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The five basic functions of lubricating oil

Some of the most recurrent doubts about predictive maintenance consist of abnormalities regarding lubricating oil and its different functions. Therefore, knowing the main properties of the lubricating oil can be of great importance for the success of your company and for the proper functioning of your equipment.

We will discuss in this post the basic functions of lubricating oil and the importance of investing in predictive maintenance tools in the organization’s business plan for the good conservation and productivity of its equipment.

Basic Functions of Lubricating Oil

  1. Reduction of friction

Friction is the resistance of a body or a substance that opposes a certain movement. This resistance is measured by a force called “friction force”, present in any type of surface in contact with another in movement. It can be classified in fluid friction, which occurs between fluid surfaces, or solid friction, between solid and fluid surfaces. In this case, the higher the viscosity of the fluid, the higher the friction.

By the action of friction, two solid surfaces in movement, against each other, will suffer wear. However, with the use of proper lubrication, it is sought to minimize such wear. This is the primary function of the lubricating oil, which forms a thin film between two moving surfaces, reducing friction and its consequences, which could lead to wear and tear of the components.

  1. Cooling

The lubricating oil also represents a means of heat transfer. In internal combustion engines, heat is transferred to the oil through contact with various components and then to the oil cooling system. In this way, the lubricant also plays an important role in the cooling of the equipment.

  1. Cleaning

In gas turbines, one of the functions of the lubricant is to remove the particles resulting from the friction process of the bearings and the labyrinth rings. Thus, these particles are kept in suspension in the oil, preventing them from depositing in the bottom of the oil tank and causing incrustations.

  1. Corrosion protection

Corrosion and wear can result in the removal of metals from the turbine; therefore, the importance of anti-wear and anti-wear additives in the lubricating oil.

  1. Sealing

At the same time as it lubricates and cools, the lubricating oil also acts as a sealing agent, preventing the lubricant from flowing out and the entry of external contaminants into the turbine compartments.

basic functions of the lubricating oil

Oil analysis and predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance is a methodology that allows us to determine the actual operating conditions of each machine. This tool periodically monitors the equipment through various tests, including oil analysis, which consists of a detailed and precise study of the lubricating oils used in the machines. As a predictive maintenance method, oil analysis can also point to anomalies such as fluid wear, presence of microparticles and other contaminants, before problems escalate.

Oil analysis represents one of the most important variables of predictive maintenance, allowing a more assertive schedule of inspections. The absence of such maintenance leaves the equipment in serious trouble on important components and even stops in operations.

Permanent and detailed studies of the lubricating oils used in the machines can point to several problems. It is possible to identify the wear levels of components, for example, by the presence of microparticles in the oil. Contamination by water or fuel can also be identified by oil analysis. Therefore, this monitoring is of great importance, allowing the orientation of punctual actions of anticipated maintenance and the prevention of future failures.


By learning a little more about the different properties and functions of lubricating oil, the importance of the application of predictive maintenance and its main methods and processes, such as oil analysis, for the good use and operation of its equipment becomes even more evident.

Companies only have to gain in benefits by betting on oil analysis. With its use, the life of the components is increased, spare parts expenditures, unnecessary oil changes and manpower in unscheduled maintenance are reduced.

In addition to predicting the useful life of the equipment and its components, the oil analysis process details the current conditions of each one so that this useful life has the maximum profitability and profitability for the business.

Refer to the ALS , his company specialized in oil analysis.

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