Well-Oiled Machines

Featured Product from ASTM International


As the lifeblood of most machinery, lubricants — and the standards that guide and measure their effectiveness — support the world’s mechanized demands.

It’s safe to say that the world’s engines, turbines, and many other types of machinery run on lubrication first. Without lubricants, machines could not operate — friction and heat buildup among moving parts would, at best, cause them to seize and stop or, worse, break apart.

The nonstop need to protect machinery from friction and heat has created a global market for lubrication products of about $116 billion (2015). It has also created worldwide teams of researchers and practitioners who work to improve lubricants that boost machinery reliability and efficiency, and reduce operational costs.
ASTM International has long been at the forefront of creating standards for lubricant manufacturers, testers, and end users. Since 1904, the committee on petroleum products, liquid fuels, and lubricants (D02) has developed 220 lubricant-specific standards and test methods.

Though the committee defines a lubricant as “any material interposed between two surfaces that reduces friction or wear between them,” traditional oils and greases get the most attention. But as with the D02 standards for fuels, standards for lubricants play an important behind-the-scenes role. Whatever recognition there is for the countless hours of research and testing undertaken to ensure that lubricant products perform flawlessly, it generally occurs long before the products enter service.

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