A lubricant is a substance used between two moving surfaces to minimize wear, distribute heat, remove contaminants, reduce friction, and improve the overall efficiency. A deep understanding of the consequences of not using appropriate lubricants makes it easy to understand why lubricants and lubrication systems are imperative. We can categorize lubricants as solid, liquid, and gaseous. Additives are used to further improve the overall characteristics of the lubricant. There are over 10,000 different lubricants used for various applications.

Liquid lubricants

Liquid lubricants can be characterized by the type of base oil. Mineral oils, vegetable oils, water, and synthetic oils are some of the prominent base oil types. Viscous fluids use rotary mechanical systems such as gears or bearings to distribute the fluid through various mechanical components. The viscosity of a fluid can be defined as its resistance to flow. Different lubricants exhibit different viscosities.

The major functions of liquid lubricants are to control surface damage, wear, and friction. Corrosion prevention and removal of debris, dirt, and heat are secondary functions of liquid lubricants. The use of liquid lubricants is pervasive in most applications ranging from industrial oils to automotive fluids, and process oils.

Gaseous lubricants

As compared to liquid lubricants, gaseous lubricants have a lower viscosity. Gaseous lubricants have a higher compressibility and lower heat capacity than solid or liquid lubricants. Technical gases, air, steam, and liquid-metal vapors are some of the examples of gaseous lubricants. The function of these lubricant products is to support a frictionless movement.

Solid lubricants

Dry or solid lubricants are semi-solids or powders in the form of a solid-liquid suspension or a grease. Graphite, tungsten disulfide, and titanium dioxide are some of the commonly used powder lubricants. Solid lubricants provide lubrication at temperatures higher than oil-based lubricants. PTFE and Teflon are solid lubricants often utilized as a coating layer to provide a non-stick surface. So far as applications are concerned, solid lubricants are often used in processes such as extrusion and forging.


As mentioned earlier, additives are used to enhance the properties of lubricants. Additives are used based on their ability to resist deterioration, increase viscosity, and reduce friction and wear.

Industrial lubricants come in many formulations and varieties. Choosing the most appropriate lubricant can be a technical task. However, it is critical to choose the right lubricant for your application. Consult your lubrication supplier to figure out the best product for your applications.

About us

Micro Lube provides a broad range of lubrication and oil filtration systems to many industries in Edmonton and across Canada. As a full-service maintenance and conveyor lubrication company, we are committed to providing professional and personalized services to our clients. Reach us today to learn more about our products and services!