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How Does Temperature Affect Lubricants' Quality?

Logan Smith
Logan Smith
08:22, Среда, 27 Июля, 2022 года
How Does Temperature Affect Lubricants' Quality?

Lubricants reduce friction between the two surfaces. They are used for the reduction of wear and tear and to avoid heat transfer due to abrasion. Most of the lubricants used have an organic base. Lubricants with organic bases are petroleum or mineral oil. The lubricants are necessary to keep your industry working.

Even if a small amount of oil is required by a truck, tractor or any of the machines, providing it with high-quality lubricant is important. If high-quality lubricants are not provided, they can have many side effects on your vehicles or equipment. Various factors affect the quality of lubricants. One of the most important factors is temperature. In this article, we will discuss the effect of cold and hot temperatures on lubricants' quality.


Effect Of Temperature On Lubricants


Like other things in daily life, the quality of lubricants depends on the temperature. It is important to keep the temperature of the lubricant controlled and moderate because having too much or very less temperature can have negative effects. If you have controlled and moderate temperature of lubricants, only then you can improve the performance and lifeline of your lubricants. It seems very easy to say to have a moderate temperature, but doing it practically is something different.


How Does Cold Affect Lubricants?


When the temperature of the lubricants becomes very cold, they may get damaged. The lubricants may get degraded, they may separate in phases and exhibit changed physical states.

Some examples of the effects of cold can have on lubricants are listed below

  • The blended base oils may start separating into phases

  • Some initially soluble additives may become insoluble. These insoluble additives may start settling down and form deposits.

  • Additives that depend on heat chemical processes may cease to perform, resulting in a disturbance of performance of lubrication.

  • Oil becomes viscous that provides lots of resistance to the flow of oil, resulting in disturbing the performance of lubricants.

  • Engines may not perform well due to improper circulation of lubricants and other parts may also get damaged.

  • Slingers, paddle gears, and oil rings can seize to work, imposing a threat to other parts.


What Is Cold Temperature For Lubricants?


Lubricants can work in temperatures from 0 degrees Celsius to minus 10 degrees. But, if the temperature drops down to minus 20 degrees Celsius, the lubricants may lose their performance because they may reach their pour point.

The pour point is determined by the base oil quantity as well as the additives of oil. It is recommended to use a lubricant whose pour point is at least 10 degrees lower than your requirement. It makes it suitable for use even if the temperature falls below your standard startup temperature.


How Does Heat Affect Lubricants?


As temperature drop affects the lubricants, the rise can also have negative effects. Once the lubricants cross their base activation temperature, they oxidize at a much higher rate. The rate of oxidation doubles with every 10 degrees Celsius rise in temperature.

Some common problems high temperatures can have are:

  • Increase base and additive oil decomposition rate

  • Some additives can easily volatilize and escape into the atmosphere

  • Heat damages oil films, increasing scuffing conditions and abrasion

  • An increase in temperature shortens the life seals, and filters, and promotes corrosion

  • Oil grease separates at a rapid pace with an increase in temperature


How Is High Temperature Attained In Lubricants?


It does not mean that if the outside temperature is hot only, then the lubricants may get heated. The lubricants can be heated even if the outside temperature is not hot due to the heat produced by machinery.
     The machinery continuously produces heat and may increase the temperature of lubricants. Whenever lubricant gets in contact with the machine’s metal surface, it gets heated.

When lubricants get heated, additive depletion and oxidation begin. High temperature affects the viscosity of the lubricants. They can cause irreversible changes to the viscosity of lubricants. At high temperatures, the molecules become very active as gas is released while lighter liquid particles start to evaporate. This damages the components of the lubricant and can damage the whole operation of the system.

So, it is important to use lubricants that can withstand the fluctuations of the temperature of lubricants.




The quality of lubricants depends on various factors. An important one of them is temperature. Very high and low temperatures can affect the performance of lubricants. So, you should be aware of the effects of temperature variations on lubricants and take measures to avoid them.

Choosing lubricants that can withstand temperature fluctuations can be one of them. Very low temperatures can affect the circulation of lubricants in the system. However, high temperatures can cause grease faster. High and low temperatures can also affect the viscosity of the lubricant. You should use lubricants with suitable pour points, viscosity index, and base oil for your machinery.

Источник: Mico-Lubes
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