Glossary of Lubrication Terms

This glossary is designed to help the understanding of some of the terms used in Tribology and Lubrication Engineering. Quickly look up a definition or explanation for a topic.
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Demulsifier – An additive that promotes oil/water separation in lubricants that are exposed to water or steam.

Density – Mass per unit volume of a material. 

Detergent – An important component of engine oils and some industrial lubricants such as paper machine oils and hydraulic fluids; helps control deposits by preventing contaminants of combustion from directly contacting metal surfaces and, in some cases, by neutralizing acids. A detergent is usually a metallic (commonly barium, calcium or magnesium) compound such as a sulfonate, phosphonate, thiophosphonate, phenate, or salicylate. Because of its metallic composition, a detergent leaves a slight ash when the oil is burned. A detergent is normally used in conjunction with a dispersant.

– Removal of paraffin wax from lubricating oils to improve low temperature properties, especially to lower the cloud point and pour point. 

– An additive that helps prevent deposits by holding the insoluable products of oil oxidation and fuel combustion in suspension in the oil.

Dropping Point
– The temperature at which grease passes from a semi-solid to a liquid state, as specified under ASTM D556.