To keep mechanical systems operating at maximum performance, effective lubrication is an essential process. Oils, greases, fluids and other lubricants are renowned for “greasing the wheels” of machinery, but in fact, most lubricants are relied upon to complete many other tasks.
In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into lubrication and look at seven different roles it performs simultaneously when it is applied to vehicle engines and working mechanical parts to keep them working and in good order.
The primary role of lubrication is to create a film between the moving mechanical parts ensuring that they can always move freely. When working components are insufficiently lubricated, machinery will not move smoothly and effectively damaging productivity and performance.
If parts are not properly lubricated, metal surfaces will grind against each other. Not only does this inhibit performance, but it causes damage to the metal parts which then require repair or replacement. As the metal wears away, debris is created which can cause further havoc in a machine’s innerworkings.
When a machine works, intense heat is generated and, if it is allowed to build up in key areas, can cause damage to parts. Thankfully, lubricants also act as a coolant when they transfer heat away from important areas of an engine or other mechanical system.
Lubrication also acts as a sealant. It can fill in uneven surfaces on metal parts ensuring that less friction occurs, and smoother movement is possible. Lubricants also seal moving parts with a protective film which can help them remain free of unwanted debris that may harm operation.
As lubricants flow through a machine, they collect unwanted contaminants in a suspension and transport them away from working parts. The debris from combustion can cause significant build-up in engines but effective lubrication can clean components and take any unwanted materials safely to the sump where they can be filtered away before causing harm.
Lubrication also acts to dampen the impact of heavy stress by cushioning components working under pressure. This helps protects them and can extend their active service life.
Protecting against corrosion
Finally, mechanical systems must also be effectively protected against oxidation and corrosive forces. Lubrication can provide a defensive shield against a wide range of unwanted contaminants including iron oxide, better known as rust. When iron alloys such as steel are subject to air and water, rust can take root, but providing that an appropriate lubricant is used this problem can be prevented.