Published: Jan 1977
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The major function of lubricating oils is the reduction of friction and wear by the separation of surfaces, metallic or plastic, which are moving with respect to each other. The oils also act as carriers for many special chemicals such as corrosion inhibitors, antiwear agents, load-carrying friction modifiers, and foam suppressors. Performance requirements can also include cooling and the dispersion and neutralization of combustion products from fuels. The high quality and improved properties of present-day lubricants have enabled engineers to design machines with higher power-to-weight ratios which generally have higher stresses, loads, and operating temperatures than before. Thus, it has been possible to develop automobile engines, turbines, gear sets, etc. capable of higher speeds and higher specific power output per pound of machinery. In a very different field, lubricants with increased resistance to the effects of radiation have been developed for nuclear power stations.