It is generally the case that the life of even the best lubricants from the likes of Fuchs and Mobil is halved every time it experiences a 10°C increase in operating temperature. This is a concept based on the Arrhenius equation, so–called because of the 19th century scientist of the same name, who worked out the relationship between temperature and the rates of chemical reactions.
The equation states that lubricants will degrade twice as quickly for every 10°C increase in temperature, after they have been heated above their activation temperature, and this is not the only problem that comes with an increase in heat.
Problems associated with heat increases
Increasing the heat of lubricants can:
• Volatize additives allowing them to escape
• Accelerate decomposition
• Shear down viscosity-index improvers faster
• Allow microbial contaminants to thrive
• Shorten filter life
• Cause grease to separate more rapidly
• Preventing degradation
If you do nothing and allow the oil you are using to degrade, then it is inevitable that the molecules will breakdown and this could cause serious problems to your machinery, which means that it is important to keep your lubricants in as good a condition as possible.
Although all lubricants will degrade eventually, if you can keep your oil cool, dry and clean, you can prolong its life exponentially, which means you will need to take measures to ensure that your machinery operates at as low a temperature as possible.
Another thing that you can do is add more lubricant to your machinery because a higher sump will provide more additives into the mix, thus helping the oil degrade at a slower pace.
Choose the right lubricant
You should also take the time to find out which lubricants are most suitable for your machinery because using the correct oils in the correct machines is one of the best ways to ensure that it does not degrade quite so quickly.
Choose a good brand
Choosing a lubricant with a good reputation from a good brand like Shell or Fuchs will also help you extend its life because they make formulations that are made to last.
Don’t work your machinery too hard
If machinery is used too often and worked too hard, it will naturally begin to overheat, exposing your lubricant to higher temperatures, which can lead to a build-up of sludge and a general degradation in quality.