Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #222686

Title: Estolides - biobased lubricants

item Cermak, Steven - Steve
item Isbell, Terry
item Biresaw, Girma

Submitted to: International Symposium on Surfactants in Solution
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2008
Publication Date: 8/17/2008
Citation: Cermak, S.C., Isbell, T., Biresaw, G. 2008. Estolides - biobased lubricants [abstract]. International Symposium on Surfactants in Solution. Paper No. O-038.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Estolides are a series of biobased materials obtained from the synthesis of oils derived from both plant and animal sources. Estolides are formed when the carboxylic acid functionality of one fatty acid links to the site of unsaturation of another fatty acid to form esters. By varying the types of starting materials and the reaction conditions, estolides of various chemical structures (e.g., branching) and physical properties (e.g., mol wt, viscosity, pour point, cloud point) are obtained. These new functional fluids, estolides, have shown great promise as a biodegradable lubricant. Estolides and their co-products compared favorably to commercially available industrial products such as petroleum-based hydraulic fluids, soy-based fluids and petroleum oils. In this presentation, the physical properties (pour points, cloud points, evaporative loss, RPVOT, and viscosities) of estolides will be compared for different lubrication applications. Additionally, the effect of the physical/chemical variability on film thickness and pressure–viscosity coefficient (pvc) of estolides will be explored. The results showed that estolides have lower pvc than the non-polar hydrocarbon PAO, but much higher than seed oils (e.g., soybean, jojoba, canola), which are used as a feedstock in estolide synthesis. The film thickness and pvc properties of estolides were also found to be dependent on the structure (e.g., homo- versus co-oligomer).