Volume 9, Issue 1 (January 2012)
Characteristics of Base Fluid in Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants
The main component in environmentally acceptable lubricants and grease is the base fluid. Typically it comprises greater than 70% of grease and 90% of a lubricant. Many biodegradable fluids have specific characteristics, which make formulating finished products difficult. Through a stepwise approach these characteristics will be discussed. The fluids for testing will comprise natural and synthetic esters and some petroleum based synthetics. The testing will find the extremes of performance at high and low temperatures and the effects of common additives to improve performance. Testing will include pour point, elastomer compatibility, oxidation and thermal stability. Based on the testing a blended fluid will be made to offset the drawbacks of the individual fluids and the performance discussed. This blend will serve as the base fluid to formulate an environmentally acceptable lubricating grease.