Effect of Thickener Particle Geometry and Concentration on the Grease EHL Film Thickness at Medium Speeds

F. Cyriac, P.M. Lugt, R. Bosman, C.J. Padberg, C.H. Venner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The aim of this paper was to understand the parameters influencing the grease film thickness in a rolling elastohydrodynamically lubricated contact under fully flooded conditions at medium speeds. Film thickness measurements were taken under pure rolling for six commercial greases and their bled oils. The grease film thickness was found to be higher than corresponding bled oil, suggesting the presence of thickener in the contact. No rheological properties (characterized by steady and dynamic shear) showed any direct relation to the film thickness of the studied greases. AFM measurements of the thickener microstructure, from which the dimensional properties of the thickener particles (fibers/platelets/spheres) were estimated, showed that the relative increase in the film thickness due to entrainment of the thickener was proportional to the ratio of thickener volume fraction to the size of the fibers/platelets/spheres. Hence, with the same concentration, smaller thickener particles lead to the generation of thicker films than larger thickener particles. Next, this relation was used to establish the percentage of the thickener particles passing through the contact. Depending on the grease type, between about 1 and 70 % of the thickener particles were found to travel through the contact.
Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalTribology letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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