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NYE's Rheolube(TM) 374A: Coming to a Jet Near You?

FAIRHAVEN, Mass. -- Two and a half years of successful testing in the landing gears of the massive C-5 Galaxy transport airplane at the Wright Patterson Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) suggested that Nye Lubricants, Inc.'s Rheolube(TM) 374A (MIL-PRF 32014) just may be the next "near universal" military grease. Now the Navy appears to be heading in the same direction, and commercial airframe OEMs are also expressing interest.

The Naval Aviation Depot in San Diego, Calif., compared two greases MIL-PRF 32014, using Nye's Rheolube 374A, and MIL-PRF-81322, using Mobilgrease 28, a clay thickened polyalphaolefin grease from ExxonMobil Corporation. NAVAIR conducted Salt Water Immersion Tests and Wash Rack Tests on bearing cones and wheel assemblies. The tests were designed to determine which grease offered better protection against corrosion.

Bearing cones from the E-2C Hawkeye were coated with the test greases and suspended in a tank filled with seawater for 300 hours. Test parts were then removed from the tank, cleaned and inspected for corrosion. George Franco, General Engineer (Landing Gear Team), reported the bearing cone lubricated with Rheolube 374A "looked like a brand new part and was still serviceable. This grease should save the US Navy a great deal of money" by preventing corrosion and related mechanical failures, Franco said. The cone lubricated with MIL-PRF-81322, however, showed significant corrosion and pitting and was deemed unserviceable, according to Franco.

High pressure wash tests, considered more rigorous than typical aircraft cleanings, were designed to force water past the grease seals to conduct comparative corrosion tests. Rheolube 374A showed superior corrosion protection despite a degree of washout from the 100 psi of water pressure. Conversely, the wheel lubricated with the 81322 grease "partially seized on the axle," Franco reported.

Air Force Lab tests drew similar conclusions. After 2,725 flight hours and 1,217 total landings in the C-5 field tests at Dover AFB and Ogden Air Logistics Center, completed in March 2005, confirmed that Rheolube 374A provided superior anti-wear and anti-rust performance. Using Rheolube 374A as a "near-universal" grease, the Air Force expects a significant cost savings due to reductions in part replacements, system failures, and routine maintenance.

Extensive lab tests had been performed at the Wright Patterson AFRL on Rheolube 374A prior to its extended in-flight test in the C-5 landing gear. The C-5 deployment proved lab tests were repeatable in the field, and familiarized aircraft personnel with the new grease. Rheolube 374A replaces a significantly more expensive grease that failed to provide the same level of wear and corrosion protection.

Commercial airframe companies, including Airbus, Boeing and Goodrich, have taken note of the C-5 test results, and have expressed interest in knowing more about Rheolube 374A.

Rheolube 374A is a lithium soap thickened, medium viscosity synthetic hydrocarbon grease, formulated with anti-rust and corrosion additives. It is designed for applications with a recommended temperature service range of -54 degree C to 175 degree. For more information about Rheolube 374A, view the data sheets available at smartgrease.com, e-mail Nye's technical services at techhelp@nyelubricants.com, or call Nye at 508-996-6721.

ABOUT NYE: Nye Lubricants is an engineering company that seeks long-term partnerships with innovative companies that use high-quality synthetic lubricants and optical gels to increase the value of their products. Nye's synthetic lubricants and optical gels are specified in a full range of industries, including automotive, aerospace, appliance, aviation, electronics, medical instrumentation, office automation, paperboard manufacturing, photonics, recreational equipment, semiconductor manufacturing, telecommunications, and textiles. Founded in 1844, Nye maintains regional engineering offices throughout the United States as well as a network of distributors in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Aug 22, 2005
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