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Why Use Calcium Sulfonate Greases? - Doug's Tip of the Month

Calcium Sulphonate Complex (CaS) greases do not function like other greases. In most greases, the thickener releases the base oil to provide elastohydrodynamic lubrication in a bearing load zone. A Calcium Sulphonate (CaS) thickener is more like a gel. The base oil and gelled CaS thickener form a permanent emulsion.

A well formulated CaS grease maintains the emulsified state, and the entire combination of thickener and base oil pass through the bearing load zone. If the emulsion should break and the base oil bleed from the thickener, the CaS thickener left behind would still lubricate.

The use of higher base oil viscosities to enhance wear protection is applicable to other thickeners, not CaS. Increasing base oil viscosity can actually reduce the natural wear protection from a CaS thickener and may create the necessity to add molybdenum di-sulfide (Moly) additives to compensate for the reduction in wear protection. Base oil viscosity does have an impact on the NLGI grade of grease and will affect temperature range.

CaS thickeners are surface active (have a polarity) and provide primary corrosion protection, water washout resistance, and oxidation stability. Water Washout resistance is achieved from the CaS thickener’s ability to hold water in a tight emulsion and thus keep the water away from metal components. In turn, this will help to prevent corrosion due to the presence of water in the grease. CaS greases are often used in long term or for life service applications due to its inherent oxidation stability.

Where the base oils in other grease thickeners do the work, in a Calcium Sulphonate (CaS), it is the thickener that does the work.




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5 Steps to Choosing the Right Grease

1- Make sure the number matches! Do you need a #1, #2, etc? The numbers indicate the texture of the grease. #2 is the most common grease. As you go up from #2 the texture gets more solid and paste-like, as you go down, the texture of the grease gets wetter and more slippery. (How the NLGI classifies this stuff gets a little confusing -  the wikipedia article here gives a pretty solid quick overview)

2- Make sure you are matching the base stock for the grease! If you need say a lithium based grease, its very important you get a lithium grease and not say a calcium or aluminum based product.

Warehouse racks stocked with various engine lubricants

3- Make sure your grease meets the NLGI (National Lubricating Grease Insititute) parameters such as GC-LB-GA-LA-GB. (The website for NLGI goes into more detail, if you need more information, you can visit: )

4- In most cases, the color of the grease doesnt actually mean much (red vs blue). Where color DOES matter is when you see a "gray grease". This means the grease has a moly (short for molbdenum) additive in it. Most major off road equipment like excavators, skid steers, cranes recommend a moly grease. Major OEMs like Caterpillar, John Deere, Case, and Komastu also recommend moly grease ONLY in their equipment.

5- If all else fails - Ask somebody! Contact myself of one of our other fully trained lube experts at Dennis K Burke, we would be happy to answer any questions you may have about what product you need for your specific job.

*You can also get more in depth spec and MSDS info on our website by going here -Fleetline Lubricants - Specs/MSDS *

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