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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Bio-oils Research

Title: Gear oil formulation designed to meet bio-preferred criteria as well as give high performance

item Arca, Mert
item Sharma, Brajendra
item Perez, Joseph
item Doll, Kenneth - Ken

Submitted to: International Journal of Sustainable Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/27/2012
Publication Date: 11/6/2013
Citation: Arca, M., Sharma, B.K., Perez, J.M., Doll, K.M. 2013. Gear oil formulation designed to meet bio-preferred criteria as well as give high performance. International Journal of Sustainable Engineering. 6(4):326-331.

Interpretive Summary: The United States Department of Agriculture has mandated the use of Bio-preferred products which are cost competitive and effective. Because gear oils are a growing part of industry, for example in turbines and windmills, the USDA’s bio-preferred program has already set forth requirements for this category. Soybean oil can be used as an effective lubricant, but its viscosity is not suitable for the thick fluids required in gearboxes. Through thermal heating, the oil can be modified, to produce a suitable viscosity, but the resultant fluid is not chemically stable. Through a careful formulation of additives, we have fixed this problem and produced an oil that is as effective in bench tests as an off-the-shelf mineral oil based product. This is an important step in the production of a fluid which will meet the bio-preferred requirements, and be performance competitive.

Technical Abstract: A biobased gear oil was developed from soybean oil. The soybean oil was first thermally polymerized and then mixed with additives and diluents. The effect of pour point depressants, co-base oils, anti-oxidants and anti-wear additives is reported. The final formulation of biobased gear oil gives test results: Coefficient of friction 0.015, 4-ball wear scar 0.375 mm, viscosity index 165. These numbers are comparable or better than the commercially available gear oils tested for comparison. The oxidation onset temperature of the biobased gear oil, 220 deg C, is lower than the evaluated commercial products, but still at an acceptable range for gear oil.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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