Opportunities of Efficiency Improvement by the Use of Hydro Lubricants
The majority of industrial lubricants are still based on mineral oils due primarily to low cost and good compatibility with other oils, although different base fluid types exist in the market. However, despite their widespread use, conventional lubricants reach functional limits in various scenarios. In addition to the limitations of natural resources, their safe and environmentally sound handling, use and disposal often require considerable efforts. At the same time, industrial operators’ expectations towards innovative specialty lubricants are increasing. They range from operational and food safety to biodegradability, longer life cycles and reduced emissions and energy consumption.
While searching for a material that meets all of these general and branch-specific requirements, water is a visionary but yet an obvious raw material available worldwide, non-toxic, non-combustible. The benefits are clear, but some challenges include its low viscosity, evaporation, freezing point, corrosiveness and sensitivity against microbiological growth.
Hydro Lubricants unfold their innovative traits by using water either as a base oil or as an additive, hence the name ‘‘Hydro Lubes’’. Initial results indicate that it is a promising technology with a great potential to deliver high performance; some include high thermal and electric conductivity, superlow friction and good load carrying capacity on the FZG four-square test machine. Some key challenges of Hydro Lubricants like pour point, corrosion protection and microbiological growth have been solved by proper and advanced formulation. With the wide range of benefits, different Hydro Lubricants have been developed for applications like gears and hydrodynamic bearings.
Hydro Lubricants offer a more sustainable solution and are potential candidates for a wide range of industrial applications that particularly demand for huge energy savings.
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