What Are The Different Types Of Lubricants And What Are Their Applications?

Although the primary function of lubricants is to lessen the friction between two surfaces, all lubricants are different. Due to its simple nature, lubricating tasks are often assigned to new employees or apprentices. It may look easy, but the technicalities about the nature and functioning of the lubricant being used should match the nature of your needs. Therefore, it is beneficial to have a thorough knowledge of different types of industrial lubricants. This ensures that any incorrect type of lubricant is not used for the incorrect application, reducing machine downtime and failures. You will also be able to select trusted industrial lubricants suppliers to get the best quality products. Let’s begin with the basics. There are four major types of industrial lubricants;
  • Oil
  • Grease
  • Penetrating lubricants
  • Dry lubricants
The two most common types of lubricants you will encounter in your daily life are oil and grease, but there are ample chances that your facility will be using dry and facility lubricants in one way or another. So, it is critical to know when and when not to use these lubricants. The following blog post explains different types of lubricants and their applications.


Greases are created by combining oil (generally mineral oil) and combiners (such as lithium-based soaps). Greases like molybdenum disulfide, graphite, and others may need some exclusive thickeners as well. Grease has the ability to mix with the lubricants in the oil, adding thickness and enabling the lubricant to collect particles from the surface. It can also act as a barrier between the surface and the contaminants that can damage them.

When Should You Use Grease?

The best places and instances to use grease as a lubricant are;
  • For chains, gears, bearings, and linkages.
  • When you want to keep the dust and water droplets out.
  • You want the lubricant to stick to the surface for an extended time.
  • When there are chances that you may forget to oil a machine because you use it so infrequently.
Learn More: Tips For Trouble-Free Grease Lubrication

Situations Not Suitable For Grease Use

  • When your machine has fast-moving and fine parts, grease can slow their movement and impact the machine’s efficiency.
  • Moving parts can make the grease fling making it difficult to keep the working area clean and hazard-free.
  • In the instance where thick grease can act as too much of a barrier for a fast-moving machine.


Oils are thin liquids made up of long chains of polymers and some additional additives. The most common additives are antioxidants which prevent the oil from getting oxidized, and corroded, which prevent oils from having deposits. Oils are difficult to squeeze between the long chains, although you can lower the friction between them by using oils as barriers.

When Should You Use Oil?

  • Hinges, tool maintenance bearings, and blade sharpening.
  • You want to lubricate the surface without dealing with resistance which is common in the case of grease.
  • You want to lubricate but don’t want to disassemble everything, so you put oil in the small spaces.

Penetrating Lubricants

Penetrating lubricants work as a shield for several stuck-bolt combatants. However, penetrating lubricants are not meant for long-term lubrication. Due to their low viscosity, these lubricants are good enough to penetrate the small cracks on the surface, increase lubrication, and remove the rust by splitting it.

When To Use A Penetrating Lubricant

  • To unseize stuck bolts or nuts. This will set them free even if they have years of rust or debris stuck on them.
  • To perform warehouse repair tasks, remove adhesive stickers, and remove the stubborn chewing gum from the surface.

Dry Lubricant

Dry lubricants contain special types of materials such as silicon, molybdenum, PTFE, and graphite. They have a very slippery molecular nature that helps them reduce the friction between the surfaces. They are also present in the form of sprays where these materials are mixed with water, alcohol, and other volatile liquids that evaporate after application.

When To Use Dry Lubricant

  • Where you don’t want to use a lubricant that attracts dust.
  • Locks, threaded logs, and hinges.
  • On surfaces that can experience extremely high temperatures.

About Micro-lube

Micro Lube is a full-service conveyor lubrication company based in Edmonton. We aim to use our international experience to provide professional, affordable, and personalized service to our diverse customer base. Our expertise in chain and conveyor lubrication has earned us great customer confidence in both our products and services. To know about the types of industrial lubricants and their quality, contact us now. Related blog:  Know about the Basics of Automatic Lubrication System    
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