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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Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) – A publication containing health and safety information on a product (including petroleum). The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard requires that an MSDS be provided by manufacturers to distributors or purchasers prior to, or at the time of product shipment. An MSDS must include the chemical and common names of all ingredients that have been determined to be health hazards if they constitute 1% or greater of the product’s composition (0.1% for carcinogens). An MSDS also includes precautionary guidelines and emergency procedures.

Metalworking Lubricant
– Any lubricant, usually petroleum-based, that facilitates the cutting or shaping of metal. Basic types of metalworking lubricants are cutting and tapping fluids, drawing compounds, etc.

Mineral Oil – Any petroleum oil, as contrasted to animal or vegetable oils or synthetic fluids. 

Mineral Seal Oil – A distillation fraction between kerosene and gas oil, widely used as a solvent oil in gas adsorption processes, as a lubricant for the rolling of metal foil, and as a base oil in many specialty formulations. Mineral seal oil takes its name (not from any sealing function) but from the fact that it originally replaced oil derived from seal blubber for use as an illuminant for signal lamps and lighthouses.

Miscible – Capable of being mixed in any concentration without separation of phases (e.g., water and ethyl alcohol are miscible).

Mold-Release Lubricant – A compound, often of petroleum origin, for coating the interiors of molds for glass and ceramic products. The mold lubricant facilitates removal of the molded object from the mold, protects the surface of the mold, and reduces or eliminates the need for cleaning it.  

Molybdenum Disulfide – A black, lustrous powder (MoS2) that serves as a dry-film lubricant in certain high-temperature and high-vacuum applications. It is also used in the form of pastes to prevent scoring when assembling press-fit parts, and as an additive to impart residual lubrication properties to oils and greases. Molybdenum disulfide is often called moly or molysulfide.

MRV Viscosity – The measure of viscosity at low temperature and shear rate using a mini rotary viscometer and designed to determine the ability of an engine oil to pump to critical locations immediately following a cold-start.

Mutagenicity – The tendency of a substance to cause genetic mutations under long-term exposure. Defined by modified Ames test or long-term dermal bioassay.