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Lube-Tech


How to Choose Vegetable oils in their natural forms and their derivatives offer distinct advantages over conventional mineral (petroleum) oils. Advantages include better lubricity due to their dipolar nature; almost 2X higher Viscosity Index for more stable viscosity at extreme temperatures, higher thin-film strength for better metal-to-metal separation; and higher flash/ fire points for better safety. But, if untreated or selected improperly, they lack of oxidation stability could impact long term residency in the machinery like gear boxes or hydraulic systems; they have higher pour points that impact cold temperature performance, their chemical modifications could make them expensive, and finally their compatibility with elastomers, polymers, various metal, and additives need to be understood for proper formulation.


Ideally, it would be best to choose the chemically modified oils or biobased derived synthetic ester for every lubricant application. But history has shown that the very high price of the finished products made with esters would prevent large scale acceptance of biobased products.


So, it is important to choose the right base oil for the right end use application. Leading biobased lubricants manufacturers prepare their products with different base vegetable oils that match the performance to the cost. Products that have shown success using less stable vegetable oils include:


• Dust control agents • Concreate form release • Asphalt release agents


Products that require more stable vegetable oils along with added antioxidant packages could include:


• Wire rope lubricants • Chain and cable lubricants • Lubricant/Penetrants


30 LUBE MAGAZINE NO.156 APRIL 2020


PUBLISHED BY LUBE: THE EUROPEAN LUBRICANTS INDUSTRY MAGAZINE


No.127 page 5


• Anti-corrosion lubricants • Switch plate lubricants


Products that require very stable vegetable oils along with added antioxidant packages could include:


• Food grade hydraulic oils • Straight oil metal cutting oils • Transformer cooling oils • Selected greases: - Rail curve grease - VGP Wire rope grease - Drill rod grease - Food grade grease - Chassis grease - General purpose greases


It should be noted that untreated vegetable oils should not be exposed to processes that exceed 150°C for long periods of time during processing. Experience has shown beyond such temperature the oil oxidation could increase, and polymerisation process could get initiated. If exposure to high temperature continues the polymerisation could be followed by propagation that could continue even after the exposure to such temperatures is stopped, albeit at a slower rate. Recent manufacturing techniques for making grease have utilised microwaves for processing vegetable oil-based greases, which speeds up the process and reduces exposure to high reaction temperatures (200-250C) dramatically and thus resulting in more stable greases.


For most other applications especially if the biobased products have long residency within the machine or require flowability at -40 degrees or lower temperatures, biobased derived esters should be used.


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