Extreme pressure behaviour of newly formulated oil-in-water emulsions

This source preferred by Antolin Hernandez Battez

Authors: Cambiella, A., Benito, J.M., Pazos, C., Coca, J., Fernandez, J.E. and Hernandez Battez, A.


Start date: 10 July 2005

Oil-in-water (O/W) emulsions are broadly used in metal-machining processes, where combined lubrication and refrigeration are needed, such as in cutting, rolling, or grinding. These fluids consist of tiny oil droplets in water stabilised by small amounts of emulsifiers, namely surfactants. In an emulsion, oil is responsible for the lubricating properties, whereas water provides heat dissipation and fire resistance. Normally, emulsifiable metalworking oils are used in an oil concentration between 2 and 5 vol. %, depending on the application.

Despite their wide use, the lubrication mechanisms of o/w emulsions have not been fully understood, mainly because of their complexity. Previous studies on oil-in-water emulsions showed that, in order to form thick lubricant films, oil droplets must wet the metal surfaces, displacing water. The ability of oil to wet is strongly dependent on the concentration of surfactant. Surfactant molecules tend to adsorb preferentially at the interface, modifying the nature of the layers adjacent to the metal surfaces and, thus, playing a key role in processes such as wettability, corrosion, or friction, as well as emulsion stability.

The aim of this work is to study the influence of concentration of two different emulsifiers (anionic and non-inonic) on the wettability and extreme pressure properties of an oil-in-water emulsion. A mixture of a synthetic polyalphaolefin and a trimethylol propane ester was used as the base oil, and the concentrations of emulsifiers were below, equal to, and above their critical micellar concentrations (CMC). Extreme pressure tests (ASTM D 2783), which try to simulate the operating conditions of high speeds and pressures taking place in cutting processes, and contact angle measurements were carried out in order to establish a relationship between both properties and to evaluate the performance of these emulsions as lubricants.

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