Metalworking plays a key role in industry. Drilling, milling, turning and grinding operations all use lubricants to prevent work pieces and tools from overheating and from excess wear. Standard lubricants today are based on mineral oil.
Dr. Peter Eisner, Dr. Michael Menner and Andreas Malberg. Developed a cooling lubricant from aqueous biopolymers. Astonishing the lubricant industry by finding: “Water lubricates like oil”. © Dirk Mahler / Fraunhofer
This has drawbacks: fossil mineral oils come from finite resources, transport relatively little heat away from the work piece, are harmful to health and are flammable. All of this calls for extreme technical efforts, for occupational safety, fire safety and disposal, for example. So there‘s a need for alternative lubricants.
Renewable raw materials as a lubricant additive
The idea hatched by Andreas Malberg, Dr. Peter Eisner and Dr. Michael Menner from the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Freising sounds simple as well as surprising: lubricate with water, not oil. “At IVV here in Freising, we have been looking at the issue of cooling lubricants for some considerable time”, explains Michael Menner. “In two projects supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, we have successfully replaced oil with water. One surprising thing we found was that water is no worse a lubricant than oil, the key to it all being the additives.” Adding natural polymers to water can dramatically improve its lubricating properties. The Freising-based researchers set about testing renewable raw materials such as celluloses, starches or bacterial polysaccharides and improving their use as lubricant additives. Their aim: to make water more viscous by adding biopolymers, so it lubricates better.
For the idea to become a marketable product, other partners were brought on board: the Institute for Machine Tool Engineering and Production Technology at the University of Braunschweig, and Carl Bechem GmbH - a lubricant manufacturer from Hagen, Germany. The basic fluid made by the IVV, the viscous water, was improved by adding water-soluble additives so it could be used as an anti-corrosion agent, for example. That‘s how it meets the requirements during processing: withstanding high temperatures and shearing stresses.
Benefits: Easy on the environment and on gentle to the skin, does not burn
In addition to the significantly lower impact on the environment and the high raw material efficiency, the new lubricant also offers technological benefits. It reduces wear and prolongs tool life, for example. The processed components are also easier to clean. This cuts costs and improves the cost-efficiency of the entire production process. Converting to the new lubricant is very easy for companies to carry out”, explains Peter Eisner. “In principle, once thoroughly cleaned, the same machine tool circulation systems can be used.” In addition, the use of the aqueous lubricant improves occupational health and safety and hygiene: no formation of oil mists, addition of fewer biocides, it smells better and is gentler on the skin.
For the mineral oil-free lubricant made of aqueous biopolymer solutions for use in metalworking applications, Dr. Peter Eisner, Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Malberg and Dr. Michael Menner will receive one of the 2012 Joseph-von-Fraunhofer awards. The newly developed lubricant is already being distributed by Carl Bechem GmbH under the product name of BERUFLUID and is in use in various metalworking companies in the manufacturing of tools, mechanical engineering, in the automotive and aviation industry and in medical technology.
Andreas Malberg | Fraunhofer Research News
Quick, Precise, but not Cold
17.05.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
A laser for divers
03.05.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy