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General Information On Biodegradable Hydraulic Oil

By Maryanne Goff

The increasing awareness of the influence of industrial companies on the environment has sparked the formulation and use of biodegradable hydraulic oil in an effort to reduce environmental impact. Synthetic and petroleum-based hydraulic oils have been established to have a poor rate of degradation. Stringent environmental regulations have forced construction equipment manufacturers to seek renewable solutions.

This fluid is readily biodegradable, non-toxic, ecologically responsive, anti-wear and friendly to the environment. It is applied in systems characterized by high pressures and used in areas where pollution may result to serious damages. These areas are commonly referred to as environmentally sensitive areas. The equipment in which it is used includes industrial, construction, marine, and turbines, mobile and circulating hydraulic systems. It helps to reduce friction between the movable parts of these machines making work easier and hence increasing productivity.

These oils present several desirable characteristics that make them beneficial. Their oxidative and thermal properties are very compared with other alternatives. They have a higher performance because of their high viscosity indices, low toxicity, low volatility, high flash points and improved lubricity. The chemical additives used are carefully prepared to ensure they are non-toxic and suitable to the environment.

They possess lubricating and anti-corrosion properties that ensure the parts of the system are well protected enhancing their longevity. The main threats to these components are friction and corrosion which has to be mitigated to pro-long the lifespan of industrial assets. Reducing the amount of energy required per work cycle goes a long way in cutting down the operational costs and preserving the environment.

These oils have emerged as a result of the increasing demand for renewable solutions. These oils biodegrade when subjected to water, sunlight and microbial activity. There are those that contain foam inhibitors to ensure smooth operation and anti-oxidants to prolong the life of the oil. They are hydrolytically stable and are therefore suitable for use in areas where water contamination is a major concern.

The clean-up of the leakages or spills of this oil is much cheaper compared with other alternatives. There are several steps used in the cleaning of larger spills. The entire soil surface is removed and monitored until the digestion is complete. After this, it can be put in various uses or transported to landfills.

Biodegradable products and oils vary and it is therefore advisable to compare their specific characteristics when making purchases. These include biodegradability, viscosity index and oxidation stability. They can be readily or inherently biodegradable which indicates the rate and completion of the degradation process. The market provides both high quality oils as well as poorly formulated ones that yield poor results.

The biodegradable hydraulic oil is compatible with other oils particularly the petroleum based oils. This is a major advantage when it comes to changing over to the use of these bio-oils since it can be done with much ease. Experts recommend the flushing out of the existing fluid before introducing the new one. Traces of the fluid that may remain in the system does not cause any problems. The shelf life of this fluid is one year and experts recommend the use of long lasting fluid to ensure less waste is added into the environment.

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