Failure of Thin Film Lubrication—An Expedient for the Characterization of Lubricants

[+] Author and Article Information
B. J. Tabor

Akzo, Corporate Research Department, P.O. Box 60, Arnhem, The Netherlands

J. of Lubrication Tech 103(4), 497-501 (Oct 01, 1981) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3251718 History: Received March 05, 1980; Online November 17, 2009


A method has been developed to characterize lubricants, starting from the failure of thin film lubrication in sliding concentrated steel contacts. For a number of lubricants, differing in viscosity and chemical composition, the collapse of the partial EHD film is taken as a criterion of the lubrication behavior. The contribution of viscosity and chemical composition of lubricants to the load carrying capacity of the partial EHD film at a speed of 1 m/s (P1 ) can be separated. This is achieved by plotting the value P1 as a function of the logarithm of the bulk viscosity (η). The following linear empirical relation P1 = β log η + α is found to be valid within the viscosity range of 2–200 • 10−3 Pa.s. Lubricants with the same chemical composition have an equal value of α.

Copyright © 1981 by ASME
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