Lubricating grease, a combination of oil and soap, is extremely viscous. Unlike oil, however, grease is a non-liquid lubricant. It is applied to machinery under heavy pressure, specifically in points of heightened friction. Lubricating grease is preferred to other petrol-based lubricants in cases where the dripping of oil is unwanted.
Lubricating grease is used in industries that must sustain extreme temperature and pressure to manufacture their products. Therefore, it must reduce friction between different moving parts, easing wear and prolonging the life of the greased machinery, as well as being able to stand up against the heat itself. Because grease is such thick and viscous oil it will stay in positions that liquid lubricating oil would not, which is why for hard to reach spots on machines, or pieces that are not lubricated often, grease is the best choice. Viscosity refers to the fluidity of a substance. High viscosity means movement is limited, if at all present in the substance, while low viscosity suggests a substance that is in a liquid form. When lubricating grease is applied to a surface, it stays there for a long, long time. Additional chemical additives can also be mixed into the grease formula for specific characteristics, such as adding anti-wear agents to keep the metal from abrasions and oxidation inhibitors to prolong the life of the grease. This is how most synthetic lubrications are developed, whether they be oil or grease.
Grease is often applied to machinery using a grease dispenser called a grease gun, an apparatus designed for spot lubrication. It can also be attached to a permanent system within an industrial context, in which the grease will be automatically applied to the machine when necessary. Such systems can be expensive, since they must be run by computer programs, but they are worth it when dealing with large and very expensive machinery. Lubrication is necessary in almost every industry, including food service, construction, textile, and automotive. The need for lubrication is not specific to manufacturing; many products that we use everyday require regular lubrication, including bikes, cars, and computer technology. Some grease lubricants are more environmentally friendly then others, and a consumer should therefore be aware that grease produced from sheep wool or vegetable oil, for instance, is biodegradable and therefore a healthier option for the planet.