Natural Oil-Based Lubricants

  • K. R. Sathwik Chatra
  • N. H. Jayadas
  • Satish V. Kailas
Part of the Green Energy and Technology book series (GREEN)


Lubricants and lubrication have been inherent in a machine ever since man invented machines. It was water and natural esters like vegetable oils and animal fats that were used during the early era of machines. During the late 1800s, the development of the petrochemical industry put aside the application of natural lubricants for reasons including its stability and economics. The growing awareness of the lower biodegradability and higher toxicity of petrochemical-based lubricants created the requirements of the best possible protection of nature. The recent research on the adverse effects of mineral oil-based lubricants on the environment has reconfirmed its role in polluting groundwater for up to 100 years and its effects on reducing the growth of trees and the life span of aquatic life [1]. This awareness, of the use of ecofriendly processes and materials, increases interest in Tribology for the use of natural esters in lubrication processes [2]. The development of the retro parade attitude in the lubricant industry and its customers with more environmental awareness, keen to prefer products which do not diminish the world’s finite resource of mineral hydrocarbons and which have a minimal adverse effect on the environment, created an opportunity to use naturally available ecofriendly lubricants [3]. The potential candidates for ecofriendly lubricants include vegetable oils, animal fats and synthetic esters. Although animal fats are also considered biodegradable the most common mineral oil substitutes consist of vegetable oils and synthetic esters [4]. The economical concerns and price stability edge the potential use of vegetable oils as lubricants over synthetic esters. With the notion that we live on a planet with finite resources, we have to think about the coming generations and work for sustainable development in the field of Tribology. This chapter has key concepts like the advantageous and inherent limitations of vegetable oils over mineral oils, possible application of vegetable oil in the field of Tribology, composition and structure of vegetable oils and use of different vegetable oils as bioderived lubricants with their properties and functions.


Pour Point Pressure Differential Scanning Calorimetry Formyl Stearate Oleic Acid Methyl Ester Fish Embryo Toxicity Test 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. R. Sathwik Chatra
    • 1
  • N. H. Jayadas
    • 2
  • Satish V. Kailas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringCochin University of Science and TechnologyErnakulamIndia

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