JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Biolubricant production. Technician pours a sample of biolubricant oil for quality control. These are oils derived from plant seeds, such as oilseed rape, soya and sunflower. They are less toxic and environmentally safer than petroleum oils. The major drawback to biolubricants are susceptibility to temperature changes, which affect viscosity. At high temperatures, oxidation occurs causing the oil to thicken or gel. At very low temperatures, the oil can crystallise, also causing thickening. Oxidation also creates corrosive by-products which ruin machinery. New biolubricants are being developed that are more resistant to oxidation, including those that are high in oleic acid.
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