A series of laboratory tests was conducted using rolling contact bearings to compare the lubricating properties of a specially formulated synthetic lubricant based on diester to those of a specific mineral oil currently in service in petrochemical plant equipment. Two synthetic lubricants and two mineral oils of varying viscosities were experimentally compared. The test results indicated that the synthetic lubricant, having a viscosity of 32 m2 / s (32 cSt) at a temperature of 313K, offered longterm contact surface protection equivalent to that of the base line mineral oil which has a viscosity of 68 m2 / s, without reducing bearing service life below the theoretically predicted levels. The same good wear protection could not be achieved with a reduced viscosity mineral oil. The use of the lower viscosity synthetic lubricating fluid could provide projected energy savings of $75,000 per year when elements of a total petrochemical complex are considered.

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