The additives would be made from the predominant fat molecules-triglycerides- in natural oils of familiar crops like soybean, corn, or canola or from lesser-knowns like pennycress, camelina, and crambe. [...] the novel additives meet all the standard criteria for a top-notch, antifriction, antiwear additive, namely, impressive viscosity and liquidity, high flashpoint, and stability despite temperature extremes.
From Lubricants to Packaging Materials ARS Scientists Just Say “No” to Petroleum S creech! making biobased additives, ones suitable biobased or conventional lubricants,” she Few sounds are more nerve- for use in formulating greases; crankcase, points out. And the novel additives meet wracking than the scraping of two-cycle, and marine engine oils; and hy- all the standard criteria for a top-notch, metal on metal. It’s the job of draulic, transmission, and drilling fluids. antifriction, antiwear additive, namely, lubricants to prevent that an- The additives would be made from impressive viscosity and liquidity, high noying noise by making sure that—when the predominant fat molecules—triglyc- flashpoint, and stability despite tempera- metal touches metal—everything moves erides—in natural oils of familiar crops ture extremes. smoothly and quietly. like soybean, corn, or canola or from In small-scale laboratory tests to evalu- Machines that have moving parts— lesser-knowns like pennycress, camelina, ate wear and friction, for example, the your car’s engine or the hydraulic pump and crambe. Fully biodegradable, these plant-oil additives performed as well as or of a huge earthmover, for instance— vegetable-oil-based additives are just better than commercial petroleum-based almost always require lubricants. Most slightly darker, and somewhat thicker, additives. And since they’re fully biode- lubricants are made of so-called “base than the clear, light-yellow cooking oils gradable, proper disposal is fast, easy, and oil” that’s blended with additives to boost used in home kitchens across America. inexpensive. performance. The additives would pro- What’s more, the additives can be In the United States, the vide an alternative to today’s produced with the same equipment that demand for additives, al- petroleum-based products— chemical companies already have in place ready at nearly 2 billion and a potentially profitable for making traditional additives. pounds a year, is expected market for growers in the It’s no wonder that several leading to increase at a respectable 2 Midwest and elsewhere. makers of petroleum-lubricant additives percent a year for the next 5 Erhan did the work while have already expressed an interest in the years. That’s why Sevim Z. a chemist at the ARS Na- scientists’ process for making the biobased Sustainable Erhan and colleagues have tional Center for Agricul- additives. Agriculture developed a new process for tural Utilization Research Erhan and coinvestigators Brajendra K. in Peoria, Illinois. She’s Sharma of Pennsylvania State University- now director of the agency’s Eastern University Park, and Atanu Adhvaryu, NCAUR (D1643-1) Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, formerly with the university, describe the Pennsylvania. technology in their U.S. patent, issued The new-age additives, says Erhan, in 2007. Importantly, the procedure and offer many benefits and, to date, no the resulting ad
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