In order to fulfil productivity expectations, machinery is operating faster and hotter than ever before, necessitating the use of higher-performance lubricants. These performance levels are provided by synthetics. Industrial applications have been using synthetic lubricants (synthetic oil & grease) for more than 20 years. Synthetic lubricants are amazing resources for excellent assets since they effectively boost productivity and operating efficiency.
Moreover, to create greater molecular-weight materials, synthetics are created by mixing low molecular-weight materials in a chemical reaction. To create goods with consistent consistency and certain performance characteristics, these reactions are managed. Mineral-based lubricants lack the performance characteristics and consistency and uniformity of synthetic lubricants. The ability of synthetic oils to outperform mineral oils at high operating temperatures (over 85 degrees Celsius) and their great efficacy at low operating temperatures (below – 18 degrees Celsius) are two of its most notable advantages. As a result of protecting engine components from wear and tear from friction, synthetic oils last longer than conventional oils before breaking down.
Synthetics only use the purest oil molecules, which are comparable in size and structure. The results of this are a decrease in fluid friction, less drag on internal engine components, and an increase in horsepower and torque. Engine life can be predicted to increase with greater internal lubrication and decreased friction and wear. It is also more efficient because of less drag on the engine’s internal components, which means less gasoline is used. It is not uncommon to see a little increase in fuel economy while making the move from mineral to synthetic oil. Even if grease is a homogeneous mixture of synthetic or mineral base oil and thickener, we still shouldn’t mix synthetic and ordinary grease together because this could sometimes result in compatibility problems, different reactions, and even a serious accident.
Benefits of Synthetic Lubricants
The benefits of synthetic lubricants are connected to their distinctive qualities and attributes.
1. High Viscosity Index
Synthetic lubricants are the only lubricants that are created through the chemical alteration of oil components rather than through the refining of crude oil. The carefully regulated temperature, pressure, and component level are employed to control the chemical reactions involved in this process. These precise conditions are required to produce consistent particle size and specific performance characteristics, which give these lubricants their distinctive qualities and turn them into true troubleshooters. One of its characteristics is the high viscosity index of the fluid used in this technique.
The measurement of a fluid’s viscosity change in relation to temperature change is called a viscosity index. It is among the most vital and significant characteristics of the lubricant. A greater viscosity index means that oil is more resistant to temperature changes, which occur often during the daily operation of a machine. By resisting getting thinner at high temperatures, the lubricant will enhance the machine’s oil system and provide superior security to the heading and other multifaceted machine parts.
2. Improved Oxidation Resistance
Better oxidation resistance is the main advantage that a synthetic lubricant can provide. Because synthetic oil and grease have better oxidation stability than mineral oils, they may have a longer service life, which reduces lubrication hunger and allows for longer drain intervals and fewer frequent oil changes. This characteristic makes synthetic oils ideal for use in machinery with extended drain intervals, minimal maintenance needs, and minimum downtime. Synthetic lubricants are said to last 3–4 times longer than their mineral oil equivalents, according to many lubricant makers. Additionally, longer life increases your plant’s operational effectiveness and significant cost savings.
3. Internal Fluid Traction Coefficient of Friction
An additional crucial aspect of synthetic lubricants that increases the effectiveness of machinery is their traction coefficient or internal fluid friction (resistance). The shearing force that is anticipated to move a load, divided by the load, is the traction coefficient. The coefficient number talks about how easily the lubricating film is damaged or sheared. This suggests that if less force is required to move a load, less energy will also be used. Therefore, employing synthetic lubricant with low traction will ultimately result in a reduction in power consumption, which will result in cheaper energy costs for the plant.
4. High Film Strength
One of the most crucial and significant lubricants features for preventing wear on a machine’s interior components is film strength. The majority of synthetic lubricants have strong films, allowing for use at extremely low temperatures. They are able to lubricate machine parts and start the engine considerably more quickly in chilly temperatures because they are wax-free and have colder pour points than mineral oils.
5. Energy Savings
The use of synthetics has frequently been defended on the basis of energy savings alone. This is true for gearboxes in particular. Film strength and lubricity both affect efficiency. When using synthetics for elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL), which happens with rolling motion like that in bearings and pitch point in gears, traction coefficient is a crucial consideration. A thin film formed under intense pressure as a result of EHL lubrication raises the viscosity of the film. Energy savings in rolling element bearings may be impacted by the traction coefficient, which is the fluid film’s internal resistance to sliding.
Synthetic oil and grease have recently become more common in industrial applications. Even though the synthetic lubricant market is far more expensive than the conventional or mineral oil markets, the return on investment will be enormous because of their unique features and superior performance under various operating circumstances. Their advantages, however, depend on the working environment and the kind of synthetics.