The Complete Guide to Chain

5.1.2 Use of Steel Chains in Low Temperatures

When you use chains in low temperatures, the following problems may occur:

Table 5.2 shows the power transmission capacity of drive chains at low temperatures.

Table 5.2 Transmission Capabilities of Chains at Low Temperatures
Operating Temperature Standard Roller Chain (RS80)1 KT Type1
Below −60°COut of useOut of use
−60°C to −50°COut of useMAX × 1/2
−50°C to −40°COut of useMAX × 2/3
−40°C to −30°CMAX × 1/4MAX
−30°C to −20°CMAX × 1/3MAX
−20°C to −10°CMAX × 1/2MAX
−10°C to +60°CMAXMAX

1MAX = Maximum allowable load as shown in the manufacture's catalog

Two types of chain are especially useful at lower temperatures. KT-specification chain is specially heat-treated to withstand very cold environments. SS-specification chain, which is made of 304 stainless steel, may also be used at low temperatures. Low-temperature brittleness does not occur in austenitic stainless steel.

These chains cannot fix the problems of solidification of the lubricant or stiff joints caused by frost or ice. Use cold-temperature oil or grease and apply it to the inner clearances and the outside of the chain.