Service life of glycerol lubricated bearings

Previous research has shown that a glycerol-based lubricant can improve the friction and wear properties of selflubricating bushings typically used in Kaplan hubs. However, the service life of this type of lubricant is not known. This study will estimate the service life of glycerol and compare with conventional lubricants used in hydropower today.

To avoid oil contamination of water streams in the case of an oil leak, water is sometimes used as lubricant instead of oil. In boundary lubricated bearings, e.g. Kaplan hub blade bearings, water is used together with some type of self-lubricating material. The boundary lubrication property of water is very poor and can also interfere with the lubricating properties of the self-lubricating materials. It can therefore be a challenge to achieve satisfied friction and wear properties when water is used in combination with self-lubricating materials.

The objectives of the study is to investigate how accelerated ageing of the lubricant affects:

  • Friction and wear properties.
  • The corrosive properties of the glycerol lubricant.
  • Physical properties like viscosity.


Om projektet


Kim Berglund, Luleå tekniska universitet 


Roland Larsson, Luleå tekniska universitet 
Maria Rodiouchkina, Luleå tekniska universitet 


K. Berglund. Livslängdsaspekter på glycerolbaserat smörjmedel för vattenkraften, Energiforsk 


januari 2019 - december 2019