Hydraulic fluids are being used everywhere.
Be it on farms, or on roads, in buildings. The article gives you how the fluids are made and what are the attempts being made to make environment friendly hydraulic fluids
Ubiquitous Material - Hydraulic Fluids
The hydraulic fuels are being used just everywhere. You name a place and you will find hydraulic fluids being used there. It is used in farm tractors, in automobiles, in buildings, in shock absorbers.
In fact anywhere some force is being transmitted, you will find that hydraulic fluid being used. With presence in every field of human activity, the use of hydraulic fluid is increasing.
What is the Problem in using Hydraulic Fluid?
So long as the fluids are in a closed container, there is no problem with hydraulic fluid. The problem starts when the fluid is being replaced. In replacing the fluid, some times (if enough care is not taken while replacing) there is a possibility of these fluids getting into atmosphere by the inadvertent action of the persons replacing the fluids. These fluids contain substances that are harmful to nature.
Substances in Hydraulic Fluids
Making a hydraulic fluid is a complex process and many chemicals are used in making the fluids so as to give specific property to the fluid depending on requirement. The major requirement is of course the low compressibility. Fire resistance, high boiling point and low freezing point are some of the requirement of hydraulic fluids.
Depending on the requirement many companies have developed unique products, brand names and trade marks such as Hydraunycoil®, Durad®, Fyrquel®, Pydraul®, Reofos®, Skydrol®, Houghton-Safe®, Reolube®, and Quintolubric®. The exact composition is known only to the manufacturer of these chemicals.
Hydraulic fluids are made from (some of tongue twister names such as) ethers, adipatecastor oil, glycol esters, silicone polyalkylene glycols polyalphaolefin organophosphate ester, tributylphosphate.
Since these names are not in common use, it is not expected that every one knows details about the disposal methods of these hydraulic fluids. Particularly the farmer, who is not knowledgeable about the disposal method, tends to dispose of the fluids in a manner he/she seems fit. This can cause problems while or after disposing.
Need For Bio-Hydraulic Fluid
The hydraulic fluids are released at the farm due to line breaks. The line breaks are a common occurrence with badly maintained farm machinery. This releases a fairly large quantity of hydraulic fluids into atmosphere and the released hydraulic fluid finds its way into the soil, ground water and surface water. If a biodegradable fluid can be found it will be a boon for farmers and environmentalists.
In order to avoid environmental degradation due to such disposal, a new type of hydraulic fluid is being developed in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences The advantages of bio-degradable hydraulic fluids are obvious. Apart from being non polluting, they increase the soil fertility in case of accidental drain off into the soil as they degrade and turn into fertilizers. The development of this environment friendly product will be welcomed by all those persons who are associated with soil fertility and environmental protection.
Problems with Use of Bio-Hydraulic Fluids
The development of new hydraulic fluids is still in the experimental stage and problems that can be faced are being evolved. The solution to these problems is being found out. The problems are
- It is not clear if the fluid can be recycled back for re-use. If it can be re-used, it will reduce the demand for new oil and thus energy requirement for making oil can also be reduced.
- It is not known if the life of such hydraulic fluids is the same as the blended oils and such oils can be mixed with the blended oils.