Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Green industrial lubricant developed

14.07.2009
A team of researchers from the University of Huelva has developed an environmentally-friendly lubricating grease based on ricin oil and cellulose derivatives, according to the journal Green Chemistry. The new formula does not include any of the contaminating components used to manufacture traditional industrial lubricants.

"The objective of this research was to develop a product that could be used as a lubricating grease but that was made only from natural materials and was therefore 100% biodegradable", José María Franco, a chemical engineer at the University of Huelva and co-author of the study published recently in Green Chemistry, tells SINC.

Environmentally-friendly greases are "oleogels" that use cellulose derivatives from plants and ricin oil (from a bush in the Euphorbiaceae family) as a lubricant base. Franco says these new formulations are "an alternative to traditional lubricating greases, which create pollution that is difficult to combat once discharged into the environment".

Lubricants used in industry are made from non-biodegradable components, such as synthetic oils or petroleum derivatives, and thickeners made with metallic soaps or polyurea derivatives (a family of synthetic polymers). These are currently the best performers, but they also imply more problems from an environmental perspective.

Millions of tonnes of hydraulic and industrial oils, and others from machinery, are discharged each year into rivers, the sea and fields. Mineral-based oils can contaminate groundwater for more than 100 years, and can prevent the growth of trees and prove toxic to aquatic life.

Only partial solutions have been found to date for this problem, such as substituting mineral oil for vegetable ones, but no alternatives had been found to the metallic thickeners, which are also highly polluting. The new green grease provides an answer, although the scientists admit that "more research is needed" in order to perfect its lubricating and anti-wear performance.

Franco tells SINC that the new material "has a similar level of mechanical stability to that of traditional greases, and it is highly temperature resistant, with rheological properties (viscosity) that do not change greatly, although we have observed that the material is expelled in large quantities when subjected to large inertial forces at high temperatures". When this substance is used in bearings, it is important that it is not easily shed. This will reduce the lubrication frequency, thus maintaining the ideal functioning conditions for machinery for a longer time.

The researchers will continue to investigate this aspect in order to find a way of balancing the use of biodegradable ingredients to manufacture the grease while also optimising its lubricating capacity.

In any case, the scientists have proved that "oleogels" based on cellulose derivatives are not only environmentally friendly, but are also advantageous in that they are easier to process, and that manufacturing them requires simpler technology than that used to make conventional greases.

References:

R. Sánchez, J. M. Franco, M. A. Delgado, C. Valencia y C. Gallegos. "Development of new green lubricating grease formulations based on cellulosic derivatives and castor oil". Green Chemistry 11: 686-693, 2009.

SINC | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Maelstroms in the heart
22.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation

nachricht Decoding the structure of the huntingtin protein
22.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Decoding the structure of the huntingtin protein

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Camera technology in vehicles: Low-latency image data compression

22.02.2018 | Information Technology

Minimising risks of transplants

22.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>