Them
Selecting the right grease requires some basic understanding depending upon the purpose. There are all types of grease available in the market. Therefore you need to carefully select grease which is going to deliver the best results for your application. Not all greases may be suitable for every situation because it solely depends upon the application.
There are industrial greases and automobile greases, so you need to figure out the purpose and choose the right one. To find out more, we need to understand how the grease works and what are the basic features needed to ensure the best possible results. Most common issues that machinery or automobile tools often face are high temperature or high-water exposure.
That’s when we need to find out what specific type of grease would be the best. Therefore it is crucial to identify the right grease. You need to ask questions like – Which is the best at higher temperatures? Which type of grease won’t easily break down from water washout? Which grease type responds best to extreme pressure?
It is always good to know all the answers. Guess what? You will find all the answers here in this detailed article. So without any further ado, let’s get started with the basics first!
• What is Grease?
Grease is a solid or sometimes semi-solid lubricant which is formed as a result of dispersion of thickening agents present in a liquid. As per common definition, grease consists of a formulation emulsified with mineral or vegetable oil. It is made up of three major components:
- Thickening agent in the range of 5% to 20%
- Base oils in the range of 80% to 95%
- Additives in the range of 0% to 10%
• What are the three types of lubricating greases?
There are mainly three different types of lubrication commonly available in the market: boundary, mixed and full film. Each type has a different application and they rely on a secondary lubricant or in some cases the additives within the oils to protect against wear and tear. Now let’s also understand what a lubricant is. It is a substance which is usually organic.
It is added to reduce friction present between surfaces when they come in mutual contact. This grease or lubricant reduces the heat generated as a result of the movement of surfaces. It also has a significant role and function when it comes to transmitting forces, or transporting particles, or heating and cooling of the surfaces. This property of reducing friction is called lubricity. Greases have various applications such as industrial, automotive and marine.
• What are greases used for?
Greases are mainly applied to applications and tools where lubrication is not possible because of the functioning as it would not stay long in the particular equipment or tool.
Greases also act as sealants to keep a check on the entrance of water and in compressible materials. Grease-lubricated bearings are said to have much greater frictional characteristics because of its high viscosity.
Greases are used in industrial, automotive and marine industries. They are commonly used in types of machinery or automobile parts such as bearings.
• Is oil and grease the same thing?
Although oil and grease are two familiar terms, many people are still not clear on what exactly the difference is. Oil and Grease have different applications. There are situations where oil is a better choice and other situations where grease is best suited.
The main key difference setting grease apart from the oil is its thickener. Grease is a more thickened form of lubricant. This thickener within the grease often acts as a sponge which holds the base oil and keeps the additives together. This process gives the grease a semi-fluid or solid structure.
• What is the difference between regular grease and lithium grease?
The only key difference is that Lithium greases normally possess greater stability, have high-temperature characteristics and also water-resistance properties. It allows the greases to be used at higher temperatures.
• Does the colour of grease mean anything?
As per experts, the colour of the grease doesn’t matter in most cases. Most of the time greases have red or blue texture and sometimes have darker black or brown shade. The only time when the colour does matter is when you see”grey grease”. It indicates that grease has moly, also known as molybdenum, an additive in it.
• Is it OK to mix different types of grease?
Mixing greases which are incompatible with each other may have unfavorable consequences. It may react and result in a separation of the base oil from the thickeners of the two different greases.
If that happens, then the base oil wills no longer stay in place and you get a messy outcome such as oil oozing out of the area wherever it is applied.