Tagged: thickener

Grease Thickener Types

We keep speaking about each grease being different based on their thickener type. However, what are the properties that these thickeners give to the grease? For instance, if I wanted to use a grease for a roller bearing in a very high temperature environment which should I choose? Can a multipurpose grease work for that application?

Each area of application may be different and while multipurpose greases are widely used there are some areas where it doesn’t add much value. For example, if a heavy equipment operator uses a backhoe to dig into a river, the multipurpose grease can be easily washed off.

When the grease washes off quickly, the pins holding the bucket can become damaged. (The costs to repair or replace one of these pins are ridiculously high!) However, if he used a Calcium based grease, then there wouldn’t be an issue of water washout and the pins could have a longer life.

Above is a table indicating the various uses of greases based on the thickener types. Know your applications and their environments when choosing the right grease!

Grease Thickener Temperatures

The grease thickener has a crucial role in deciding the environment in which a grease should be applied. One of the major environmental conditions revolves around the operating temperatures that greases have to endure. If the grease goes past its dropping point then it can turn into a liquid, leak out of its designated area and cause the element to be starved for lubrication. Not to mention the mess on the outside of the component after it has leaked out.

Each thickener has a range of operating temperatures. However, some consideration should be applied when designating areas for the application of the grease. As indicated above, a good rule of thumb is to ensure that the application range of the grease does not exceed the Dropping point – 50C. For example, a good operating range for a simple Lithium grease can be 175-50C = 125C. This still falls within the maximum service temperature for a grease with this thickener.

Pay careful attention to your operating temperatures when selecting your grease!