To gain insight into the physical aspects of grease lubrication, nine greases with different oil viscosity and thickener combinations were tested in a tapered rolling element bearing under a light thrust load at speeds of 1800 and 3600 RPM. Bearings were run for thirty days or until a 150°C rib temperature was reached. Using SEM analysis, thickener samples were taken after testing from the rib/roller and raceway contacts for comparison with the thickener in new grease. A post test infrared technique was also used to evaluate grease thickness at the rib/roller contact and was compared with calculated film thickness. Bearing operating temperatures were then compared with grease base oil viscosity and thickener type.

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