Exclusive Guide to Synthetic Lubricants (July 2003)

Synthetics are the logical lubricant choice in a number of applications, including when: Man-made synthetics reduce wear by providing a more robust lubricant film in the load zone or nonconforming surface of bearings, gears, compressors, rotary shaft seals, vacuum and diaphragm pumps, valves, and hydraulic systems.

07/14/2003


Key Concepts
 
  • These lubricants reduce wear and provide long life.

  • Synthetics can be formulated to satisfy application requirements.

  • The chart lists product offerings from 79 companies.

Sections:
Selection
Types

Click here to view the Guide
Click here to visit the Molykote web site

Synthetics are the logical lubricant choice in a number of applications, including when:

  • Equipment failure or excessive downtime

  • is attributed to ineffective lubricationproducts or practices

  • Application demands are beyond the capabilities of mineral-based petroleum products

  • High or low temperatures (-75 to +500 F) are encountered.

    • Man-made synthetics reduce wear by providing a more robust lubricant film in the load zone or nonconforming surface of bearings, gears, compressors, rotary shaft seals, vacuum and diaphragm pumps, valves, and hydraulic systems. Reduced maintenance, parts replacement, and energy costs often result. Synthetic lubricants also provide long life because of their enhanced thermal and oxidative stability, which reduce the formation of sludge, corrosion, and deposits.

      The major drawback to synthetic lubricants is initial cost, which is typically about three times higher than mineral oil-based products. However, the initial price premium is usually recovered over the life of the product, which is about three times longer than conventional lubricants.

      Because of the initial expense, using synthetics in systems experiencing leakage or contamination is not a practical choice.

      The charts presented on the following pages serve as a guide to selecting and applying synthetic gear, bearing, hydraulic, and compressor oils, and three high/extreme pressure greases. The chart, which is updated every 3 yr, is based on information supplied by the 79 companies who responded to a written request from PLANT ENGINEERING magazine.

      Products presented in the listings are categorized by viscosity. However, there are several other important variables that should be considered when selecting and applying synthetic lubricants. These factors include pour and flash points, demulsibility, lubricity, rust and corrosion protection, thermal and oxidation stability, antiwear properties, compatibility with seals and paints, and compliance with testing and standards requirements.

      Products presented in each category are not necessarily interchangeable or compatible. These two features depend on a variety of inter-related factors, and each application requires an individual analysis.

      Selection

      A properly selected synthetic product provides the same basic lubrication functions as mineral oils. However, synthetic lubricants can be formulated with a combination of properties to satisfy specific application requirements that petroleum products cannot usually meet.

      Performance characteristics of synthetic lubricants are derived from the physical and chemical properties of the base fluid and effects of additives introduced into the final product. Physical and chemical qualities include viscosity-temperature behavior, low-temperature fluidity, volatility, compatibility with paints and elastomers, ability to dissolve chemical additives, and hydrolytic stability. Additives are introduced to influence, to a greater or lesser degree, oxidation stability, load-bearing ability, and corrosion protection.

      The table (right) shows the relative performance characteristics of seven types of synthetic lubricants and a paraffinic mineral oil.

      Types

      There are several major classes of synthetic lubricants.

      • Synthesized hydrocarbons , such as polyalphaolefins and dialkylated

      • benzenes, are the most common types. These products provide performance characteristics closest to mineral oils and are compatible with them. They are used as engine and turbine oils, hydraulic fluids, gear and bearing circulating oils, and compressor lubricants.

      • Organic esters , such as dibasic acid and polyol esters, easily accept additives, which enhance their applicability for finished product formulations, such as crankcase oils and compressor lubricants.

      • Phosphate esters are well suited for fire resistance applications. They also provide excellent wear resistance and corrosion, and are considered readily biodegradable.

      • Polyglycols are used for lubricating gears, bearings, and compressors handling hydro-carbon gases. They provide excellent wear protection at high temperatures as well as good corrosion protection.

      • Silicones are chemically inert, nontoxic, fire resistant, and water repellent. They have low pour points and volatility, good low-temperature fluidity, and good oxidation and thermal stability at very high temperatures.

        • It is important to remember that synthetics are as different from each other as they are from petroleum lubricants. Their performance and applicability to any situation depends on the quality of the synthetic base stock and additive package.

          Consulting the manufacturer early in the selection process is the best approach to ensuring the right product is chosen for the application.

          — Joseph L. Foszcz, Senior Editor, 630-288-8776, jfoszcz@reedbusiness.com

          Performance characteristics of several lubricants

          Properties Mineral oil (paraffinic) Polyalphaolefin Dialkylated benzene Polyol ester Dibasic acid ester Polyglycol Phosphate ester Silicone fluid
          E = Excellent; VG = Very good; G = Good; F = Fair; P = Poor
          Viscosity-temperatureFGFGGVGPE
          Low temperaturePGGGGGFG
          High-temperature oxidation stabilityFVGGGEGFG
          Compatibility with mineral oilEEEGFPPP
          Low volatilityFEGEEGGG
          Compatibility with paints and elastomersEEEPPGPVG


          Acknowledgements
          Plant Engineering magazine extends its appreciation to The Timken Corp. for providing the cover photo.

          Click here

          to view the Guide





The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me