Deutsch: Schmierstoff / Español: Lubricante / Português: Lubrificante / Français: Lubrifiant / Italiano: Lubrificante

Lubricant in the industrial and industry context refers to substances used to reduce friction between surfaces in mutual contact, which ultimately reduces the heat generated when the surfaces move. Lubricants are critical in various industrial applications to ensure machinery operates efficiently and to prevent wear and tear that could lead to premature failure.


Lubricants can be based on petroleum, synthetic compounds, or even biological materials, depending on the specific requirements of the application, such as temperature range, environmental impact, and load-bearing capacity. They often contain additives to improve their effectiveness or to impart additional properties, such as corrosion inhibition or improved viscosity.


The primary functions of industrial lubricants include:

  • Reducing Friction: Lubricants allow for smoother operation of machinery by minimizing the direct contact between moving parts.
  • Heat Dissipation: They help to carry away heat from surfaces, protecting components from overheating.
  • Corrosion Prevention: Many lubricants contain inhibitors that protect metal surfaces from rust and corrosion.
  • Contaminant Transport: Lubricants can also transport away contaminants and debris from critical surfaces.

Application Areas

Lubricants are used in a vast range of industrial settings:

  • Manufacturing Machinery: Lubricants are used in machines for cutting, shaping, and assembling products to ensure they operate smoothly and efficiently.
  • Automotive Industry: Lubricants are essential in vehicles for the engine, transmission, and other moving parts to function effectively.
  • Energy Sector: Used in power generation equipment, including wind turbines and gas turbines.
  • Food Processing: Special food-grade lubricants are used in equipment to prevent food contamination.


Well-Known Examples

Examples of lubricants include:

  • Motor Oils: Used in car engines to lubricate the engine parts, reduce friction, remove wear particles, and clean the engine by suspending dirt particles.
  • Greases: Used in various applications where liquids cannot be contained, such as open gears or ball bearings.
  • Hydraulic Fluids: Employed in hydraulic systems to transfer power as well as lubricate the components.
  • Cutting Fluids: Applied in machining and metalworking processes to cool and lubricate the cutting tool and the workpiece, and to flush away metal particles.

Treatment and Risks

While lubricants are essential for the maintenance and efficiency of industrial machines, their management involves several considerations:

  • Environmental Impact: Disposal of used lubricants must be handled carefully to prevent environmental contamination. Some lubricants, especially petroleum-based ones, can be hazardous.
  • Health Risks: Exposure to certain lubricants can pose health risks, necessitating proper handling, usage, and personal protective equipment.
  • Maintenance Routine: Regular checks and replacement of lubricants are necessary to maintain machine efficiency and to prevent failures due to degraded lubricant properties.


Similar Terms

  • Coolants: Often used in conjunction with or separate from lubricants, especially in applications involving high temperatures, to keep machine parts cool and to prevent overheating.
  • Fluids: A broad term that can refer to lubricants, coolants, and other liquid agents used in industrial applications.



Lubricants are a fundamental component in the industrial sector, crucial for the maintenance of machinery, vehicles, and equipment. They play a vital role in reducing wear and tear, enhancing performance, and extending the lifespan of mechanical systems.


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