It’s like your wife’s weird cousin that you only see once every 5 years. You’re not really sure what’s up with him; if, when and where he works. If that dude was a grease, he’d be bentonite grease. 

Greases are essentially a blend of a thickener, additives and  base oil. Thickeners include lithium, lithium complex, polyurea, aluminum complex and bentonite to name a few. Designed to impart a semi solid consistency to grease, thickeners can determine a grease’s load carrying capability, operating temp, speed and material compatibility.  

Bentonite is an organic clay. Designed for very high temperatures and excellent water washout characteristics, bentonite greases are often used in steel mills, kilns and aluminum, glass, cement and rubber plants. Although they’re excellent in the correct application, they aren’t compatible with other greases and in some cases, the oil will evaporate before the clay (which doesn’t evaporate) and leave a mess. This is why frequent re-greasing is necessary with Bentonite. 

Correct grease selection is a pretty big deal. If you tried to use a bentonite grease in a high speed bearing, catastrophic failure may be in your future. Conversely if you tried to use that $1.79 tube of lithium grease you found behind pap’s workbench in the rolling mill at the steel plant, it would melt away and surely cause problems. Always search for the correct grease for your application.