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Fire-resistant hydraulic fluids are widely used in industrial applications where fire hazards exist. Broadly, these materials comprise synthetic products and water-base fluids. This paper discusses several characteristics of a water-base fluid, that is, a water-in-oil emulsion. It is shown that the emulsion-type fluid is serviceable with respect to viscosity, emulsion stability, oxidation stability, and wear. The fire resistance of this fluid is reviewed in some detail, by describing the results of empirical flammability tests and of a number of incidents in commercial installations involving equipment failures which resulted in the exposure of the emulsion to various ignition sources. It is shown that the interpretation of the results of the empirical tests with respect to field performance and the establishment of a standard test must be founded on a broad background of field experience.
Francis, C. E.
Shell Oil Co., Martinez, Calif.
Sipple, H. E.
Shell Oil Co., San Francisco, Calif.