Impact of Water on the Rheology of Lubricating Greases

F. Cyriac, P.M. Lugt, R. Bosman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
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The operational life of bearings is often determined by the performance of the lubricating grease. The consistency of the grease prevents it from leaking out of the bearing and provides good sealing properties. The possible ingress of water into the bearing will have a considerable impact not only on this consistency but also on the lubricating ability of the grease. There are numerous applications where water ingress may occur, such as in the steel, food, pulp, and paper industries. Some greases are less sensitive to water than others. No specific guidelines are available to select the proper grease for bearings subjected to water ingress. The goal of the article is to contribute to the development of such guidelines for greases subjected to water ingress by studying the impact of water on grease rheology. Fully formulated, commercially available greases with the most common thickeners and base oils are used as model greases. It will be shown that water strongly influences rheological properties such as zero-shear viscosity, yield stress, and storage modulus. Calcium sulfonate greases were found to become stiffer after absorbing a considerable amount of water, leading to an increase in zero-shear viscosity and yield stress. However, lithium, lithium complex, and polyurea greases were found to soften, with appreciable changes in measured rheological properties
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-689
JournalTribology transactions
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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