Benefits of damping grease demonstrated using nuts and bolts

In the video featured on this page we are going to try and explain the benefits of damping grease using these nuts and bolts. Some of the benefits experienced by using a damping grease are haptic and so it’s obviously very difficult to convey the advantages or demonstrate improvements on a video. However, we’ll try to give the viewer an insight by the use of four sets of nuts and bolts, which are all the same dimensions but here we have the first nut and bolt that has no grease applied. When the unlubricated nut and bolt us shaken you’ll hear an audible rattle, also you can hear the metal on metal surfaces scraping against each other. There is a tactile feel issue here, when I’m operating the nut and bolt, I can feel that the movement is not smooth, so if this was customer operated control, it would not give the operator a positive perceived value of the device….another way of describing this would be that the control would feel cheap and definitely not a premium device. Also, when I spin the nut and release, the nut doesn’t stop immediately after I let go, we call this free movement or sometimes it’s called coasting.

A reminder that this is a crude example and the viewer will have to think of these issues in the context of the device or component that they are working on.

Our first nut and bolt has a very light damping grease applied to the bolt thread. This very light damping grease from the Tribosyn 320 range is clear in colour, or you might say translucent, so it’s hard to see the grease on camera. This is the softest damping grease in the 320 range; you’ll see that even this very light damping grease has stopped any rattle, it’s also stopped any noise as it’s lubricating the metal on metal surface interaction and it’s also prevented the coasting after the bolt is spun and released. I can still feel a little metal on metal scraping when I’m twisting the bolts, so this very soft damping grease is not viscous enough to prevent the metal surfaces touching. Already we are seeing how effective a damping grease can be.

This next nut and bolt have the Tribosyn 320 Orange applied, which is a medium level damping grease. Please keep in mind that damping terminology is a subjective issue so this grease offers a medium level of damping but that’s really only in the context of this Tribosyn 320 series. As you would expect, still no rattling sound when the 320 Orange is present, there is also no coasting problem. There is more resistance offered by the grease when I twist the nut and bolt….so this gives a smoother feel to the twisting action, would be a better customer experience if this was a customer operated control. The resistance here feels something similar to when you would use a focus mechanism on something like a lab microscope, not too stiff but enough to convey a quality feel. Also, there is no metal on metal interaction when I twist, so this is also very important for giving the user the feeling of a high end or luxury feel. You can imagine this is the type of damping required when automotive interior trim parts move, such as sun glasses holders gliding when released or cup holders moving.

A moment to say here that we have 6 different levels of damping in the Tribosyn 320 Series but we are demonstrating 3 different levels of the range on this video, so the point here is that there are 6 different options for the engineer to choose from, to make sure that you get the kind of tactile feel that you are looking for.

It could be the case that you are looking for a damping grease to help resist gravity or maybe the task for the grease is a joystick returning to centre or returning to zero, so the time taken for a component to move is crucial and therefore a damping grease selection has to be fine tuned to suit your device….much depends on the type task for the grease.

Our last nut and bolt example, which is the most viscous or stiffest grease in the Tribosyn 320 Series, the Blue, which is a very heavy damping grease.  With this grease applied, there is no rattling, of course. Definitely no coasting also. Now the level of resistance when I twist the nut and bolt is significant higher, it feels like resistance offered by old fashion binoculars…..when they would pivot in the middle as you would adjust depending on how far apart your eyes were, or even when the focus mechanism was super stiff. Now the twisting action requires some force to move the bolt, but it does convey a luxury feel and gives a user a better perceived value of a device.

It’s always important not to go over the top and apply a grease that is too stiff, much depends on the design and dynamics of the component you are considering for use with a damping grease. Also, how much grease you apply can sometimes be a separate complication. We do offer small jars and even a trial pack of the 320 series, so the user has a decent sample of each grease in the range to evaluate the various viscosities. The tricky thing with damping grease is that when trying to determine which grease is best for a new design or prototype, there is nothing better than trial and error, which can involve trying one grease, cleaning off and they trying something lighter or heavier, depending on how the initial test works out.

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