Many tools and machines use hydraulics for moving parts, but hydraulic fluid can pose environmental hazards. Learn the benefits of biodegradable hydraulic oil.
Hydraulic systems power a variety of machinery, from airplane flaps and landing gear to bulldozer buckets and forklifts. Petroleum or mineral-derived hydraulic fluid that provides the pressure to activate moving parts can pose serious environmental hazards. Many industries are turning toward sustainable alternatives. Learn the benefits of biodegradable hydraulic oil.
Environmental Hazards of Standard Hydraulic Oils
Standard hydraulic oils, while effective, are typically petroleum-based and not easily broken down by natural processes. When these oils leak or spill, they can contaminate soil and water sources, posing a threat to wildlife and human health.
Types of Biodegradable Hydraulic Oil
Biodegradable hydraulic oils offer an environmentally friendly alternative. The two primary types include vegetable-based and synthetic esters. Vegetable-based oils are derived from renewable resources like rapeseed or sunflower oil. Synthetic esters, on the other hand, are chemically engineered to mimic the properties of mineral oils but break down more easily upon disposal.
Applications for Biodegradable Hydraulic Oil
Biodegradable hydraulic oil is useful for many sectors. In the oil and gas industry, it reduces the environmental impact of drilling and extraction operations from heavy equipment. Machinery operators benefit from its use by minimizing the risk of soil contamination during construction or mining. Chainsaws and even powerful metal-bending press brakes can also use biodegradable oil, promoting sustainability across various industrial sectors.
Considerations When Selecting Biodegradable Hydraulic Oil
When selecting biodegradable hydraulic oil, consider compressibility, a measure of the oil’s change in volume under pressure. Lubricity, or the oil’s ability to reduce friction, is another vital consideration.
Also, check whether the oil you select is compatible with seals and other machine components. Some oils could react badly and damage your tool or machine. Switching to biodegradable hydraulic fluid could also void your warranty with the equipment supplier or manufacturer, so be sure switching won’t impact their damage coverage.
Biodegradable hydraulic oils should perform comparably to their standard counterparts. That means you should also check viscosity, or the oil’s resistance to flow. It should match the operating temperature range of the machinery. Additionally, the oil’s flash point, or the temperature at which it can ignite, should be high enough to ensure safe operation for your application. Its pour point, or the lowest temperature at which the oil remains fluid, is also important to note if you’ll use the oil in cold conditions.
The benefits of biodegradable hydraulic oil extend beyond its environmental friendliness. Its versatility across various industries and its comparable performance to standard oils make it a viable and responsible choice for many people using pressurized fluid systems.