Lubricating Oils: 7 Terms You Should Know
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Lubricating Oils: 7 Terms You Should Know

12/17/2018

mil spec oil

When it comes to metalworking fluids, there are certain terms that can help you in choosing the right one. Whether you're considering specialty lubricants or mil spec oil for your aviation products, every type is categorized and evaluated by certain characteristics. Know these key characteristics and terms, and you will be able to pick the right lubricating oils for your needs.



  • Additives are new technology that can improve the overall performance of an oil. This technology can include high load, anticorrosion, and anti-scuffing characteristics. For parts with older technology, they can drastically improve performance.

  • Viscosity is the measure of oil's resistance to flow or shear. Viscosity tends to vary with temperature and pressure, as an increased temperature causes decreased viscosity and higher pressure leads to increased viscosity. In a recent survey, 89% of lubrication professionals take an oil's viscosity index into account when selecting a specialty lubricant or mil spec oil.

  • Flash point is the lowest temperature to which you can heat a lubricant before it becomes vapor. This point is important to know in order to determine temperature requirements for transportation and storage, so that the oil could be exposed to air and a source of ignition and not continue to burn.

  • Pour point is the lowest temperature that will allow an oil to flow. When selecting an oil, customers typically look for one with a pour point that is well below the anticipated ambient temperatures.

  • Ashless dispersant are additives with a design to minimize deposit formation. The role of the dispersants is to help prevent contaminants from forming sludge that has the potential to block oil passageways. With the help of ashless dispersants, the oil can suspend combustion by-products and keep them dispersed until the oil is completely drained.

  • Synthetics are polyalphaolefins that are made through chemical synthesis. This differs from the more traditional refinement of petroleum oils. The characteristics of synthetic lubricants and oils vary, but typically include better oxidation stability or resistance, lower pour point, higher viscosity, and a longer life.

  • Multigrade oil is primarily designed for all-season operation and convenience. Multigrade oils are typically more suitable for use over a wider range of temperatures than single-grade oils. They also lower oil consumption and provide better fuel economy.

Choosing a lubricating oil for your needs can be an easy process when you know what to look for. Arm yourself with a clear knowledge of these terms, and you'll pick the product that's right for you.

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