Aug. 19, 2009 A research group of the University of Huelva (UHU) have shown in a lab trial that the efficiency of high-oleic sunflower oil as a base ingredient for industrial lubricants measures up to traditional materials, while being more environmentally friendly.
This work, published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal and titled "Viscosity modification of high-oleic sunflower oil with polymeric additives for the design of new biolubricant formulations," reveals that these vegetal oil components are a clear alternative as a base for lubricants, due to their high biodegradability and low volatility.
This project, led by Críspulo Gallegos, and another related project from the Spanish Science and Innovation Ministry in collaboration with different industries and public institutions, has revealed that high-oleic oil mixed with compounds such as ethylene vinyl-acetate copolymer may have a similar performance to that of the mineral lubricants currently in use.
'We have carried out a study that allows us, for different concentrations of polymers on high oleic component, to get oils with completely different characteristics', said the Huelva-based team research manager. Thus they have gone more deeply into the characterization of different physical-chemical parameters with a special meaning for the development of lubricants. ‘We can use the obtained oils for different applications: four-stroke engines, gears, ball bearings, etc. depending on the viscosity of lubricants and the proportion of high oleic component', he said.
Now, the researchers of the University of Huelva are trying to optimise the proportion of polymers (the maximum allowed is 5%) in sunflower oil for the final product to be considered as ecologically responsible as possible.
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