Lubricating grease is commonly used for lubricating ‘sealed and greased for life’ bearings. This grease lubricates the rolling contacts. It also provides an additional sealing function to protect the bearing against ingress of contamination. The sealing function of lubricating grease in the vicinity of the seal lip contact has been studied experimentally. The effects of the lubricant rheology on the migration of ingress particles has been examined. In grease, experimental results reveal that contaminant particles consistently migrate towards the sealing contact where the shear rate reaches its highest value. In contrast, for a Newtonian base oil and a non shear thinning elastic fluid, it has been observed that the migration effect takes place in the opposite direction, and brings particles away from the sealing contact. It is concluded that the sealing function of grease in the vicinity of the sealing contact is due to the fluid rheology and more specifically to the shear thinning behaviour of the lubricant.

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