Different Types of Lubricants

This article discusses Solid, Oils, Grease, and Water-based lubricants. This information will help you purchase lubricants for your next project. Read on for details and cover each of them in detail.

Solid lubricants

Solid lubricants form an adherent film on rubbing surfaces. These lubricants are applied mechanically, electrochemically, or both. A specific friction coefficient characterizes the adhesion between the solid and the rubbing surface.

Polymers are the most common type of solid lubricants. They are generally used in light loads and have low thermal conductivity. These lubricants are non-toxic, chemically inert, and suitable for the food and pharmaceutical industries. Some common solid lubricants are graphite and molybdenum disulfide. These lubricants are often insoluble in water but have the same mechanical properties. This is a common type of lubricant readily available at lubricant supplier VA.

The application of solid lubricants is growing due to the rapid development of human civilization. Increasing the efficient use of fossil fuels, developing new alternative energies, and reducing conventional energy consumption are essential strategies to meet our growing energy needs. But unfortunately, we still waste approximately one-third of the energy we use simply due to friction. Fortunately, solid lubricants are a potentially viable solution to this problem.


Grease and oils are designed to lubricate equipment and prevent metal-to-metal contact damage. Grease is oil mixed with a thickener. The thickener plays a significant role in the grease’s capacity, compatibility, and consistency. Therefore, the higher the NLGI grade, the thicker grease.

Motor oils are the most common type of lubricant, containing heavy petroleum hydrocarbon bases and additives. They coat moving parts to reduce friction and provide lubrication. While petroleum-based oils are cheap, synthetic ones are more expensive but offer better performance. The primary difference between these two types of lubricants is viscosity, measured in degrees per second of kinematic viscosity.


Grease has many uses. In industrial settings, it can be used to lubricate components. Its lubricating abilities depend on its composition, so choosing the correct one is crucial. Firstly, grease can be used on both food processing and packaging machinery. Grease should be food-grade to avoid any possible danger to the food. Grease’s color does not affect its lubricating ability. However, manufacturers may use color-coding to indicate the level of lubrication.

The essential components of grease are oil, a fluid lubricant, and a thickener (typically soap). The grease’s rheological properties depend on the rate and duration of shearing. Grease is a plastic fluid, and as it’s deformed, it takes on the properties of a liquid under critical loads. For this reason, it’s a common choice for machinery applications.

Water-based lubricants

While oil-based and silicone lubricants can stain sheets, water-based lubricants leave minimal residue and are non-allergenic. Water-based lubricants are excellent for sensitive skin because of their safety with latex condoms and silicone devices. They can be used for masturbation, sex toy play, and penetrative sex.

Water-based lubricants contain natural thickeners that are soluble in water. Therefore, they are best used in environments where water is present. In addition, water-based lubricants are non-flammable, reducing the risk of a complication.

Osmolality is another factor that affects the lubricant’s ability to work with the body. Fluids with a higher osmolality than clear ones have more solutes in them. The higher the osmolality, the greater the likelihood of friction and irritation. This friction, in turn, increases the risk of infection. Further, high-osmolality lubricants can lead to inflammation, itching, and burning.