The lubricating film formation of greases has been widely studied using single contact ball-on-disc configurations. However, other than for oil, the film formation with grease is governed by starvation, which in a full bearing is clearly different from that of the single contact. In this paper, film thickness measurements for various greases in a shielded deep groove ball bearing will be presented. The results were obtained using an in-house-made film thickness measurement rig based on the ‘electric capacitance method’. It will be shown that the film thickness may deviate from the theoretical elastohydrodynamic film thickness calculated from the base oil and that the film thickness is not constant in time. It will also be shown that the film thickness for longer times is not only determined by the classical properties such as oil viscosity and grease bleed but also by shear degradation of its microstructure.
- grease application
- ball bearings