Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Biobased Metalworking Fluids - Bioresistance, Biodegradability, and Related Issues

item Biresaw, Girma

Submitted to: Inform
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2004
Publication Date: March 1, 2004

Interpretive Summary: Prices of farm products are highly dependent on the balance between supply and demand. Oversupply of farm products has led to price declines, negatively affecting the income of farmers. One way of increasing the demand for farm products is by developing ag-based products capable of displacing petroleum-based products used in lubrication and other applications. This will also have the additional benefit of reducing the dependence of the U.S. economy on resource-limited petroleum reserves. Ag-based raw materials provide the opportunity for developing biodegradable metalworking fluids. Biodegradability allows for environmentally friendly composting of spent metalworking fluids. As a result, farm-based metalworking fluids will have a competitive cost advantage over current petroleum-based metalworking fluids due to the avoidance of cost associated with treatment of waste metalworking fluids. However, the ease of biodegradability also reduces the life of biobased metalworking fluids, due to degradation by microbes growing in the metalworking fluid handling and application system. This article discusses options for improving the bioresistance of ag-based metalworking fluids without negatively impacting their biodegradability during after-use waste treatment.

Technical Abstract: Biobased metalworking fluids must meet a number of stringent requirements before they can be widely used in commercial manufacturing. Some of these requirements are contradictory requiring the biodegradable metalworking fluid to behave in opposite ways at different times during its use. An example of such a contradictory requirement is the need for the development of biodegradable metalworking fluid that is bioresistant during use but biodegradable at the end of its batch life. Developing biodegradable metalworking fluids that meet such contradictory requirements is possible only through a thorough understanding of the entire metalworking process. This includes lubricant formulation; tribology of metalworking; environmental, safety, and health consequences of metalworking; work place and machinery design.

Last Modified: 5/5/2015
Footer Content Back to Top of Page