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LUBRICATION


and are often exposed to extremes of temperature, the lubricant must be a fluid oil as free as possible from tendency to gum or thicken by oxidation or to corrode metal, and m-ust often have a low freezing-point. It must also possess a maximum of “ oiliness." The lubricants mostly used for such purposes are obtained from porpoise or dolphin jaw oils, bean oil, hazel nut oil, neatsfoot oil, sperm oil or olive oil. These oils are exposed for some time to temperatures as low as the mechanism is required to work at, and the portion which remains fluid is separated and used. Free acid should be entirely eliminated by chemical refining. A little good mineral oil may with advantage be mixed with the fatty oil.

For all ordinary machinery, ranging from the light ring spindles of textile mills to the heavy shafts of large engines, mineral oils are almost universally employed, either alone or mixed with fatty oils, the general rule being to use pure mineral oils for bath, forced or circulating pump lubrication, and mixed oils for drop, siphon and other less perfect methods of lubrication. Pure mineral oils of relatively low viscosity are used for high speeds and low pressures, mixed oils of greater viscosity for low speeds and high pressures. In selecting oils for low speeds and great pressures, viscosity must be the first consideration, and next to that “ oiliness." If an oil of sufficiently high viscosity be used, a mineral oil may give a result as good or better than a pure fixed oil; a mixed oil may give a better result than either. If a mineral oil of sufficient viscosity be not available, then a fixed oil or fat may be expected to give the best result.

In special cases, such as in the lubrication of textile machines, where the oil is liable to be splashed upon the fabric, the primary consideration is to use an oil which can be washed out without leaving a stain. Pure fixed oils, or mixtures composed largely of fixed oils, are used for such purposes.

In other special cases, such as marine engines working in hot places, mixtures are used of mineral oil with rape or other vegetable oil artificially thickened by blowing air through the heated oil, and known as “ blown " oil or “ soluble castor oil.” ln the lubrication of the cylinders and valves of steam, gas and oil engines, the lubricant must possess as much viscosity as possible at the working temperature, must not evaporate appreciably and must not decompose and liberate fatty acids which would corrode the metal and choke the steam passages with metallic soaps; for gas and oil engines the lubricant must be as free as possible from tendency to decompose and deposit carbon when heated. For this reason steam cylinders and valves should be lubricated with pure mineral oils of the highest viscosity, mixed with no more fixed oil than is necessary to ensure efficient lubrication. Gas and oil engines also should be lubricated with pure mineral oils wherever possible. For further information on the theory and practice of lubrication and on the testing of lubricants, see Friction and Lost Work in Illachinery and, Mill Work, by R. H. Thurston (1903); and Lubrication and Lubricants, by, L. Archbutt and R. M. Deeley (1906). (R. M. D.)

LUBRICATION. Our knowledge of the action of oils and other viscous fluids in diminishing friction and wear between solid surfaces from being purely empirical has become a connected theory, based on the known properties of matter, subjected to the definition of mathematical analysis and verified by experiment. The theory was published in 1886 (Phil. Trans., 1886, 177, pp. 157-234), but it is the purpose of this article not so much to explain its application, as to give a brief account of the introduction of the misconceptions that so long prevailed, and of the manner in which their removal led to its general acceptance. Friction, or resistance to tangential shifting of matter over matter, whatever the mode and arrangement, differs greatly according to the materials, but, like all material resistance, is essentially limited. The range of the limits in available materials has a primary place in determining mechanical possibilities, and from the earliest times they have demanded the closest attention on the part of all who have to do with structures or with machines, the former being concerned to find those materials and their arrangements which possess the highest limits, and the latter the materials in which the limits are least. Long before the reformation of science in the 15th and 16th centuries both these limits had formed the subject of such empirical research as disclosed numerous definite although disconnected circumstances under which they could be secured; and these, however far from the highest and lowest, satished the exigencies of practical mechanics at the time, thus initiating the method of extending knowledge which was to be subsequently recognized as the only basis of physical philosophy. In this purely empirical research the conclusion arrived at represented the results for the actual circumstance from which they were drawn, and thus afforded no place for theoretical discrepancies. However, in the attempts at generalization which followed the reformation of science, opportunity was afforded for such discrepancies in the mere enunciation of the circumstances in which the so-called laws of friction of motion are supposed to apply. The circumstances in which the great amount of empirical research was conducted as to the resistance between the clean, plane, smooth surfaces of rigid bodies moving over each other under pressure, invariably include the presence of air at atmospheric pressure around, and to some extent between, the surfaces; but this fact had received no notice in the enunciation of these laws, and this constitutes a theoretical departure from the conditions under which the experience had been obtained. Also, the theoretical division of the law of frictional resistance into two laws-one dealing with the limit of rest, and the other asserting that the friction of motion, which is invariably less in similar circumstances than that of rest, is independent of the velocity of sliding-involves the theoretical assumption that there is no asymptotic law of diminution of the resistance, since, starting from rest, the rate of sliding increases. The theoretical substitution of ideal rigid bodies with geometrically regular surfaces, sliding in contact under pressure at the common regular surface, for the aérated surfaces in the actual circumstances, and the theoretical substitution of the absolute independence of the resistance of the rate of sliding for the limited independence in the actual circumstances, prove the general acceptance of the conceptions-(1) that matter can slide over matter under pressure at a geometrically regular surface; (2) that, however much the resistance to sliding under any particular pressure (the co-efficient of friction) may depend on the physical properties of the materials, the sliding under pressure takes place at the geometrically regular surface of contact of the rigid bodies; and (3) as the consequence of (1) and (2), that whatever the effect of a lubricant, such as oil, might have, it could be a physical surface effect. Thus not only did these general theoretical conceptions, resulting from the theoretical laws of friction, fail to indicate that the lubricant may diminish the resistance by the mere mechanical separation of the surfaces, but they precluded the idea that such might be the case. The result was that all subsequent attempts to reduce the empirical facts, where a lubricant was used, to such general laws as might reveal the separate functions of the complex circumstances on which lubrication depends, completely failed. Thus until 1883 the science of lubrication had not advanced beyond the, empirical stage.

This period of stagnation was terminated by an accidental phenomenon observed by Beauchamp Tower, while engaged on his research on the friction of the journals of railway carriages. His observation led him to a line of experiments which proved that in these experiments the general function of the lubricant was the mechanical separation of the metal surfaces by a layer of fluid of finite thickness, thus upsetting the preconceived ideas as expressed in the laws of the friction of motion. On the publication of Tower's reports (Proc. I nst. M .E., November 1883), it was recognized by several physicists (B.A. Report, 1884, pp. 14, 625) that the evidence they contained afforded a basis for further study of the actions involved, indicating as it did the circumstances-namely", the properties of viscosity and cohesion possessed by fluids-account of which had not been taken in previous conclusions. It also became apparent that continuous or steady lubrication, such as that of Tower's experiments, is only secured when the solid surfaces separated by the lubricant are so shaped that the thickness at the ingoing side is greater than that at the outgoing side.

When the general equations of viscous fluids had been shown as the result of the labours of C. L. M. H. Navierf A. L. Cauchyf S. D. Poisson,3 A. ]. C. Barre de St Venantf and in 1845 of Sir G. Gabriel Stokes,5 to involve no other assumption than that the stresses, other than the pressure equal in all directions 7

1 Mém. fle l'Acacl. (1826), 6, p. 389.

2 Mem. des saw. étrang. l. 4o.

3 Mérn. de l;Acad. (1831), Io, p. 345. 4 B.A. Report (1846) Cambridge Phil. Trans. (1845 and 1857).