Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 15, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Vegetable oils have a series of advantages which can be beneficial for a number of lubricant applications. They are readily biodegradable and essentially nontoxic, properties that are not exhibited by lubricants based on mineral oils. Volatility is very low due to high molecular weight triglycerides and viscosity does not change rapidly with varying temperature. Ester linkages deliver inherent lubricity and ability to adhere to metal surfaces. Solubilizing power, miscibility with contaminants and additive acceptability of vegetable oils is better than that of mineral oils, especially in the case of polar materials. But low resistance to oxidative degradation and poor low temperature behavior still remain the major drawback with vegetable base oils for extensive industrial applications. Current research efforts are directed towards improving the thermal and low temperature stability of vegetable oils by chemical modification, blending with functional fluids, and additive response studies. A series of vegetable oils were studied for their oxidative and thermal stability using thin film micro reactor and Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC) under different environment, varying temperature and time. A series of synthetic lubricants were developed from soybean oil with improved thermal and low temperature characteristics. Reaction protocol and conditions were optimized to increase the yield and technical characteristics of the fluid. These fluids derived primarily through transesterification and reacting with long chain alcohols, have better oxidative stability and low temperature fluidity. A one-step and two-step synthetic procedure was used to obtain soy oil base fluid with improved oxidative and cold flow properties. Conditions were optimized to scale up the product yield using a lab scale reactor with 12-liter capacity. These fluids were used to make a range of industrial oils such as hydraulic fluid, drip oil, compressor oil, cutting oil, greases etc. Several of these products are actively being tested in field applications and a number of cooperative research agreements with industrial partners are in progress. This research has resulted in the application of a U.S. patent.