The viscosity of a lubricant is selected based on the thickness of the film. In a bearing, this film acts as a barrier between the rolling and stationary parts. When you mix lubricants of the same type but with different viscosities, the viscosity of the lubricant will definitely change.
When viscosity decreases, it could lead to an increase in machine wear due to metal-to-metal contact. When viscosity increases, it could lead to high energy use and heat output.
Meanwhile, in the case of lubricants that have different applications or purpose, their additive content may vary which could cause unwanted reactions when mixed together. Gear oils, for example, are designed with distinctive features to accommodate the heavy load of a given machine. For this reason, they oftentimes contain EP additives. Certain EP additives react on softer metals and when accidentally applied due to mixing, it could lead to premature wear. To avoid accidental mixing, you can improve your lubricant storage and handling program by following this guide.
Dangers of Mixing (Problems, Issues, etc.)
The majority of performance lubricants are made up of a combination of basic stocks and additives. Viscosity, oxidation stability, biodegradability, and water miscibility of base stocks are some of the factors to consider. Additives provide oil its unique performance characteristics. When lubricants with different additives are mixed together, unwanted reactions may occur which could lead to deposit formation as a result of additive incompatibility. Seals may also get destroyed if incompatible lubricants are used. The best thing to do is to make sure that the same lubricant is used in every system. For a consultation, contact our industry experts and engineers here.
Avoiding Lubricant Mixtures
Lubricant mixing can occur at any point along the supply chain. Make sure to check the compatibility of the new lubricant with your old one before switching lubricant providers and conduct proper system flushing. Sound procedures such as properly marking containers and watching the unloading of bulk oil can help prevent accidental oil mixing.
When there is difficulty with oil mixing, various measures should be followed. Make sure the tank is empty before adding additional products if you're using bulk oil. Your tank may need to be flushed if the products are incompatible. If oil mixing is observed, isolate the system.
Take note of the following when handling contaminated oil:
- Each of your lubricants should be properly labeled. Include the manufacturer's name as well as the brand name.
- Each component's volume is in combination.
- Lubrication application.
Even if you don't have access to a professional lubricant laboratory, you may do basic tests to prove an oil mixing issue. Heat an oil combination or two oils to see whether they're compatible, then inspect for clarity. The oils are incompatible if the combination is hazy or if solid particles develop in the oil.
Quick Connects keep your lubricant storage and distribution operations pure. The anodized aluminum fittings are color-coded to prevent cross-contamination. They're simple to use, almost hard to mix up or cross-connect, and they work with a variety of lubrication management systems and equipment.
By preventing spills and wastes across your operation, these zero-leak, accurate, and tight hose terminals will boost safety and efficiency. Quick Connects are available in all 10 OilSafe colors, making it simple to detect the fluid contents of your equipment.
This is a practical alternative to the cumbersome 5-gallon pails. Oil Safe barrels may be pre-filled for storage and transit and can be situated for simple and timely access to fluids where and when needed, thanks to the Oil Safe Storage Lid. A secure 100% sealing fit on a 1.5, 2, 3, 5, or 10 liter/US quart drum is ensured by the advanced thread design.