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What Every Lubricant Must Do

LTHOUGH THE ABILITY TO MINIMIZE friction is the number one function of a lubricant, there are other major functions that must be considered. Here are some of the basics, without getting too technical. A lubricant is also required to:

  • Clean - A lubricant must maintain internal cleanliness by suspending contaminants and preventing them from adhering to components.
  • Cool Moving Parts - Reducing friction will reduce the amount of heat that is generated and lower the operating temperature of components. A lubricant must also absorb heat from components and transfer it to a location where it can be safely dissipated.
  • Prevent Contamination - The lubricant should act as a dynamic seal in locations such as the pistons, piston rings and cylinder contact areas. This minimizes contamination by combustion byproducts in the lubricating system. Lubricants are also relied upon to support mechanical seals found elsewhere, and to minimize external contamination and fluid loss.
  • Dampen Shock - The lubricant may be required to cushion the blows of mechanical shock. A lubricant film can absorb and dissipate energy spikes over a broader contact area.
  • Transfer Energy - A lubricant may be required to act as an energy transfer medium as in the case of hydraulic equipment or lifters in automotive engine.
  • Prevent Corrosion - A lubricant must also have the ability to prevent or minimize internal corrosion. This can be accomplished either by chemically neutralizing the corrosive products or by setting up a barrier between the components and the corrosive material.

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