What is a dry film lubricant?
A dry lubricant, also known as a solid film lubricant, uses a dry substance or coating to reduce friction between two surfaces. Using this type of lubrication can help minimize wear and tear while also increasing efficiency in a mechanical system.
Dry lubrication is especially useful in harsh environments where traditional lubricants may not be suitable. Learning when and where to utilize this kind of lubrication can greatly optimize your performance while minimizing costly downtime of your operation.
How does dry lubrication reduce friction?
Most solid film lubricants have a unique molecular structure that forms stacks of thin layers, also referred to as a lamellar structure. These thin layers are connected to each other by weak bonds that are easily broken.
This allows layers to slide along one another with very low resistance, or low friction. When the dry lube is applied on contact surfaces, the material’s layers provide low friction sliding, effectively lubricating the surfaces.
When to use a dry lubricant:
Dry lubrication is often utilized where wet lubricants can’t be used. Such as:
However, not only can a dry lubricant replace a wet lubricant, but it can also be used as a “back up” or an extra layer along with a wet lubricant. Pairing the two can help squeeze every bit of performance out of an application when trying to reduce friction.
Where are dry film lubricants used?
Dry lubrication can be applied to many components that range in many shapes and sizes. Most common parts include but are not limited to:
What friction related problems are dry lubricants used to solve?
Dry lubrication can be used to help solve frictional problems such as:
- Sliding Wear
- Galling & seizing components
- High operating temperatures due to excess friction
- Inefficient mold release and mold flow
- Component failure that leads to downtime and costly repairs
What are the most commonly used dry lubricants?
Some examples of dry lubricants are:
|Lubricant||Application Method||Coating Thickness||Temperature Stability (in air)||Key Benefits|
|PTFE, Teflon||aerosol, |
|10-100 Microns||-240°C to 260°C||chemical resistant |
|2-30 Microns||-15°C to 1500°C||strong heat/energy conductor |
fast drying and curing
impingement with curing
|2-15 Microns||up to 350°C||unreactive |
fit for vacuum
impingement without curing
|0.5 Microns||-188°C to 538°C|
cryogenic to 540°C
|ultra thin coating |
fit for vacuum
fit for extreme temps
(Hexagonal Boron Nitride)
|150 Microns||up to 1000°C||high temp stability |
low coefficient of friction
Important considerations when choosing a dry lubrication:
When determining which dry film lubricant is most suitable for your application, it is important to consider the environment that it will be used in.
Understanding the full environment in which the coating will be incorporated will help determine which product is most optimal for the application. Cost is an additional factor to consider as some coatings will be more expensive than others.
Determining the right dry lubricant can help eliminate some of the complications of working with other lubricants. Countless engineers utilize solid lubricants to squeeze every bit of performance out of their application. Consider incorporating this type of coating into your design to help protect and improve your mechanical systems.
How can we help you make your decision?
While Dicronite® may not be suitable for every application, our experts are happy to speak with you further about what you are trying to accomplish when incorporating a solid film lubricant into your design.
Speak to an expert today. We can help conduct a trial coating or point you in the right direction.
High precision dry lubrication for 65+ years.
Dicronite® is a dry film lubrication made up of tungsten disulfide.
It can be applied to all metals, most plastics and some ceramics; may be applied on other coatings and platings as well.
COATING THICKNESS – 0.5 micron (0.00002 inch) or less
THERMAL STABILITY – up to 538°C in air; 1316°C in vacuum
COMPATIBILITY – compatible with greases, oils, fuels, fluids, and many solvents.
Wanting to improve mechanical performance with dry lubrication?
Our experts are here to help.