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Is Lithium Grease The Best Multipurpose Grease?

As most dynamic machines use bearings for lubrication, it is difficult to imagine a machine that could function without grease. The discovery of the wheel was the catalyst for the use of grease to lubricate the wheels and axles.

Crude forms of lime combined with vegetable oils were the first universal greases. These greases were used in almost every type of application that required lubrication up to the industrial revolution.

In the last 20 years, however, machine design has made remarkable advances. This has had an impact on operating parameters, and therefore the requirements for Lubricating Greases. It is virtually impossible to use a single grease for all applications because operating parameters such as speed, load, temperature, and so on can vary greatly depending upon the equipment.

There are now thousands of greases available on the market, thanks to the development of many lubricating oils. It is no longer possible to find a universal grease that can be used for all applications. The vast number of greases available can also be confusing from a selection or suitability perspective.

Grease Composition

A thickener (10 to 15%), base oil (80-90 percent), and performance additives (5 to 10% make up lubricating greases. Globally, the market for lubricating oils is approximately 2.38 billion pounds. It includes lithium/lithium, sodium, calcium/aluminum, magnesium complex, clay-based, and polyurea.

The most widely used greases in the world are lithium-based greases, which have a market share greater than 75 percent. There may be a variety of greases required for a specific plant. However, there has always been an effort to reduce the number of greases both from a logistics and purchasing perspective. Multi-purpose greases have likely been developed.

Multi-Purpose Grease

A multi-purpose grease is a grease that combines the properties of several specialized greases and can be used in multiple applications. Lithium grease can be used in both the chassis and wheel bearings of transport vehicles. For wheel bearings, calcium greases were traditionally used.

High water resistance, but low heat resistance have been given to calcium-based greases. However, they are less resistant to high temperatures than sodium-based greases. They quickly became the most widely used multi-purpose grease in industry, surpassing calcium and sodium greases when they first appeared on the market.

High-Performance Multipurpose Greases

Modern machinery design and construction places machines under harsher conditions, with the expectation that they will work more efficiently and have less downtime. These conditions have made it more difficult for lithium greases not to meet these requirements. The National Lubricating Grease Institute GC-LB specification is the most closely followed in transport. It also requires greases other than lithium 12-hydroxy greases.

These strict requirements can be met with more efficient high-performance greases such as lithium-complex and calcium-sulfonate greases, aluminum-complex greases, polyurea, clay-based greases, and polyurea greases. These high-performance multi-purpose greases are compatible with the most commonly used by lithium grease supplier.

Comparison Of Calcium Sulfonate And Lithium Complex

The stability and high-temperature properties of lithium-complex greases are excellent. You can also improve performance by using suitable additives, such as anti-wear, corrosion, and extreme pressure. These greases meet the NLGI’s GC/LB specifications.

However, careful comparisons between calcium-sulfonate and lithium-complex greases reveal that calcium-sulfonate oils have an advantage. Both on the datasheet and in real-world applications, calcium-sulfonate oils outperform lithium-complex oil greases. Calcium-sulfonate greases are not required to have additives to meet performance requirements, as lithium-complex greases.

Calcium-sulfonate greases have superior mechanical and shear stability than lithium-complex greases. This means that there is less leakage and runout during operation. These greases can also be used at higher temperatures due to their lower melting point and longer high-temperature lives.

Calcium-sulfonate thickeners are more resistant to extreme pressure and wear than lithium-complex greases. Sulfonates can be naturally rust inhibitors. However, lithium-complex greases will always require rust-inhibiting ingredients.

Calcium sulfonate is also excellent at resisting water and doesn’t break down in the presence of water. Tackifiers are required for lithium-complex greases to improve their water-resistance properties. They are more susceptible to being depleted quickly when there is water. Also compatible with lithium-complex greases and calcium-sulfonate oils are calcium-sulfonate greases.

Calcium-sulfonate greases have a few limitations. They are difficult to pump and expensive. Recent technological advancements have made these greases comparable to lithium-complex greases. Calcium-sulfonate grease can be used in more industries than lithium-complex greases. This makes it the best choice for multi-purpose, high-performance grease.