Both oils and greases are extensively used as lubricants for all types of machine elements over wide range of speeds, pressures, and operating temperatures. Frequently, the choice is determined by considerations other than lubrication requirements.

The requirements of the lubricant for successful operation of nonconformal contacts such as in rolling-element bearings and gears are considerably more stringent than those for conformal bearings and therefore will be the primary concern in this section.

Because of its fluidity oil has several advantages over grease: It can enter the loaded conjunction most readily to flush away contaminants, such as water and dirt, and, particularly, to transfer heat from heavily loaded machine elements.

Grease, however, is extensively used because it permits simplified designs of housings and enclosures, which require less maintenance, and because it is more effective in sealing against dirt and contaminants.

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