Lubricating grease and its dropping point
Grease plays a significant role in field of lubrication and the lubrication industry through provision of optimized protection, wear reduction, and performance of critical components in many applications.
A grease is a solid or semi-solid structure consisting of a thickening agent, base oil and a selection of additives that impart special properties. High standard grease manufacturing and associated testing also contribute to the overall success of this product line.
There are many tests used to assess grease performance and to provide quality assurance during batch-to-batch manufacturing. Dropping Point is one important test that is used very frequently. Dropping point of a grease is the temperature at which a drop of grease material falls from the orifice of the test thimble size cup under a prescribed ramped temperature program. ASTM D 2265 is a procedure that uses an aluminum block as a heat source for the test.
Dropping point assesses the thermal stability of a grease structure and is useful for identifying the type of grease ( for example lithium, lithium complex , aluminum complex), however, it is very important to keep in mind that the test does not have any bearing on service performance other than that a grease cannot be expected to resist leakage at temperatures approaching its dropping point. The dropping point is typically well above the maximum usable temperature of a grease.
In summary, dropping point is useful in identifying the thickener type of grease and plays a key role as a quality control test for manufacturing of grease. This historical test that formed part of grease specifications many years ago will continue to do so along with its presence in grease batch CoA’s to ensure optimized stable grease structure during batch-to-batch manufacturing thereby providing the required lubrication solution.
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