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Molykote: 60 years of efficient lubrication technologies

Since 1948 Molykote lubrication technologies successfully helped to solve the most complex problems in tribology application.

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Sometimes called “magic lubricants”, Molykote lubricants were originally based on the use of molybdenum disulphide as a component that could be combined with a wide range of base oils: from mineral to fully synthetic.

The discovery of a new mineral – molybdenite

More than 250 years ago in 1744 were discovered unique antifriction characteristics of an unknown mineral. Due to outward similarity with lead and galena (lead sulfide), this mineral was called molybdos, which in Greek means "similar to lead."

In 1778 the Swedish scientist Carl Wilhelm Scheele identified molybdenite as a metal sulphide by heating it to obtain a white oxide powder. Another Swedish scientist Peter Jacob Hjelm successfully identified this metal in 1782 and called it molybdenum.


This discovery remained non-demanded because of in nature molybdenum occurs only chemically related to other elements. Only in 1890 due to beginning of the industrial production of steel this mineral was used to replace tungsten upon alloy addition. A large molybdenite deposit was discovered in the mountains of Colorado (USA), and its extraction and processing started. Today large molybdenite resources are available around the world in the USA, China, Chile and Russia.

New properties of lubricants 

Альфред Зоннтаг

In 1935 the unique lubricating properties of molybdenite found their application. Alfred Sonntag, an engineer of German origin, developed a test station about 20 m high to simulate aircraft vibrations. However the first launch was unsuccessful due to the appearance of a stick-slip behavior in the parts of the heavily loaded friction units of the installation. No available lubricant could solve this problem. In descriptions dating back to the 18th century, Sonntag found references to molybdenite and in practice discovered new properties of lubricant under extreme operating conditions.

In 1940 Sonntag founded the Sonntag Scientific Corporation to study and develop lubricants based on molybdenum disulphide. Sonntag Scientific has developed methods for purifying molybdenite from quartzite impurities and producing pure molybdenum disulphide.

Molykote world’s debut

In 1948 Sonntag established Alpha Molykote in Stamford, Connecticut (USA).

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The name of the company was formed from the combination of the words "moly-coating" (disulfide molybdenum coating).

Alpha Molykote was the first company in the world to produce lubricants based on molybdenum disulphide. These materials worked efficiently under extremely high loads, under high and low temperatures, effectively prevented fretting, scoring and increased wear. They provide long-term lubrication under the influence of dust and abrasive, when traditional oils and greases are not applicable.

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At the same time the following types of Molykote lubricants were presented: powders for use as an additive to composite and sintered bearing materials, high temperature pastes for threaded and splined joints, press fit joints and furnace bearings, greases for high-loaded bearings, dispersions - for addition to gear oils, antifriction coatings - for aircraft parts.

Powders are dispersed particles of a solid lubricant with a high bearing capacity, antifriction properties, thermal stability and chemical inertness. Pastes are mixtures of powders and various types of oils for applications where solid lubrication and corrosion protection is necessary. Plastic greases are similar to pastes, but are designed specifically for high loads and long-term lubrication.

Dispersions are solid lubricant particles suspended in oil. They are used as antiwear and extreme pressure additives to conventional lubricants. Antifriction coatings are compositions of solid lubricants with organic or inorganic binders and solvents, used to effectively protect against wear where other lubricants are inoperative.

Molykote: the move to success

In 1950 Alpha Molykote created a network of distributors in different parts of the world: among them were Molykote KG in Germany and a Mitsubishi trading company in Japan. масла, смазки, дисперсии, герметики, molykoteIn 1955 the disulfide molybdenum demand exceeded the forecasted in 1952 by experts from the Munich Spengler Institute.

In the mid of 1950, Molykote KG put into operation its own production facilities and packaging lines, organized a research laboratory. By the end of the decade Molykote GmbH serviced more than 12,000 customers and had partner relations with 19 distributors in other countries.

1960s: changes and growth

In the 1960s a significant increase in sales in Europe was mainly due to the activities of Molykote GmbH and its aggressive marketing. dow corning, герметик dow corning, силиконовый герметик

Molykote GmbH organized technical seminars for specialists, came up with the idea of ​​creating Molykote G-Rapid Spray, the first lubricant paste based on molybdenum disulphide in aerosol packaging. Later, Molykote GmbH built a new factory in Munich to produce licensed products.

At the same tim, other new products appeared in the Molykote line - bright pastes for "clean" grease, lubricants for metal working with pressure and self-lubricating composites. In addition the introduction of new solid lubricants - sulfides, fluorides, metal phosphates, graphite and finely divided metallic powders.

In 1964 Alpha Molykote joined the corporation Dow Corning - the leading manufacturer of lubricants for special applications.

1970s: new research and globalization

In the 1970s the mechanism of the lubricating action of molybdenum disulphide was first studied by scanning electron microscopy. It was proved, that the unique antifriction properties of this solid matter are caused by its ability to fill the cavities of short-wavelength patterns, forming a smooth and very slippery film. In addition, molybdenum disulphide is able to be retained on the surface due to high adhesion. The coefficient of friction remains low even at extremely high pressures.

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1980s: New Opportunities and Strategic Partnership

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Further strengthening of the Molykote brand in the 1980s was due to the new production facilities in Japan (Yamakita). This also caused a significant increase in the use of Molykote lubricants in the automotive industry. A strategic partnership was established with many automakers. The product range was replenished with oil-resistant coatings and water-based coatings, new silicone greases, Lubolid powder additives for asbestos-free brake linings.

1990: Even more opportunities

In the 1990s Molykote lubricants were even more successful.molykote, смазка molykote, герметик, паста, дисперсия, антифрикционное покрытие

Molykote's branding has mastered the markets of Eastern Europe. A fundamental work has been published for engineers and technicians, summarizing more than 40 years of Molykote research and development experience.

The 1990s were the time of introduction of a unique solid lubricant - polarized graphite - to replace lead compounds in friction clutch linings and reduce noise when brake pads work. At the same time, the technology of antifriction coatings with the anti-scratch effect was patented for use in cars. In addition, Molykote pastes have been specified for use in threaded joints of aircraft and turbines of power plants.

2000s: Successes in the new millennium

  • appearance of 42 new products in the line of synthetic and mineral oils for industrial equipment, including food industry;

  • the creation of a laboratory in China (2007);

  • production development in India and Japan;

  • a global network of more than 3,000 partners worldwide.

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