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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Bio-Based Lubricants from Farm-Based Raw Materials

Location: Bio-oils Research Unit

Project Number: 5010-41000-155-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Aug 09, 2010
End Date: Aug 08, 2015

Objective:
1. Develop and apply modeling and experimental tools for the investigation and prediction of the tribological properties of farm-based raw materials. 2. Apply tribological knowledge to the development and commercialization of biobased lubricants for use in automotive and related applications.

Approach:
(1) Review existing oxidation and cold flow literature as well as existing models for predicting oxidative stability (OS) and cold flow properties (CFP). Predictive models will be developed and used to design chemical structures that could provide improved OS and CFP without sacrificing biodegradability. Model compounds will be synthesized and evaluated using a variety of cold flow and oxidation tests such as: RBOT, PDSC, PP, CP, cryogenic DSC. Models will be further modified as needed and applied in development of new bio-based raw materials and promising structures will be synthesized in large quantities for bench- and pilot-scale evaluations. Tribological and tribochemical properties of model bio-based structures will be investigated and used in model development. Structures to be investigated include: polarity, unsaturation, branching, chain length, cyclic rings (mono- and poly-cyclic aromatic and aliphatic structures), and various combinations of structures. Model structures will be evaluated for boundary, hydrodynamic, mixed, EHD, traction, and tribochemical properties. (2) Develop database on lubricating and hydraulic fluids to set-up target specifications and also to develop predictive structure-property relationships. Various grades of lubricating and hydraulic fluids will be developed using variety of in-house tests such as: RBOT, PDSC, PP, CP, EHL film thickness, TC, foaming, corrosion, volatility, viscosity, viscosity-index, pressure-viscosity coefficient, friction and wear (AW and EP), biodegradability, etc. Promising formulations will be further developed using appropriate bench tests. Examples of bench tests used in lubricating oil development include: Thin Film Oxygen Uptake Test; Cold Cranking Simulator; Mini-Rotary Viscometer; gas emission tests; Thermo-Oxidation Engine Oil Simulation Test; Corrosion Bench Test; Distillation; Piston cleanliness; etc. Bench tests to be used in biobased hydraulic fluid development include: vane pump; corrosion; foam; oxidation; water separability; thermal stability; hydrolytic stability; and sludge formation. Promising biobased formulations will be further subjected to qualification tests and long-term evaluations for specific applications. Starch modified by steam-jet cooking or chemical modification will be used to develop starch-based metalworking lubricants. The effect of various structural and formulation variables on performance will be investigated, including starch chemical structure; type and degree of chemical modification; oil chemical structure; oil-to-starch ratio; lubricant additives chemistry and concentration. Tests to be used in these evaluations include: friction and wear; product quality; tool life; productivity; lubricant batch life; ease of lubricant handling; compatibility with machine components; etc. The results will be used to select formulations for further development on small- and pilot-scale equipment.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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