Gear and Gearbox Lubrication

Wednesday - 03/01/2018 09:26

Gear and Gearbox Lubrication

Engineering articles tend to highlight the mechanics of a gearing unit, its aptitude for efficiently meshing radial gearing components and drive shafts, but little has been mentioned about gear and gearbox lubrication, for this can never be a dry operating environment.

The oily stuff provides a liquid base that targets slippage, of course, but the slippery substance also aids mechanical optimisation by eliminating other adverse factors.

A Tale of Lubricating Fundamentals

Lubricants enable mechanical parts to slip past each other without generating friction, for two bodies always generate such losses unless a third element intervenes. The parts run quieter and cooler when this third oily ingredient is added to the mix.

Losses are eliminated, of course, but a modern lubricant does more than offset contact losses. The lubricating agent is also imbued with a powerful heat transferral property. If you know how large electrical transformers work, you'll understand this latter function. Specially designed lubricants absorb heat.

They then use convectional currents to carry away the thermal build-up, before dissipating the heat on special surface housing features, parts that employ passive or active air cooling.

Fast Forward to Synthetic Oils

Petroleum-based liquids offer rudimentary gear and gearbox lubrication, at best, but a synthetic product trumps these conventional oils by delivering customised features. The synthetic oil promptly dismisses heat, obviously, but it also offsets the stresses set in place by industrial-scale power transmission, including the loading factors that attenuate power train performance.


Bathed in a precisely formulated lubing agent, a high-end gearing unit gains years, in terms of its lifespan. The lubricant uses a cocktail of chemicals that targets pressure, temperature, and other stress elements. Additionally, the molecular structure of the liquid is built from tough bonds, a recipe that won't emulsify.

Beyond The Slippery Barrier Lays Multipurpose Balance

A gearing unit incorporates fluid balance into its multipurpose formulation. Yes, it's designed to cancel friction, but it also dissipates this heat when friction is generated by a massive load. Next, vibrations are caused by finely engineered components, but the oil mix attenuates this loss as efficiently as any other.

Viscosity is the final component on our balance sheet, for the lubricant is thin enough to guarantee it flows into every bearing and drive shaft, but it's also formulated so that strong molecular bonds maintain this viscosity coefficient despite any turbulence caused by rotating gear teeth.

Gear and gearbox lubrication science is a multi-faceted domain, one that primarily targets friction, but a number of other crucially important loss areas orbit thermal by-products.

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