by David Mitchell
“What is the best type of oil to use in my vacuum pump?” is a common question for sure, and one that may often yield confusing and conflicting answers. The rule of thumb is that it is always best to follow OEM recommendations, but why do they recommend the lubricants that they do? For the purpose of this article, we will focus on some of the general industrial vacuum pump applications and their lubricant choices.
Cooling, controlling contamination, reducing friction, and creating fluid seals are just a few of the many important responsibilities the lubricant serves. The chosen lubricant must fill all of these roles effectively and efficiently to promote healthy and long equipment life. Vacuum pump applications are somewhat unique due to the relationship between the oil’s volatility and vapor pressure. An oil that is more volatile is more likely to turn from a liquid to a vapor as temperatures increase. Because vacuum pumps operate with such tight tolerances in regard to pressure, any differentiating factor can be detrimental to the intended operation of the pump. Choosing a lubricant with a low vapor pressure will ensure the system operates efficiently.