Viscosity of Food Grade Lubricants


As food safety is an important topic, food grade lubricants are one of the most crucial requirements in the production line. They must fulfill the same tribological aspects as other lubricants and keep the machinery running. Selecting the wrong lubricant can have a detrimental impact on food quality and machinery. Costly product recalls or machinery downtimes can occur as a consequence. These lubricants are categorized into different classes, where only H1 lubricants are the "true" food grade lubricants which can have incidental food or beverage contact. Contrary to lube oils used in e.g. car engines, stringent directives for odor, cleanliness, toxicity and sanitary requirements must be fulfilled.

Food grade lubricants are usually industrial oils, their kinematic viscosity is classified according to ISO 3448 (ISO Viscosity Grades). Due to the various fields of application, food grade lubricants are formulated from different base stocks and additives. The tables give an overview about the kinematic viscosity at 40 °C and 100 °C, density at 20 °C and 15 °C, and Saybolt Universal Viscosity at 100 °F and 210 °F of some H1 lube oils with different chemical bases.

Oil typeIntended use e.g.
Ester oil (ISO VG75)High temperature chain oil for the food-processing industry, e.g. in the bakery industry
PAO (ISO VG220)Can seaming oil (mineral oil free synthetic hydrocarbon oil)
Mineral (White) oil (ISO VG12)Lube oil for lubricators and pneumatic installations (air compressors, air pipes, …) e.g. in packaging machines
PAG (ISO VG52)Refrigeration compressor oil
PAG (ISO VG320)Synthetic high-performance gear oil for the food processing and pharmaceutical industries
PFPE (core viscosity 425)For incidental contact with products and packaging materials in the food processing, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, or animal feed industries. For chains, bearings, guides, or plastic-plastic friction points


PAO Polyalfaolefin; mineral oil free synthetic hydrocarbon oil
PAG Polyalkylene glycol
PFPE Perfluoro polyether

Viscosity and density tables – measurement data

H1 lube oils – kinematic viscosity vs. viscosity index

SampleKin. viscosity [mm²/s] at 40 °CKin. viscosity [mm²/s] at 100 °C Viscosity index
Ester oil (ISO VG75)71.1410.33130.4
PAO (ISO VG220)226.62.91150.9
Mineral (White) oil (ISO VG12)21.114.23103.9
PAG (ISO VG52)51.3311.09215.6
PAG (ISO VG320)314.755.68244.3
PFPE (425)410.739.16143.3

Graph Kin. visc. 40 °C Kin. visc. 100 °C Viscosity index

H1 lubricants – Saybolt Universal Viscosity

SampleSaybolt Universal Viscosity [SUS] at 100 °F (37.78 °C)Saybolt Universal Viscosity [SUS] at 210 °F (98.89 °C)
Ester oil (ISO VG75)61.2310.71
PAO (ISO VG220)1050127.4
Mineral (White) oil (ISO VG12)102.640.21
PAG (ISO VG52)238.763.12
PAG (ISO VG320)1458260.5
PFPE (425)1903184.2

H1 lubricants – density

SampleDensity [g/cm³] at 20 °CDensity [g/cm³] at 15 °C
Ester oil (ISO VG75)0.9971.001
PAO (ISO VG220)0.8540.857
Mineral (White) oil (ISO VG12)0.8520.855
PAG (ISO VG52)1.0361.039
PAG (ISO VG320)1.0611.065
PFPE (425)1.9121.920


SVM 3001 measurements

Meta information

Reference SVM 3001 measurements
Kin. vis. yes
Dyn. vis. no
Density yes
Saybolt Universal Viscosity yes
Multiple temperatures yes
Related Kinematic viscosity, viscosity, food grade lubricant, H1 oil, industrial oil, lubricant, lube oil, ISO 3448, viscosity grade, viscosity index, density