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A GUIDELINE TO

BEARING SPEED FACTORS


Background
Speed Factors are an important element when Speed Factors are important in selecting a grease
selecting an appropriate grease for use in high for high speed bearing applications, and can also
speed bearing applications. The Speed Factor is be used to compare other high speed applications
generally denoted as the nD value in Europe and with regards to speed and in some cases their
the DN value in North America. These values are lubrication needs. The following table provides a
calculated empirically based on the peripheral guideline as to generally accepted Speed Factors
speed taking account of the rotational speed (DN values) for various base oil viscosities.
in revolutions per minute and the bore/outside
diameter of the bearing. BASE OIL
DN VISCOSITY
NORTH VALUE
EUROPEAN cSt AT 40C
AMERICAN
PRACTICE PRACTICE < 100,000 460
100,000 220
nD = (d1 + d2) n DN = D x N 300,000 150
2 Sometimes it is also denoted as
500,000 100
the dN or NDm factor.

n = Bearing speed, rpm D = Bore diameter, mm 600,000 68


(revolutions per minute) N = Bearing speed, rpm 800,000 32 TM

d1 = Bore diameter, mm (revolutions per minute) 1,000,000 10 or 15


d2 = Outside diameter, mm
Note that while the base oil viscosity is an
important factor in selecting a grease for a
The DN value is generally slightly lower. For particular application, other grease properties
example, the nD value for a bearing with a bore can be equally important.
diameter of 100 mm, an outside diameter of
It is clear that greases with lower base oil
130 mm and a speed of 1000 rpm is 115,000,
viscosities are more suitable for higher speed
while the DN value is 100,000.
applications, while those with higher base oil
viscosities are more suitable for lower speed
Determining the applications. Therefore, for a high nD or DN
value, select a grease with a low base oil
Grease Speed Factor viscosity, which may contain a friction reducing
There is no internationally accepted test for additive and a stiffer grade to reduce churning
determining the Speed Factor of a grease. and whipping in the bearing.
Rather, an estimate is usually made based on
experience and taking into account factors such
as:
Base oil viscosity
Service temperature
Grease consistency
Since the operation of a bearing is temperature At fairly high Speed Factors, grease lubrication becomes
dependant, to be more precise, one could use a marginal because of insufficient cooling, and therefore,
viscosity/temperature/DN Factor chart similar to the as the nD or DN values approach 1,000,000, oil
one below that would assist in determining the viscosity lubrication is recommended. Also, at high bearing
grade at a particular DN value. speeds with Speed Factors >250,000, the simple
relationship between speed and bearing life is no longer
BALL AND ROLLER BEARINGS - OIL LUBRICATED valid. In such cases, the centrifugal forces generated
Speed Factor (dN) - Viscosity Chart by the rolling elements may increase the load on the
1,000,000 outer ring to such an extent that bearing life is drastically
reduced.
cSt @40C
500,000
10
400,000
Examples of nD or Dn Values:
dN Factor (Shaft diameter in mm x rpm)

300,000
10

The examples below have been derived using a deep


20

200,000
groove ball bearing traditionally in a 6204 or 6205
40

bearing.
60

100,000
80

A #3 grade lithium grease with an ISO 46 base oil


0
12

viscosity was designated by NSK Bearings to have a


0

50,000
16

Speed Factor of 800,000.


0
20

A special #3 grade lithium complex grease based


40,000
on a diester fluid with base oil viscosity of 35 cSt
0
24

20,000 at 40C was designated by NSK Bearings to have a


0
29

Speed Factor of 1,000,000.


0
32

10,000
A #2 grade lithium grease with a base oil viscosity of
C 5 15 25 40 50 60 70 80 90 110 cSt at 40C has a Speed Factor of 300,000
Operating Temperature, C A #2 bentone grease with a base oil viscosity of 220
cSt at 40C has a Speed Factor of 200,000.

Health and Safety


To obtain Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), contact
one of Petro-Canadas TechData Info Lines.

TechData Info Lines


If you would like to know more about Petro-Canadas
bearing speed factors, or any other product in our Petro-Canada Europe Lubricants
complete line of quality lubricants, please contact us The Manor, Haseley Business Centre
at: Warwick, Warwickshire
CV35 7LS
Lubricants Head Office United Kingdom
Petro-Canada Phone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 2476-247294
2310 Lakeshore Road West Fax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +44 (0) 2476-247295
Mississauga, Ontario
Canada L5J 1K2 Petro-Canada America Lubricants
980 North Michigan Avenue
Canada - West . . . . . . . . . . . Phone 1-800-661-1199 Suite 1400, #1431
- East (English) . . . . Phone 1-800-268-5850 Chicago, Illinois
(French) . . . . . Phone 1-800-576-1686 USA 60611
Other Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Phone (416) 730-2408 Phone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-888-284-4572
E-mail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . lubecsr@petro-canada.ca Fax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (708) 246-8994
Internet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . lubricants.petro-canada.ca E-mail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . email@petro-canadaamerica.com

TB-1241E (08.01)
TM
Trademark of Petro-Canada Beyond todays standards.