Ammonia Refrigeration Lubricants

Ammonia refrigeration lubricants are defined as lubrication solutions which are specifically designed for refrigeration compressors where the dedicated refrigerant in use is ammonia.

In the fields of lubrication technology and lubricants, refrigeration oils are a category of specific industry importance. The lengthy lifetime expectations of built-for-purpose equipment like refrigerant compressors are very closely related to the premium requirements of the lubricants used.

On top of the favourable miscibility properties with the corresponding refrigerant in use, high aging resistance, excellent cold flow properties and high thermal and chemical stability play a crucial role.

The interactivity with other substances, particularly the refrigerant used in the dedicated refrigeration cycle operating at often extreme temperature differences, puts clearly defined demands on the lubricant. The research and development departments of leading lubrication manufacturers are therefore continually involved in extensive testing of refrigeration oils with all the types of relevant refrigerants, to provide our customers with the optimum refrigeration oil for their specific application.

The global phase out of high-GWP (Global Warming Potential) refrigerants has brought additional problems to solve when selecting a lubricant. As a result, lubricant manufacturers working at the cutting-edge offer proven solutions for refrigerants like ammonia as well for HFCs (Hydrogenated Fluorinated Hydrocarbons) and HFO (Hydrogenated Fluorinated Olefins) type refrigerants.

An overview of ammonia refrigeration lubricants

Today, lubricant engineers are creating better performing lubricants designed specifically for ammonia systems. These highly specialised lubricants are engineered specifically to operate with maximum performance in ammonia refrigeration systems which use ammonia hydroxide (NH3) which is a solution of ammonia in water.

These ammonia refrigeration lubricants are created to provide several cost benefits for operations. These economic advantages are realised via extended drain intervals and fewer filter changes but also, less equipment downtime. These refrigeration lubricants also minimise how much NH3 dissolves, which can result in improved lubrication.

It is recognised that compared to traditional mineral oils which were once deployed to serve refrigeration systems, full-synthetic and semi-synthetic lubricants can provide enhanced performance in refrigeration systems which are ammonia-based.

Advantages of using synthetic and semi-synthetic ammonia refrigeration lubricants

Users of synthetic and semi-synthetic ammonia refrigeration lubricants will enjoy the benefits of cleaner operation overall. As these lubricants are oxidatively stable, users will find there is a reduced amount of varnish and sludge build-up in their system. This not only means less maintenance is necessary but can lead to prolonged system life. Performance is also improved as systems are not inhibited by unwanted debris, improving pumpability and efficiency.

These cutting-edge ammonia refrigeration lubricants also offer protection against corrosion, effectively defending system components from harm. The operational benefits of this feature are enhanced system reliability, ensuring consistent and constant workflow, as well as reduced downtime for repairing or replacing parts damaged by corrosive forces.

Synthetic ammonia refrigeration lubricants are designed with low volatility characteristics. As a result, users find their maintenance times decreased for more streamlined operations while making significant savings as lubricant consumption is drastically reduced. They also have low carryover properties which offers the advantage of improved evaporator efficiency and a low pour point which facilitates easy oil removal when required.

While full and semi synthetic refrigeration lubricants are more expensive than using conventional mineral-based solutions, they offer a solid return on their investment. They are formulated to have a far longer active service life than their mineral oil counterparts which results in extended drain intervals and greatly reduced oil changes. As a result, operators need to order less lubricant and spend less time on maintenance for more seamless functionality.

Sought-after characteristics of ammonia refrigeration lubricants

When selecting ammonia refrigeration lubricants, there are some common properties that operators will always require. High chemical and thermal stability are essential, along with effective miscibility with the ammonia refrigerant. Lubricants should have a low tendency to form unwanted deposits in the system and have excellent cold flow properties. High purity is also a sought-after quality in refrigeration lubricants for systems using an ammonia refrigerant, as is high resistance to ageing. Finally, like any form of lubricant in use today, ammonia refrigeration oil must always provide dependable protection against wear to keep systems running smoothly and at optimum levels reducing the need for mechanical repairs and downtime and extending the lifespan of parts and equipment.

It is understood that when selecting the correct ammonia refrigeration lubricant, the first place to start is to examine the recommendation of the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). However, other important considerations include the specific application which the refrigeration cycle is used for, as well as the onsite operating environment, conditions, and work rates. Along with checking OEM recommendations, operators of refrigeration lubrication and lubrication systems can also consult experienced lubricant distributors.

If you require high-quality and dependable ammonia refrigeration lubricants for your operation, reach out to us today at Oil Store to find out more.

Explore our range of ammonia refrigeration compressor lubricants