Aviation Oil vs Grease: What’s the Difference?

Airplane wing

Do you know the difference between aviation oil and grease? Airplanes, as well as helicopters and other types of aircraft, produce friction. If left unchecked, friction can lead to premature wear and tear that jeopardizes the airplane’s integrity. Fortunately, aviation oil and grease are available to protect against friction-related damage.

What Is Aviation Oil?

Aviation oil is a type of low-viscosity fluid that’s used to lubricate the parts of an airplane. It’s commonly used around engine bearings. Engines are designed with passages for oil. A pump will force oil through these passages while coating the engine’s bearings with this low-viscosity fluid. Even as the engine’s parts move, the oil will provide lubrication so that it doesn’t succumb to friction-related damage.

Viscosity is a measurement of flow resistance. High-viscosity fluids are thick and, thus, resist flowing. Low-viscosity fluids, on the other hand, are thinner and, thus, flow easily. Aviation oil falls under the latter category. It’s a low-viscosity fluid that flows easily.

What Is Aviation Grease?

Aviation grease is a type of high-viscosity lubricant that’s designed for use with airplane parts. It allows the parts with which it’s used to move more smoothly and with less friction.

There are different types of aviation grease. Most types, however, consist primarily of aviation oil with one or more thickening agents. Aviation grease typically contains a base synthetic oil with additives to make it thicker and less viscous.

Aviation grease is commonly used on the following parts:

  • Bearings
  • Hinges
  • Control cables
  • Other high-load parts

Differences Between Oil and Grease

While they are both used to lubricate the parts of an airplane, aviation oil and aviation grease aren’t the same. They are two different types of products, each of which has its own advantages.

Thanks to its low viscosity, aviation oil is easier to drain than aviation grease. Most engines are designed with an oil drain plug. Removing this plug will release the oil so that it can be replaced with fresh, new oil.

Aviation grease is more versatile than aviation oil. It doesn’t just protect against friction-related damage; aviation grease can protect against rust and corrosion, and it can even seal parts.

The main difference between aviation oil and grease is the consistency. As previously mentioned, aviation oil is thin, whereas aviation grease is thick. There are other nuances between them, but you can easily distinguish between aviation oil and grease by comparing their consistency.

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