Effect of rheological behaviour of lithium greases on the friction process

M.A. Delgado (Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Universidad de Huelva, Huelva, Spain)
J.M. Franco (Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Universidad de Huelva, Huelva, Spain)
E. Kuhn (Laboratory of Machine Elements and Tribology (MuT), University of Applied Sciences of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)

Industrial Lubrication and Tribology

ISSN: 0036-8792

Publication date: 8 February 2008



The aim of this work is to investigate the relationship among rheology, tribology and traditional standardized technological parameters of lithium lubricating greases.


Lubricating greases having the same composition but differing in processing protocols have been manufactured and characterized in order to isolate the rheological behaviour from the formulation.


Some successful empirical correlations between rheological (viscous and viscoelastic) and technological standardized parameters, with the friction factor obtained from a ball‐disc tribometer, have been established in order to elucidate the role of the rheological behaviour of lubricating greases on the friction process. In addition to this, an energetic evaluation of the structural degradation of greases during the friction process has been carried out by performing stress‐growth experiments. Thus, the storage energy density, which is related to the grease capacity to accumulate energy in the elastic deformation, and the limiting energy density, which represents the dissipation of energy in the flow process, have been satisfactorily correlated with the friction factor.

Research limitations/implications

The complex rheological behaviour of lubricating greases, the extreme deformations and the high‐shear stresses resulting in a tribological contact imply that it is difficult to develop a model to describe their behaviour in an elastohydrodynamic lubricating contact.


This paper provides a resource of practical data to be applied in tribological systems.



Delgado, M., Franco, J. and Kuhn, E. (2008), "Effect of rheological behaviour of lithium greases on the friction process", Industrial Lubrication and Tribology, Vol. 60 No. 1, pp. 37-45. https://doi.org/10.1108/00368790810839927

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