What Lubricant Should You Use For Brass and Bronze Bushings?

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What Lubricant Should You Use For Brass and Bronze Bushings?

Brass and bronze bushings are incredibly common in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications. From heavy machinery to small electric motors, as well as food processing and automotive, you can find bronze bushings almost anywhere.
This is mostly due to their high strength and corrosion-resistant properties. These bushings also boast a long life, but they do require proper lubrication to last as long as they are designed to.
Below we’ll look at the most common lubricants to use on bronze and brass bushings so that they can be maintained for maximum life expectancy.

Brass vs Bronze Bushings

Both materials can be used effectively to create a long-lasting bushing when used for the right application. Bronze is generally considered to be stronger and harder, which is better for higher-load applications. Brass can more easily deform in these situations.
Brass on the other hand is better for lighter loads or stress and can be used effectively in these smaller applications. For example, watchmaking and watch repair often use brass bushings.

The Different Types Of Bronze And Brass Bushings

Bushings of this type will generally fall into three main categories, and these will cover a majority of applications.

Flange Bushing

These are bushings with a flange on one side that can be pressed against a surface creating a self-centering fit. These flanges can also be larger and have enough space for fasteners to be used to hold them in place.
Depending on the application, some bronze flange bushings can be double-sided instead of only having the flange on one side.

Sleeve Bushing

These are cylindrical bushings meant to guide a rotating shaft or maintain its position during operation. These can be bronze or brass and have no flange.

Thrust Bearings Or Washers

These bearings move along with the rotating parts and are highly reliable and easy to replace. These types of bronze thrust bearings are common in automotive applications.

Which Lubricant To Use Bronze And Brass Bushings

Now that we understand the various types of bronze and brass bushings, we can look at how to lubricate them properly.

Some bronze bushings are self-lubricating and are usually referred to as Oilite bushings. These bronze bushings are made from powdered materials in a process known as sintering. Oil is then added during the process so that it is absorbed into the bronze after forming.

So while these common bushings are self-lubricating, the lubricant does dissipate over time and re-lubrication may be needed.

Smaller bronze bushings may be lubricated with light machine oil that can flow into the space between the bushing and the shaft. However, many larger bushing applications require grease to be used and this is the most common way of lubricating them.

Most greases will work but you will want to keep an eye on various additives that could be corrosive to various alloys such as bronze. For Oilite bronze you will want to avoid greases with higher molybdenum percentages if re-lubrication becomes necessary.

If the bushings are specified as lifetime bushings, such as in certain electric motors, then they will require no grease and such lubrication may actually shorten the lifespan of the bushing.

Atlas Bronze is a leading distributor and supplier of Bronze, Copper, Brass and Iron products. They supply brass bronze from their warehouse located in Trenton, New Jersey and a few other depots throughout the country.

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