Knowledge Base – How Good is my Oil Tackifier?

Oil tackifier


An oil tackifier is an additive that holds a lubricating oil in place where it is needed. Typically, it is a polymer dissolved in oil that oil blenders can add to their lubricant oil. The polymer helps the oil to adhere to the metal surface of the mechanical part that it is lubricating.

Additionally, the polymer helps the oil to stay together; that is to say, it sticks the oil to itself. We call this “sticking together” cohesion and we call the sticking to a surface adhesion. Moreover, an effective oil tackifier will enhance both of these characteristics

oil tackifier mechanism

To illustrate this, imagine the oil film or droplet as a series of layers. Ideally, in order to stop dripping, you want your oil tackifier to stick the first layer of oil to the surface and the second layer to the first, and so on. Clearly, in order to do this, the oil tackifier needs to confer good adhesion and good cohesion on the lubricant oil.


Many lubricant blenders used to test their tackifier by dipping their fingers into the oil and pulling them apart. Tackifier causes oil to form thin strings, like mozzarella on a pizza. However, the results were neither accurate nor reliable. The problem is that the result depends on the how hot your hands are when testing.

Also, that method only tests how well the oil sticks to itself, as shown by how stringy it becomes. If oil sticks well to itself, but doesn’t stick to the surface then one drop will pull the rest off the surface together! Conversely, if it sticks well to the surface but not to itself then only a thin layer will stay on.

Brad-Chem devised the clingability and stringability test methods. The first measures the adhesion to the surface of a fast moving part. As the part spins, it flings the lubricant off. The measure of adhesion is the increase in the amount of oil that stays on the part when the oil contains oil tackifier.

The other test measures cohesion. Oil is allowed to drip from a fixed surface area from a fixed height. The oil drips as a strong, thin string if good oil tackifier is used. Furthermore, the better the oil tackifier used, the thinner and stronger the string that it produces. The measure of how well the tackifier sticks the oil to itself is the how long it takes the string to break.

Are there other test methods for oil tackifiers?

No international standard test method exists for testing the efficacy of an oil tackifier. Some lubricant blenders have devised their own testing methods. When devising such a test method it is important to ask two questions:

  • What are the criteria for good oil tackifier performance?
  • Will the test differentiate good and bad performance within all criteria?

Any test regime that does not give information on how well the oil tackifier confers both adhesion and cohesion will not tell you how well your tackifier is working.

Oil tackifier for mineral oil

Flowtac 2000 is the market leading tacky additive for mineral oil based lubricants from Brad-Chem Ltd.

Our reputation for proven excellent performance is well known throughout the lubricants industry. Brad-Chem also has a reputation for reliability of supply, with our history of consistent supply since 1988.

Flowtac 2000 is a tacky additive. Lubricant blenders add the tacky additive to lubricating oils to make the oil stick to moving parts. End users of these oils benefit; because, it reduces loss of lubrication by dripping or fling-off, and it reduces oil mist in metalworking fluid applications.


Lubricant blenders use Flowtac 2000 to manufacture the following products:

  1. Slide way oils
  2. Chain oils
  3. Wire rope lubricants
  4. Greases
  5. Rock drilling oils
  6. Textile lubricants
  7. As an anti-mist agent in metalworking fluids


The performance is the most important property of a tacky additive for mineral oil. The tacky additive must be able to retain as much of the oil as possible on the moving parts without adversely affecting the friction coefficient.

Flowtac 2000 imparts to the lubricant the best possible combination of adhesion of the oil to part and cohesion within the oil itself, ensuring that it remains in place. We have proven the adhesion by developing cling tests that show the increased mass of oil remaining on a part after a period of rapid spinning. We have also developed string tests that show the improved cohesion of the oil to itself.

Independent testing has confirmed that Flowtac 2000 does not adversely affect the friction coefficient of the lubricant.

Another important attribute is the ease of handling. Lubricant manufacturers need to be able to produce quickly. The low viscosity and high efficiency of Flowtac 2000 enable manufacturers to fill and blend quickly to consistent high quality.

It is this combination of properties, together with our reliability and continuity of supply, that ensures our worldwide reputation for excellence.


The majority of lubricant blenders use an oil tackifier in mineral oil applications. However, speciality manufacturers often focus on more specialised base oils, such as food grade or biodegradable types. Moreover, some speciality base oils have better natural tacky properties than mineral oil.

Lubricant blenders use poly alpha olefin (PAO), synthetic ester, polyisobutylene (PIB), or white oil to make food grade lubricants. Furthermore, they tend to use the PIBs and esters for high temperature applications. Some manufacturers use PAO types for both high and temperature and ambient temperature lubricants for H1 incidental food contact applications. High temperature applications do not require an oil tackifier.

White oil is the H1 incidental food contact approval analogue of paraffinic mineral oil. For incidental food contact applications in white oils, we can offer Contac 2000. Contac 2000 gives the same great performance as Flowtac 2000; but, it is also approvable for H1 lubricants. Blenders can also use this product in PAO.

Manufacturers who are blending biodegradable chainsaw and industrial oils using vegetable oil use Biotac. Biotac is our readily degradable oil tackifier for use in rapeseed oil and other vegetable base oils.

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