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Friday, 10 August 2012

Why Biodegradable Lubricants Should Be Considered?

Biodegradble lubricants should be considered where there’s a high risk of environmental damage

Biodegradble lubricants should be considered when you realise that approximately 2.5 billion gallons of lubricants are sold annually in North America alone. Several studies show that approximately 60 percent of this oil is not accounted for and ends up in ground water, rivers, lakes and on the ground itself, causing untold harm to the environment.

Marine, forestry and agriculture industries in particular, along with citizen groups and
governments, are becoming more and more concerned about reducing the effect of oil on the environment. And the use of biodegradable oils can help to maintain the environment and even relieve some of the demand on mineral oils in the future.

Vegetable oils are environmentally friendly, and form the major source of biodegradble lubricants.

 
 
Vegetable oils can be used as lubricants in their natural forms. They have several advantages (and disadvantages) when considered for industrial and machinery lubrication:
  •  They can have excellent lubricity, far superior to that of mineral oil. In fact, their lubricity is so potent that in some applications, such as tractor transmissions, friction materials must be added to reduce clutch slippage. This group also have a very high viscosity index (VI). For example, a VI of 223 is common for vegetable oil, compared to 90 to 100 for most mineral oils, about 126 for polyalphaolefin (PAO) and 150 for polyglycol. (Viscosity index can be defined as a frequently used measure of a fluid’s change of viscosity with temperature. The higher the viscosity index, the smaller the relative change in viscosity with temperature. In other words, oil with a high VI changes less with temperature than oil with a low VI.) 
  • Another important property is the high flash point. Typically, this might be 326 degrees C (610 degrees F) for a vegetable oil, compared to a flash point of 200 degrees C (392 degrees F) for most mineral oils; 221 degrees C for polyalphaolefin (PAO) and 177 degrees C for polyglycol. (Flash point can be defined as the temperature to which a combustible liquid must be heated to give off sufficient vapor to momentarily form a flammable mixture with air when a small flame is applied under specified conditions, according to ASTM D92.)

But how are biodegradble lubricants defined?

There are several specifications that lubricants have to meet in order to be accepted as biodegradble lubricants:
  • Using tests developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a sample of the biodegradble lubricant oil is inoculated with bacteria and kept under controlled conditions for 28 days. The percentage of oxygen consumption or carbon-dioxide evolution is monitored to determine the degree of biodegradability of the oil. Most vegetable oils have shown to biodegrade more than 70 percent within that period, as compared to petroleum oils at nearly 15 to 35 percent. For a test sample to be considered a biodegradble lubricant, there must be more than 60-percent degradation in 28 days.
  • Similarly, by using a variety of tests involving fish, daphnia and other organisms, the toxicity of vegetable oils can be measured. In this case, both mineral oil and vegetable oil in their pure forms show little toxicity, but when additives are included, the toxicity increases. 
Although vegetable oils as biodegradble lubricants should be considered because they are generally less toxic, renewable and reduce dependency on imported petroleum oils, it is estimated 62% of lubrication professionals do not use any biodegradable lubricants at their plant.

Whether or not you believe biodegradble lubricants should be considered for an application in your plant, you can always consult the professionals at Habot Synthetic Lubricants for a solution.

2 comments:

sandhya bizconn said...

Nice blog. Pentagon Lubricants is a customer caring and relation building organization manufacturing the entire range of Industrial Lubricants, Automotive Lubricants, Greases, Marine Engine Oils and Specialty Lubricant products under the trade name PENTAGON that deliver Quality, Reliability and Performance. Industrial Lubricating Oils.

karyn gray said...

Your blog is very helpful . Many thanks for your article. It's really very well written. And i must appreciate it. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging.
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