05 Mar Reducing Friction is an Oil’s Primary Function
Synthetic lubricants have inherently superior lubricity for maximum friction reduction
The friction created and equipment as a result of surfaces rubbing together robs us of huge amounts of energy each year. Just think if we could eliminate this energy rubbing phenomenon there would be no energy shortages and we would all save money through lower energy consumption.
Unfortunately, there is no solution that completely eliminates this energy drain, so we have to live with these losses. We have not given up this quest though and progress is made each year to minimize energy rubbing friction on had a hand we depend heavily on friction producing events every day. We all want significant friction between the soles of our boots and I slowly walked on the slippery sidewalks. We also appreciate the value of friction we want our cars to stop quickly to avoid an accident.
Although lubricants are tasked with fulfilling many important functions, such as cooling and cleaning, reducing friction is their primary purpose. When placed between two components, lubricants maintain a layer of separation. Though separation may be only a few millionths of an inch, it is sufficient to minimize contact.
Lubricity is the measure of a lubricants friction reduction capabilities and it varies from one fluid to another. Base oil design friction-reducing additives both impact lubricants friction reduction capabilities. The use and balance of these materials impact the friction characteristics of the overall system.
A lubricant’s response to temperature changes, ability for the film under the pressure and polarity affect its lubricity.
We all know that it is desirable for lubricant viscosity to change as little as possible with temperature fluctuations, the measure for this property is viscosity index. When a lubricant becomes too thick in cold temperatures, it will not readily flow to the areas that needs to be lubricated. If it becomes too thin at high temperatures, the thin film separating surfaces becomes disrupted, allowing metal-to-metal contact.
Lubricants with a higher viscosity index are better because their viscosity changes less with temperature swings.
Another important lubricant property is the ability to resist shearing or tearing under stress. The starting thickness of the oil is important, but the more critical property is the thickness of the oil after it has run in the equipment part way through the lubricant life. Oil formulations built with cheaper viscosity improvers tend to shear more, resulting in a much lower lubricant thickness part way through the lubricant life. This results in reduced protection, which can be of particular concern if equipment is highly dependent on specific lubricant viscosity.
In lubrication, polarity is a measure of a material’s affinity for like surfaces. Water and metal are two examples of polar surfaces. Highly refined petroleum oils by themselves are not highly polar and do not naturally migrate to metal surfaces. High quality synthetic lubricants, on the other hand, have correct polarity, which allows them to provide effective boundary lubrication and separation of surfaces.
Whether it is bearing, gear a cylinder, minimizing contact between components minimizes friction and wear. An oil’s viscosity and inherent lubricity are the key characteristics in minimizing contact between components. When the viscosity is insufficient to totally separate the components, anti-wear or extreme pressure additives provide separation by forming chemical barriers.
Synthetic technology is the primary weapon to fight the battle against friction. Synthetic lubricants are chemically engineered from the ground up to ensure molecular uniformity, purity and predictable chemical properties. For these reasons, synthetic lubricants can outperform conventional lubricants in the areas of quality, reliability and service life. Amsoil synthetic lubricants also featured outstanding additive combinations to provide industry-leading protection against friction and ensure peak equipment operation and longevity. That means better mileage, less downtime, less maintenance and more savings for you and your customers.