Readily VS Inherently Biodegradable


Today, there are countless terms in the lubricant reflectionsmall

industry relating to “environmentally-friendly” lubricants, making end users spin in circles of confusion figuring out which type to use… You have probably noticed more of your industrial applications are requiring “vegetable based” or “biodegradable” lubricants, but what does this mean? In recent years, there have been regulations and standards established within the lubricants industry to prevent toxicity and contamination from harming the environment. Whether lubricant to environment contact is accidental or incidental, there are two main categories of “environmentally-friendly” lubricants that are crucial to understand. Depending on the application, there are different levels of biodegradability which can cause environmental harm if not applied correctly.

The two main categories include:

• Inherently biodegradable
Inherently Biodegradable lubricants are most commonly used in sensitive areas requiring a “passing grade” on aquatic animal tests. This means Inherently Biodegradable lubricants use additive chemistry containing no heavy metals or zinc while being made with a synthetic or highly refined base oil like a polyol ester base. Two of the brands Overlake Oil offers under this category include the Shell Tellus S3 series and the Total Azolla AF series.

• Readily biodegradable
Readily Biodegradable lubricants on the other hand utilize a vegetable or canola base oil and are blended with synthetic esters enabling them to pass the “60 day test.” This means Readily Biodegradable lubricants will degrade within 60 days of contact making them more commonly used in applications that take place over water. Overlake Oil’s most popular products under this category include the Shell Naturelle HF-E series as well as the Houghton Cosmolubric B series.

-Tia Marie Fraatz

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