How to choose the right bearing lubricating oil?

How to choose the right bearing lubricating oil?

Apr 20, 2022


For lubrication, bearings usually employ highly refined mineral oils, which have superior oxidation stability, rust-preventive effect, and high film strength. With bearing diversification, however, various synthetic oils have been put into use. These synthetic oils contain various additives (oxidation inhibitors, rust preventives, antifoaming agents, etc.) to improve specific properties. Table 12-6 shows the characteristics of lubricating oils.

Mineral lubricating oils are classified by applications in JIS and MIL.

Table 12-6 Characteristics of lubricating oils

Type of lubricating oilHighly refined mineral oilMajor synthetic oils
Diester oilSilicon oilPolyglycolic oilPolyphenyl ether oilFluorinated oil
Operating temperature range(℃)-40 to +220-55 to +150-70 to +350-30 to +1500 to +330-20 to +300
Oxidation stabilityGoodGoodFairFairExcellentExcellent
Radioactivity resistanceBadBadBad to fairBadExcellent-

[ Selection of lubricating oil ]

The most important criterion in selecting a lubricating oil is whether the oil provides proper viscosity at the bearing operating temperature. Standard values of proper kinematic viscosity can be obtained through selection by bearing type according to Table 12-7 first, then through selection by bearing operating conditions according to Table 12-8.

When lubricating oil viscosity is too low, the oil film will be insufficient. On the other hand, when the viscosity is too high, heat will be generated due to viscous resistance. In general, the heavier the load and the higher the operating temperature, the higher the lubricating oil viscosity should be ; whereas, the higher the rotation speed, the lower the viscosity should be. Fig. 12-3 illustrates the relationship between lubricating oil viscosity and temperature.

Table 12-7 Proper kinematic viscosity by bearing type

Bearing typeProper kinematic viscosity at operating temperature
Ball bearing Cylindrical roller bearing13mm2/s or higher
Tapered roller bearing Spherical roller bearing20mm2/s or higher
Spherical thrust roller bearing32mm2/s or higher

Table 12-8 Proper kinematic viscosities by bearing operating conditions

Operating temperaturedmnvalueProper kinematic viscosity (expressed in the ISO viscosity grade or the SAE No.)
Light/normal loadHeavy/impact load
-30 to 0℃All rotation speedsISO VG 15、22、46(Refrigerating machine oil)-
0 to 60℃300000 or lowerISO VG 46(Bearing oil Turbine oil)ISO VG 68(Bearing oil Turbine oil)
SAE 30
300000 to 600000ISO VG 32(Bearing oil Turbine oil)ISO VG 68(Bearing oil Turbine oil)
600000 or higherISO VG 7、10、22(Bearing oil)-
60 to 100℃300000 or lowerISO VG 68(Bearing oil)ISO VG 68、100(Bearing oil)
SAE 30
300000 to 600000ISO VG 32、46(Bearing oil Turbine oil)ISO VG 68(Bearing oil Turbine oil)
600000 or higherISO VG 22、32、46(Bearing oil Turbine oil Machine oil)-
100 to 150℃300000 or lowerISO VG 68、100(Bearing oil)ISO VG 100 to 460(Bearing oil Gear oil)
SAE 30、40
300000 to 600000ISO VG 68(Bearing oil Turbine oi)ISO VG 68、100(Bearing oil)
SAE 30SAE 30、40


1. a_129_001{D:nominal outside diameter(mm)、d:nominal bore diameter(mm)、n:rotational speed(min-1)}

2. Refer to refrigerating machine oil (JIS K 2211), turbine oil (JIS K 2213), gear oil (JIS K 2219), machine oil (JIS K 2238) and bearing oil (JIS K 2239).

3. Please contact with FV if the bearing operating temperature is under −30℃ or over 150℃ .


Fig. 12-3 Relationship between lubricating oil viscosity and temperature (viscosity index :100)

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