Friction is a common problem that machines face. It not only reduces the working efficiency of a machine or a moving part, but also causes wear and tear of rubbing surfaces. Hence, it is essential to reduce or eliminate friction between moving parts or rubbing surfaces in order to improve their efficiency and working life. This is achieved with the help of lubricants, which have now become a vital part of every machinery and an essential component of every industry. Lubricant can be defined as a substance, which reduces or eliminates friction and prevents wear and tear at the interface of two surfaces. It reduces friction by lowering the shear strength at the junction of surfaces. Lubricants can either be solid, semi-solid, liquid, and gaseous. Solid lubricants are substances that can be used or applied as thin film or powder in order to reduce friction and provide protection from wear during the relative movement between two surfaces. Graphite is a well-known solid lubricant used in a variety of applications.
Graphite is a type of lamellar solid, which provides high wear resistance and low friction to sliding surfaces. Graphite is employed in several industrial applications primarily due to its property of good lubricity coupled with abundant availability and low cost. Akin to diamond, graphite is a polymorph of carbon. Chemically, diamond and graphite are similar, but are different in terms of structure and properties. Graphite can withstand temperature up to 500°C without losing its lubricity in open air. It is acid and base resistant.
In terms of application type, the graphite lubricant market can be segmented into solution, pure powder, and composites. Graphite can be easily dispersed either in water or solvents or oils or greases in order to enhance its lubricity for better performance in applications with extreme conditions.
Based on end-user, the graphite lubricant market can be segregated into transportation, electrical and electronics, industrial, and others. The transportation segment is anticipated to lead the global graphite lubricant market. It is estimated to maintain its domination during the forecast period. The industrial segment is expected to follow the lead of the transportation segment during the forecast period. However, the electrical and electronics segment is expected to slowly gain momentum in terms of market share during the forecast period, primarily due to the electrical conductance property of graphite.
Based on region, the global graphite lubricant market can be divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific is projected to dominate the global graphite lubricant market during the forecast period. This can be ascribed to the presence of developing countries such as China and India that have large production and consumption markets for graphite lubricants. North America is likely to follow Asia Pacific in terms of market share in the global graphite lubricant market, primarily due to the large industrial and automotive applications in the region. Moreover, Europe is predicted to be at third position in global graphite lubricant market during the forecast period.
Key players operating in the global graphite lubricant market include Henkel AG & Co. KGaA., The Dow Chemical Company, Superior Graphite, Imerys Graphite & Carbon, and MOSIL Lubricants Pvt. Ltd.