Continuous further developments in application technology with the aim of higher economic efficiency and power density place ever greater demands on mechanical components and construction elements and thus also on the lubricating greases used. This is particularly true in the field of rolling bearings, where lubricating greases are sometimes used under high mechanical loads and in wide temperature ranges. A current example is the rolling bearings in the aggregates of hybrid vehicles, which are subjected to extreme thermal and mechanical stress due to engine downsizing, high speeds and the radiant heat of the combustion engine.
In the predecessor project DGMK 788 it could be shown that the service life of rolling bearings under critical environmental conditions (e.g. high temperatures) is limited by the grease service life and not by the fatigue strength of the bearings. The bearings thus fail well before the expected service life due to lubrication failure, which is often associated with high consequential costs and downtimes.
In order to determine the suitability of a lubricant and to estimate the grease operating life in the respective application, various laboratory ageing processes and endurance runs in rolling bearing test rigs are used in development. These tests are very time-consuming and cost-intensive, so the industry is constantly looking for new, innovative and meaningful screening tools.