The physical characterisation of rapeseed oil based lubricants


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 June 1995 - 31 May 1996
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
£4,400 From HGCA (Project no. OS05/1/95)
Project leader:
A Wilkinson



About this project


The aim of this study was to determine the physical properties of a range of rapeseed oil based lubricating oils and greases.

An increasing environmental awareness has prompted interest in the use of renewable and biodegradable lubricants. Rapeseed oil offers an attractive combination of good low temperature properties with reasonable high temperature stability. It is also compatible with lubricant additives which greatly enhance its performance characteristics.

Using internationally accepted lubricant standards as the required specifications, two series of lubricant base oils and greases were prepared and characterised, ie. the Biolube and Envirolube ranges. These oils were studied in accordance with the test criteria described in the aforementioned lubricant specifications and were found able to meet the necessary standards of viscosity, flash point, pour point, anti-foaming and demulsification; and, on the addition of a relevant additive, also to meet the corrosion prevention and oxidation stability requirements.

After completion of the product development phase of the project, a trial was conducted during which the ability of Biolube 100 to lubricate a chainsaw effectively was assessed. Its lubrication properties were also compared to a commercially available chainsaw oil. Biolube 100 was found to function well under these conditions and gave wear rates, anti-sticking and consumption levels similar to the commercial product. Biogrease is also currently on trial, and this product has shown the ability to withstand the effects of organic solvents.

In summary, therefore, rapeseed oil derived lubricant base stocks have been developed and characterised. These products meet many of the internationally accepted lubricant specifications, and hence could be used as the base oils in a wide range of finished lubricants thus finding application in a very broad range of industries.