by Cliff Cracauer, Sales Manager
As we move into the 21st century, it
is becoming necessary to be more conscious of the environment.
Greater restrictions are being enforced on the disposal of waste
materials such as solvents and petroleum-based products.
This type of waste is common in virtually every type of metalworking
fluid (lubricants, hydraulic fluids, etc.). Disposal of
such materials is expensive, and will continue to increase in
cost as more regulations are imposed. This is one reason
that other sources are being tapped in the manufacture of metalworking
In this edition of Q&A, I will discuss what other sources are being used
in the production of metalworking fluids, how they are more environmentally
friendly, and where Cortec fits into the whole picture.
Q. What are the environmental concerns of petroleum-based products?
products are not biodegradable and have to be disposed of as hazardous
Q. What is biodegradation?
A. Biodegradation is the process of chemical
breakdown, or transformation, of a substance caused by organisms
or their enzymes.
Q. How is biodegradability
A. One test method that is commonly used to
determine if a product can be classified as biodegradable is ASTM
5864-95. This standard measures the amount of carbon dioxide
produced over time. For products to be considered biodegradable
they must produce 60 percent carbon dioxide in a 28-day period.
Q. What are some renewable
resources commonly used in developing biodegradable products?
A. Vegetable oils from rapseed (canola), soybeans,
corn and sunflowers are renewable sources. Another source
that is becoming more prevalent is that of synthetic esters and
Q. What are the advantages
and disadvantages of each source?
A. Vegetable oils, synthetic esters and olefins
are biodegradable, and both are renewable resources. However,
they differ in their physical properties and in their costs.
oils have excellent lubrication properties and are considerably
less expensive than most synthetics. The only real disadvantage
of vegetable oils it that they tend to oxidize at temperatures
Synthetic esters and olefins, on the other hand,
have excellent thermal stability, and lubricity very similar to
mineral oils. They have great fluidity at low temperatures
that allow for a wide operational temperature range.*
Q. Does Cortec offer any products that
A. As mentioned in the New Products section,
Cortec Laboratories has developed: EcoLine™ biodegradable
products, a corrosion inhibiting lubricant, a cutting oil, a hydraulic
oil, a gear oil, and a cleaner. These products provide equal
or better corrosion protection and lubrication ability as compared
to conventional petroleum-based materials.
*Although costs at the point in time would be considered
expensive, the value to the environment makes these products desirable to many end users.