Lithium grease is the most popular multi-purpose grease today, being used in 75% of applications globally. Lithium grease is white, with a smooth, buttery appearance. The automotive, construction and mining industries all use it as a multi-purpose grease. We look at the characteristics that make it so popular across diverse industries before exploring a few of its typical uses.
What Is Lithium Grease
Any category of grease consists of oil and thickener, with additives to improve specific properties. Lithium is used as a thickener for the oil, providing structure and holding it in place. The lithium soap used to manufacture the grease also adds extra benefits. Lithium grease can also be applied as a white lithium grease spray. The aerosol application gives you the advantages of being able to administer it like thinner oil-based products. The product still dries, providing the surface with an impenetrable barrier to dust and water on metal to metal applications, retaining the grease’s non-drip properties.
We look at a few lithium grease properties to find out what makes it the most popular general-purpose grease over a wide range of applications.
Lithium grease has excellent adhesion, cutting down on re-application frequency and making it a superb choice for vertical applications.
Lithium grease is a stable compound that doesn’t break down or react with the surfaces it comes into contact with. The stability of lithium grease makes it non-corrosive.
Tolerant of High Pressures
Lithium grease has excellent tolerance for high pressures. It doesn’t break down and retains its properties even under heavy loads. The load-bearing tolerance makes it ideal for heavy-duty applications.
The lithium hydroxide used in lithium grease manufacturing has a very low water solubility, making it more water-resistant than sodium-based greases. The water resistance makes it ideal for application to vehicle chassis and marine use.
Lithium grease has a drip temperature of 200°C, although the maximum recommended temperature for use as a lubricant is 120°C. You can use lithium grease at temperatures ranging between -25°C and 120°C. (Some lithium greases claim 150°C).
Uses of Lithium Grease
A few uses of lithium grease include:
- Automotive: The automotive industry uses lithium grease for lubricating hinges, aerials, windshield wiper mechanisms, chassis, bearings and gears.
- Industrial and mining: The industrial uses of lithium grease include lubrication for wire ropes, conveyors, cogs, and pulleys.
- Home: You can use lithium grease for home applications like lubricating sliding doors, hinges, corrosion protection on trailers, and the sliding parts of any tool.
- Marine: The maritime industry uses lithium grease for corrosion protection on exposed surfaces and lubrication for gears, pulleys and cables exposed to sea air.
The properties of high-performance multi-purpose lithium grease allow for diverse applications and widespread use. Adding extra thickening agents or stabilisers to complex lithium greases will enable manufacturers to improve the drop point or water resistance for more specialised applications. Still, the characteristics of standard lithium soap-based greases make them desirable despite the increased cost.
Bisley International is a leading supplier of Lithium Grease & Lubricant Additives.