Impact of Water on EHL Film Thickness of Lubricating Greases in Rolling Point Contacts

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
120 Downloads (Pure)


This paper investigates the influence of water on the EHL film thickness of six commercial lubricating greases under fully flooded and starved conditions. Although grease can absorb large quantities of water, separation occurs due to pressure and shear, leading to free water. This does not have an impact on the film thickness under fully flooded conditions. However, water does have an effect on the film thickness under starved conditions where the differences are related to the change in oil bleed. In the presence of water, an increase in oil bleed was found for lithium, lithium complex and polyurea grease. These greases showed a reduction in the levels of starvation and, therefore, thicker films. Water contamination led to lower oil bleed for calcium sulfonate complex greases, which led to an increase in starvation, and therefore, thinner films compared to their uncontaminated counterparts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number23
JournalTribology letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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